On Ocasio-Cortez, Malinowski, Green Party, Democratic Socialists, and Hillary.

Above, that’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez this morning at CWA District 1’s annual conference in NJ, her first public appearance since winning the NY-14 Democratic primary. This will surely piss off the Democratic political professional I had a long exchange with yesterday – you know her, but I won’t embarrass her here – who refers to progressives as the “toxic left” and those of us delighted by this 28-year-old Democratic Socialist’s win as “cult-of-personality” types. Of course, she was a YUGE Hillary Clinton person, I mean if you really want to discuss cult-of-personality. Nevertheless, I want to see this woman (the political consultant, not Hillary) as an ally. Even when she’s insulting me and a lot of folks who vote like I do. Hell, I’ll even try to see Hillary as an ally, if she behaves like one.

Below, CD7 Dem nominee Tom Malinowski was also there – yesterday. I’m voting for Tom in November. And – On the other side of my universe of people I’d like to see as allies are some Green Party folks who focus their attentions on trying to get Greens elected to federal positions like the House & Senate, or even exec positions like President & Governor, instead of local races they have a better shot at actually winning which might help build a party that might someday compete successfully up-ballot. As I talk to Greens, good people all who I side with on issues, I see a small group given to absolutes. Their platform is glorious (yours is crap), their candidate is right on all the issues (yours is crap). If you championed somebody else in the primary (I did) then vote for the (not terribly progressive) Democratic nominee like I’m voting for Malinowski, you’re a neo-lib (or a a neo-lib enabler), and you must worship George Norcross and Steve Sweeney (um). Malinowski, also a neo-lib, ditto Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Yup. Because these folks I talk to don’t see Democratic Socialists as reliably progressive. Sigh. The difference is, Ocasio-Cortez is going to Congress (the GOP can’t stop her in Nov), progressive DSA Marine Lee Carter won a state seat in Virginia, a fresh crop of amazing DSA women won primaries in PA. DSA is actually winning seats all over. (So they must be crap).

Now, all that DSA win has my Hillary fan friend – and my Green friends – unsettled. Hillary fan insists Ocasio-Cortez won’t play everywhere (LOL tell that to NY-15or, you know, the Midwest) – and if we think her appeal extends outside NY-14, we’re the downfall of the Democratic Party. Well, I’d say the Democrats are already doing a fine job of self-inflicting enough wounds to make their own downfall. But beyond that, she means commies or whatever her team can scare voters with. But what I mean is candidates who have a forward-thinking mission that resonates with people, and can light people up with it. Something that someone like Hillary had trouble with. Also, all this Ocasio talk has my Green friends frustrated and mad at me for suggesting they haven’t reached critical mass yet to generate the resources, vote strength, or credibility to launch somebody to Congress like DSA just did (join DSA here).

I have a Facebook headache from this. I’m voting Malinowski in November, I think AOC rocks, and screw it, I’m going to the beach.


Comments (5)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    If I lived in CD7, I would vote for Malinowski, and if he won, I would go to his victory party, congratulate him, and inform him that no matter how he votes, he is going to get a primary challenge from his left and if he wants to survive that primary challenge, he should vote as progressively as possible.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the Democratic establishment in New Jersey is always going to go with candidates like Jeff Van Drew, Joshua Welle, Tom Malinowski, and Mikie Sherrill and the only solution to that is to consistently run full slates of our own candidates up and down the ballot year-in and year-out.

    The Green Party could be a tremendous ally in an effort like that, but they never will be, because they do not want to see progressive insurgents win primary elections, because it undermines their very existence in general elections.

    Ideally, progressive independents and insurgents should be able to make a pact to help each other during general and primary elections respectively, but it is unlikely that this will ever happen, because most insurgents like myself would be too afraid of losing a winnable general election to a Republican to take that leap of faith and Greens would prefer to see the Democratic Party continue its rightward drift.

    Thus, it is more likely than not that we will continue to fight, namecall, remain disunited, and lose year-in and year-out, while the rightward drift of the Democratic Party continues.

  2. Christian Mastondrea

    what is it about Tom Malinowski that leads people to say he’s not a liberal/progressive. I have met him a number of times and spoken with him on a number of issues. While he clearly isn’t AOC, he was the former head of Human Rights Watch and has outstanding credentials working for the State Department in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations. I am sure there is room to his left, and I am sure he hold some moderate leanings but have you guys met Lance and this district. In the NJ 7th elects him we will have moved this district leaps and bounds to the left. This district isn’t AOC’s, and isn’t going to elect a Democratic Socialist at this time. Let take the House and go after Don the Con. The rest of this can be fought out once we get the country back to sanity.

    1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

      Hi, Christian. It’s things like tweeting – within hours – his support of Donald Trump bombing Syria, which many Democrats in the House (to which he’s running to be elected) called that an illegal, unconstitutional act.

      By asking ‘Have you guys met Lance and this district’ I’m not sure who you mean. Me? I live here, I’ve met Tom many times. He wasn’t my primary choice, but he’s my November choice.

      This isn’t about electing a Democratic Socialist, though it is clear that the positions progressives have are the positions “moderates” will eventually have. Remember, this district AOC won in isn’t some magical place where only DSA fairy dust works on voters. Before she won, this district was repped for 20 years by a white male machine politics guy who rose to Vice-Chair of the House Dem Caucus and was front-runner for Speaker. Not a bad guy, but someone very different than her.

  3. Harry

    So this seems like one side of the argument. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that someone who won in a sub 30k turnout primary inQueens isn’t representative of what the party needs in places like the midwest and, say, Missouri. I’m not knocking her progressive credentials, but I think we’re going to have to take them in context. Congrats to the nex congresswoman, but it’s not a harbinger of things ro comein a more broad context.

    1. Rosi Efthim (Post author)

      I grew up in, and went to school in, Michigan. And I’ve lived in Missouri (St. Louis). The Midwest might surprise you, as this from NBC News suggests.

      No, this isn’t about AOC works in every district. But there’s a ton of distance between that and an ossified component of the Party hanging on to the 1990’s, big-money, DLC outlook trying to get people to believe AOC and her ilk are “toxic,” or “vapid” and her supporters “cult-of-personality” types. There will be more like AOC. They will start to win. It won’t only be in places you expect.


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