Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez testing the limits of political celebrity

For example: Ocasio-Cortez’s supporters are planning to challenge several New York Democrats in primaries next year, hoping to install ideological allies over the rank-and-file liberals already serving. The target list includes the powerful chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (Eliot Engel) and the House Judiciary Committee (Jerrold Nadler). Her supporters believe Engel and Nadler are too supportive of business and of Israel. They also view these racially diverse districts as ideal targets for change, having been represented by white men for decades.

But to quote The Wire, if you come after the king, you best not miss. If her supporters’ high-stakes gambit fails, she’ll be staring at a redistricting process two years later that threatens her seat in Congress. New York is expected to lose two House seats in reapportionment, setting off a game of musical chairs over which members will lose their districts. Even those who aren’t directly affected will see the borders of their districts redrawn.

For the first time, a redistricting commission comprising both Democrats and Republicans will be proposing the state’s new congressional map. It’s too early to say how much political gamesmanship will be a part of the process, but it’s never wise to alienate allies who may be needed in the future. By challenging her more established colleagues and backing legislation at odds with her constituents’ interests, Ocasio-Cortez is setting herself up for her political rivals to enact revenge.