Does Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to be part of the Democratic Party? Increasingly the answer seems to be not really. Earlier this week, Ed wrote about AOC’s comments that in any other country she and Joe Biden wouldn’t be in the same party. That’s certainly true but she was elected in this country, as a Democrat. So expressing disappointment that the person currently leading primary polls for your party is part of the party seems, shall we say, counter-productive. AOC responded to all of this by…attacking moderate Democrats:
Are people actually upset over discussing multiparty systems?
The conversation is helpful for understanding difference among Dems.
People are acting like a Dem didn’t just join the GOP a few wks ago. Other safe Dems actually fundraise for Republicans. That’s not “moderate.”
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 7, 2020
Today, Fox News reported that AOC has also refused to pay dues to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Despite being the top fundraiser among House Democrats, AOC hasn’t given a single dollar to the DCCC, choosing instead to donate directly to candidates she endorses. That decision isn’t sitting well with some Democrats:
“Sometimes the question comes: ‘Do you want to be in a majority or do you want to be in the minority?’” Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., told Fox News, when asked about AOC’s stance. “And do you want to be part of a team?”…
Another Democrat was less diplomatic: “Deadbeat Cortez should pay her bills,” complained the Democratic source. “She’s always whining about people paying their fair share and here she is leaving her friends with the bill.”…
“DCCC dues are about supporting others because you want to be part of the team,” he said. “The goal is to be in the majority. And the goal is, when you are on a team I would think, to respect individuals whose districts are different than yours.”
But AOC doesn’t seem to really believe other districts are different from hers. She seems to think democratic socialists should be able to win in every district. In fact, AOC has raised money for two progressive candidates who are attempting to unseat moderate Democrats:
Bucking the Democratic Party line, Ocasio-Cortez led online fundraisers for at least two progressives who are trying to defeat sitting Democratic members of Congress.
She solicited nearly $18,000 in donations for Marie Newman, who is taking on current Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, a conservative Democrat who opposes abortion. She also gave Newman an additional $5,000 directly from her campaign account. Ocasio-Cortez also raised nearly $35,000 in online donations for progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros, who is trying to defeat Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas…
Cuellar said Democrats should be focused on the larger goal of beating Republicans and retaining the House majority. “To have people try to purify the caucus because they don’t agree with them – 100 percent, I certainly don’t agree with that.”
You certainly can’t fault her for compromising her vision, but the fact remains that most of the Democrats who flipped seats in 2018 were moderates. But what we’re seeing is bigger than AOC. It’s part of the larger battle within the Democratic Party which has been taking place at the national level since 2016. This year that conflict is still building, with Bernie Sanders running close behind Joe Biden in a way that seems likely to result in the same divisive dynamic we saw between Hillary and Bernie in 2016. The direct conflict between the factions has been moderated thus far because there are still so many candidates to choose from, but very soon it will likely come down to another choice between the moderate left candidate and the far left candidate. Once that happens, things are likely to get ugly.
As Rep. Meeks told Fox News, Sanders “revolution is to not just to stop the Republicans, it’s to blow up the Democratic Party.” And AOC is appears to be eager to help him.