The Morning Jolt


The Winner of Last Night’s Big Primary… Wants to Abolish ICE!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (YouTube screengrab via Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)

Every once in a while, the primary electorate really surprises you — like last night in New York City when Congressman Joe Crowley, the No. 4 leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives and a ten-term incumbent, lost to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Bernie Sanders organizer.

It was just two months ago that Politico wrote, “Rep. Joe Crowley — buoyed by a caucus thirsty for change and his rising national profile — is angling to become the next House Democratic leader if Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats fall short.” (File this under, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.”)

Here’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s perspective on illegal immigration:

As overseen by the Trump administration, ICE operates with virtually no accountability, ripping apart families and holding our friends and neighbors indefinitely in inhumane detention centers scattered across the United States. Alex believes that if we are to uphold civic justice, we must abolish ICE and see to it that our undocumented neighbors are treated with the dignity and respect owed to all people, regardless of citizenship status.

She spent the last weekend before the election outside the detention facility in Tornillo, Texas.

In The Nation, she went even further, calling for a post-Apartheid South Africa–style “truth and reconciliation commission” to review the agency’s conduct and practices. As Sean McElwee put it in that article, “the goal of abolishing the agency is to abolish the function.” At least in some circles, the objection of the hard Left is not to the current style or kind of immigration enforcement; their objection is to the existence of immigration enforcement.

That Nation article also concludes, “It’s time to rein in the greatest threat we face: an unaccountable strike force executing a campaign of ethnic cleansing.” In the current climate, Democrats have a nice winnable position of, “Treat everyone with decency and respect, even if they entered the country illegally.” Instead, the hard Left wants to push their stance towards, “Our law-enforcement officials are comparable to Slobodan Milosevic.”

(This is a D+29 district, so don’t get your hopes too high about a GOP upset in November.)

One of the emerging storylines of this cycle had been that despite the higher Democratic turnout and energy among anti-Trump activists, the Bernie Sanders wing of the party — and more specifically, the group that grew out of his campaign, Our Revolution — hadn’t really had a signature primary victory. As of last week, fewer than half of their endorsed candidates had won their primaries, and some of the candidates that Sanders campaigned with were finishing in distant second and third places. Political correspondents were starting to wonder just how much the highly touted Sanders campaign email list was really worth. In Ocasio-Cortez, Our Revolution has its big winner yet.

Sanders also campaigned for Ben Jealous, who won a crowded Democratic gubernatorial primary in Maryland last night — so Our Revolution can put another feather in its cap. The bad news for Jealous is that incumbent Larry Hogan is one of those Republicans who ought to be endangered in this environment but who is, so far, looking extraordinarily strong in his reelection bid.

Last night at his primary victory party Hogan joked, “Six percent of Marylanders strongly disapprove of the job we’ve been doing. Every single one of them is running for governor.”

The Reality Is . . . She’s Not a Winner After All

Score one for accountability:

Reality L. Winner, a former Air Force linguist who was the first person prosecuted by the Trump administration on charges of leaking classified information, pleaded guilty on Tuesday as part of an agreement with prosecutors that calls for a sentence of 63 months in prison.

Ms. Winner, who entered her plea in Federal District Court in Augusta, Ga., was arrested last June and accused of sharing a classified report about Russian interference in the 2016 election with the news media.

Ms. Winner, who is now 26, has been jailed since her arrest and wore an orange prison jumpsuit and white sneakers to the hearing. Her decision to plead guilty to one felony count allows the government both to avoid a complex trial that had been scheduled for October and to notch a victory in the Trump administration’s aggressive pursuit of leakers.

Sometimes it’s reasonable to ask, “Why aren’t they doing something about the leakers? Where is Jeff Sessions?” Well, here’s the Department of Justice doing what its supposed to do.

Be Careful With that Flyer Stuck Under Your Car Windshield Wiper . . .

In this morning’s “what the heck?” news . . .

A Texas deputy was treated at a hospital and then released on Tuesday after she touched a flyer suspected of being laced with fentanyl, a potent and potentially deadly opioid.

The sergeant found a flyer on her windshield, removed it and soon began feeling light-headed, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.

She went to the hospital for treatment, according to Gonzalez. A Tuesday afternoon tweet from the sheriff’s office said the deputy was treated for possible fentanyl exposure and released from the hospital.

An investigation revealed that the flyers had been placed on more than 10 vehicles, and one of the fliers tested positive for fentanyl, Gonzalez said.

The positive fentanyl test did not come from the flyer on the sickened sergeant’s vehicle, but all flyers are currently being tested, a spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff’s office told USA TODAY in an email.

The fliers were found on cars near a precinct that houses the Houston-area sheriff’s department’s violent crime unit and homicide division.

It’s almost enough to make one yearn for the simpler days of the Unabomber and anthrax mailings . . .

ADDENDA: After Charlottesville, the Alexandria GOP baseball shooting, and protests of Trump administration officials’ homes, some people are saying, “It’s never been this bad.”

I beg to differ, as I start to read Bryan Burrough’s Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence.

“People have completely forgotten that in 1972, we had over nineteen hundred domestic bombings in the United States,” notes a retired FBI agent, Max Noel. “People don’t want to listen to that. They can’t believe it. One bombing now and everyone gets excited. In 1972? It was every day. Buildings getting bombed, policemen getting killed. It was commonplace.”

Bombings today often mean someone dies. The underground bombings of the 1970s were far more widespread and far less lethal. During an eighteen month period in 1971 and 1972, the FBI reported more than 2,500 bombings on U.S. soil, nearly 5 a day. Yet less than one percent of the 1970s-era bombings led to a fatality; the single-deadliest radical-underground attack of the decade killed four people.


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