Elections

AOC Has a Real Challenger in Tuesday’s Primary

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) participates in a House Oversight Committee hearing, July 15, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)
A former CNBC anchor calls her out on her radical politics.

Two years ago, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a 28-year-old former Bernie Sanders organizer and member of the Democratic Socialists of America. Then she won a shocking primary win over Joe Crowley, the No. 4 ranking House Democrat, in a New York City district that had turned Hispanic but been ignored by Crowley.

Now, in Tuesday’s primary, AOC faces a moderate challenger who says it’s AOC who has become a distant figure to her poor Bronx and Queens constituents, one more interested in superstardom and her 7.3 million Twitter followers than in bringing jobs to the district.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former business-news anchor on CNBC, says AOC should have backed Amazon’s proposed second headquarters in her district, with its 25,000 new jobs. Instead, AOC was the project’s loudest opponent, and she took credit for its demise in 2019.

“You voted against your community,” Caruso-Cabrera told AOC last week, during one of their few debates, noting that AOC is such a rigid ideologue that she was the only Democrat to vote against the Payroll Protection Plan, which includes funds for hospitals and COVID-19 testing. Caruso-Cabrera says that “Medicare for All is not the answer,” and she calls AOC’s Green New Deal “divisive policy.”

During their last debate she also accused the incumbent of being a “divisive” and “polarizing” figure within the Democratic Party — one who wouldn’t even commit to voting for Joe Biden in the fall.

Ocasio-Cortez responded in kind, arguing that Caruso-Cabrera is a mere pawn of Trump donors — she has been a Republican for most of her life, AOC emphasized, and lived in Trump Towers until six months ago.

But it’s Ocasio-Cortez who has spent $6.3 million on the race, hired 40 staffers, and gained the support of the public-sector unions. She has become “La Pasionaria” of the Woke Movement (“La Pasionaria” was the moniker given to Dolores Ibárruri, the famous Communist leader of 1930s Spain), and she’s the driving force behind the radical Green New Deal, which would reshape the nation’s economy and seek to eliminate carbon emissions.

But for all her charisma, AOC has a juvenile and slightly dark streak. On Saturday, she reveled in a prank spread by activists on the Chinese-owned TikTok teenage app. They inundated the Trump campaign with thousands of fake RSVPs for its Tulsa rally that night. It apparently fooled Team Trump, which touted the signups as the reason the president would have to address an outdoor rally as well.

Some Trump supporters who would have shown up at the rally were discouraged because they did not receive tickets. The outdoor rally — which was set up at considerable expense — was canceled. Brad Parscale blamed the lower-than-usual turnout on “fake news media warning people away from the rally because of COVID and protestors, coupled with recent images of American cities on fire.”

In response, AOC gloated:

Trending on Twitter this morning was #EveryoneLaughingAtYouDonald and #TrumpRallyFail.

Rick Moran wrote on PJ Media that the punking of the Trump rally shouldn’t be part of democracy:

The Trump rally was sabotaged by [a] political “dirty trick” worthy of the Nixon campaign and Democrats are celebrating? What is she so proud of? She is encouraging attacks on free speech and the democratic process. Donald Segretti, an aide to Richard Nixon, went to prison for pulling stunts like this. . . . They called it “ratf**king” and it caused enormous headaches for Senators Edmund Muskie and Hubert Humphrey — Democratic candidates running for the nomination [in 1972].

Britain’s Daily Mail noted that videos telling viewers to reserve tickets and then be no-shows got millions of views in the days before the rally. Many of the videos have since been deleted, but in one that is still live, the TikTok user says sarcastically: “Oh no, I signed up for a Trump rally and I can’t go, I’m sick.”

For my part, I’m sick and tired of AOC proclaiming herself to be the vanguard of some new politics that is about “holding our democracy accountable.” Her allies intimidate opponents, seek to remove statues of historical figures such as George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant, and demand that critics be censored or even removed from their jobs. That approach is an attempt to completely evade accountability and merely replaces the boss-ism of the clubhouse with the bossiness of the politically correct mob.

AOC may well have most of the boots on the ground in Tuesday’s primary, but her skeptical critics have her number and are at least trying to counter her grandiose rhetoric with the seedy reality of her vision.

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