Nevertheless, Ocasio-Cortez also has a point. By grabbing the mic to push a big idea, however flawed or grandiose its details may be, she is seen as trying and, therefore, drives the agenda. Moderate pragmatists haven’t similarly rallied behind and loudly promoted their own alternatives. Perhaps they will eventually get there. Pelosi created a select committee to draft climate legislation. And the business-friendly New Democrat Coalition has assembled a climate task force. But by being slow off the mark, it has ceded the spotlight to its socialist colleagues.
Without many signature ideas of their own to prove their moderate bona fides, red-district Democrats have been susceptible to divisive Republican amendments. For example, moderates broke ranks to help Republicans modify the background check bill with a provision to require that undocumented immigrants who try to by guns be reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency increasingly loathed on the left. (Pelosi had to take a break from corralling the left to scold her right flank for aiding and abetting Republican mischief, which appears to have curtailed the aisle-crossing for the time being.)