AOC's Iron Dome vote left her crying — and it backfired

Ocasio-Cortez’s vote was also a tactical mess, a worst-of-both-worlds solution to what appeared to be a dilemma about the future of her political identity. Politics necessarily requires painful decisions and compromises, and signs suggest she was conflicted about her decision. But if she was trying to preserve the possibility of challenging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a 2022 primary, a last-minute switch of her vote on funding Iron Dome from “no” to “present” while in tears will not convince any fiercely pro-Israel voter or the American Israeli Public Action Committee that she’s a settlement stan. She not only didn’t vote to fund Iron Dome, she also appeared to have no position at all, except one of emotional distress.

On the flip side, Ocasio-Cortez’s act opens up the possibility of a substantial rift between her and the left-wing “squad” — a group she’s often seen as the de facto leader of — on one of the most high-profile issues for the left…

Ocasio-Cortez’s attempt at explaining it has not made a great deal of sense. In an exceptionally long statement released Friday, Ocasio-Cortez explains that she opposed “the substance of” the bill and the rushed process for bringing it to a vote. She also described a length why she was emotional during the vote: “I wept at the complete lack of care for the human beings that are impacted by these decisions, I wept at an institution choosing a path of maximum voltality and minimum consideration for its own political convenience.” The issue is that she never actually explains why she changed her vote from “no” to “present.” If the concern about process is supposed to explain why she voted the way she did, why would she be less inclined to vote against a rushed version of a bill she substantively opposed?