Matt filled you in on some of last night's primaries earlier today, paying special attention to the shocking victory of far-left upstart Alexandria Octavio-Cortez over the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Joe Crowley. In addition to being a current member of his party's Congressional leadership, the defeated incumbent was widely considered to be a potential option for Speaker of the House, in the event that Democrats recapture the lower chamber in November. Many rank-and-file members and candidates have either grumbled about or openly campaigned against Nancy Pelosi, so other scenarios are being somewhat conspicuously discussed -- more than a few featuring Crowley. "In recent months, he had begun meeting with lawmakers in small groups in a quiet effort to prepare for a bid for the speakership," the New York Times reported. Well, he can now cancel the rest of those meetings, and House Democrats can scratch Joe Crowley off their list.
Ms. Octavio-Cortez puts a young, fresh face on the old-school hard Left, having organized for fellow Socialist Bernie Sanders in 2016. As a woman of color and an intense progressive, she marshaled her party's base, ideologically outflanking her heavily-favored opponent. He vastly outspent her, and occasionally ignored and dismissed her. That latter calculation was a mistake; he had an identity politics problem, and never captured (or perhaps fully understood) the radical energy that's animating the core of today's Democratic Party. Sensing some danger, Crowley attempted to pander, calling ICE a "fascist" organization; but that couldn't compete with her calls for its dissolution:
She wants to abolish ICE. He only would call it a fascist organization. https://t.co/XbQMsg2dE3— Debra J. Saunders (@debrajsaunders) June 27, 2018
Days before the election, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had unexpectedly left New York entirely to travel to Texas to protest the ongoing separation of children from their parents who crossed the border illegally. That came on the heels of her call to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Mr. Crowley heated up his own rhetoric in response to her challenge, calling it a “fascist organization,” but stopped short of saying it should be dissolved. Ten days before the primary, Mr. Crowley skipped a debate against Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and instead sent a surrogate, a Latina former city councilwoman. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez called it “a bizarre twist” on Twitter to be seated across from someone “with slight resemblance to me” instead of her opponent....Waging a sharp and sometimes personal campaign, she attacked Mr. Crowley for not living in New York and, specifically, sending his children to school near Washington. When there was tear gas released on protesters in Puerto Rico, she tagged Mr. Crowley on Twitter and wrote, “You are responsible for this.” And when he asked her at a debate if she would endorse him, if he prevailed, she pointedly refused.
If The Resistance prizes hard-nosed, scorched-earth, extreme-Left activism and signaling, they've got themselves a new heroine. Here she is accusing the Trump administration of running "black sites" at the southern border, claiming that lack of full media access to migrant detention centers justifies the use of that loaded term. Meanwhile, what, pray tell, does Ocasio-Cortez have in mind for replacing ICE? A vague 're-imagination,' whatever that means:
Asked if R's can take advantage of her call to abolish ICE by saying Democrats favor "open borders," @Ocasio2018: "I refuse to answer to these false characterizations," says she wants to "re-imagine" border security that's been "militarized" and "criminalized." @MorningEdition— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) June 27, 2018
How can the border be secured and defended against unlawful entrants without any 'militarization' or 'criminalization'? Perhaps she'll get around to explaining her totally-not-magical, super-viable plan eventually. That big reveal may come just after she releases her detailed proposal for how to pay for the following agenda:
Those are the promises on which she ran, and to which Crowley lost. As a reminder (to tackle just one of those bullet points), "Medicare For All," is full-blown government-run healthcare. It would massively expand a program that's already going insolvent faster than previously expected, with absolutely no way to pay for it. That's why even left-wing states like Vermont and California can't implement the idea, even though they'd like to. Some realities are too stark to overcome. But there are primaries to be won, which is why several leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination are racing to embrace the fantasy. This piece is worth re-reading:
The Dem party is settling on Medicare-for-all as an agenda item knowing full well that it will never happen. It would cost anywhere from $13-$32T over 10 years, and raise income taxes by an average $24k. They're selling a lie and they cannot defend it. https://t.co/CmooChEW1a— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) June 27, 2018
It's a terrible idea that would require truly shocking tax increases across the board, as well as ripping upwards of 150 million Americans away from their existing healthcare -- all in pursuit of an inferior, unresponsive bureaucrat-run scheme. And it's becoming mainstream, and even a litmus test, inside the Democratic Party. That sentiment may be welcomed by Republicans who are eager to beat up on supposedly unelectable, radical opponents. But conservatives should beware: Disaffected or dissatisfied voters have shown a willingness to swallow unrealistic pledges and embrace unconventional figures and ideas. When the pendulum swings again, the scariness of hard-Left Democrats may not seem so frightening to a lot people. And by the time their bad ideas are tried, and inevitably fail, much damage will already have been done. In other words, take candidates like Ocasio-Cortez seriously, even if their ideas seem ridiculous or ruinous. The electorate is restless and polarized.