Joe Crowley exits stage (far) left

Hold on to your hats, Democrats. The chairman of the House Democratic Caucus lost his primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District. And to add insult to injury, he lost to an avowed socialist running her first serious political campaign who managed to raise only 10% as much money as Crowley had to spread around. (Washington Times)

Rep. Joe Crowley, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, lost his primary election in New York Tuesday to an acolyte of Sen. Bernard Sanders.

The loss stunned political observers and thrilled liberal activists who called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win a “seismic victory” for the forces seeking to push the Democratic Party to the left.

Mr. Crowley, a 20-year incumbent, had drastically outspent Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, but activists said she rode a wave of voter discontent

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the army of grassroots volunteers who delivered this jaw-dropping victory tonight didn’t just win a difficult race, they won a primary campaign that most laughed at them for even waging,” said Jim Dean, chairman of Democracy for America.

Political observers across the board were stunned and for good reason.

Nobody saw this coming except possibly the inner circle of the two campaigns. I live in New York and still stay in touch with the state and county parties. Nobody was talking about this race. Crowley was supposed to be untouchable. Except for internal surveys run by each campaign, nobody was even polling this race.

Crowley had been frequently mentioned as a possible replacement for Nancy Pelosi as either Minority Leader or Speaker (depending on how the midterms go). Small wonder that the outcome is already being compared to when Eric Cantor got the boot four years ago. It’s almost that big of a deal.

But now the Democrats are saddled with a candidate who isn’t just “a bit further left” than Crowley was. Ocasio-Cortez is a flat-out Democratic Socialist and former worker for the Sanders campaign in 2016. Along with the usual Medicare-for-all, free college tuition, guaranteed basic income and the rest of the Sanders/Socialist platform planks, she ran on a demand to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the most radical, hard-left proposals out there. Is this the face of the new Democratic Party that they want to take into not only the midterms but the 2020 race?

It’s not as if Ocasio-Cortez is going to lose the general election barring some massive vetting failure turning up a death spiral sort of scandal. The 14th runs along the east side of Yonkers and is about as blue as they come. Clinton carried the district 78-20 in 2016 and the demographic breakdown is almost 50% Latino. So absent yet another political bunker buster, she should be on her way to Congress in January.

But Democratic Party leaders have already been getting nervous about their base roiling the status quo and making middle America nervous with fringe policy positions. If this is the direction the Democrats are being pushed toward we may be setting ourselves up for a fascinating display in the next presidential election cycle.

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