Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – or “AOC” as she is referred to by supporters and detractors alike – is something of an “accidental congresswoman.” That’s not necessarily a knock on her; after all, John Tyler was the original “accidental president,” and in my professional opinion, he is one of the most underrated chief executives in our nation’s history.
The reason Cortez’ hard work to get to Capitol Hill was fortified by a large dose of dumb luck, though, is because the incumbent Democrat she unseated for the party’s nomination was Joe Crowley, Chair of the Democratic Caucus at the time and an establishmentarian hack among establishmentarian hacks. Crowley rarely ever visited his district, and the voters noticed. Add to the equation that after winning the Democratic nomination, Cortez’ trot to the general election was really a walk in the park, considering her Republican opponent, St. John’s Prof. Anthony Pappas, didn’t bother to campaign, throwing in the towel from the starting gate because he was a Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. New York’s GOP, hardly known for its intestinal fortitude, conveniently cut ties with him amid his ex-wife’s domestic abuse allegations against him, which on its face would have been noble and magnanimous, but appears to be a matter of convenience: a low-key forfeit rather than a humiliating lopsided defeat in battle. Pappas’ fellow Greeks never jumped on board, either.
All of this catapulted Cortez to victory in November and a seat in the House chamber on February 5 to hear President Trump deliver his State of the Union Speech. Decked in her all-white Democrat Stepford Wives outfit, part of a similarly-clad contingent that looked like the mezzo soprano section of a Christmas pageant, Cortez was in the spotlight for an event that, quite possibly, prior to this year, she may have never known even existed, or may have thought: “it can’t be the president speaking, it says State, like, you know, the State, New York State…”
That, too, is no knock on her. Just like it’s no knock on Sarah Palin, Alaska governor-turned 2008 GOP VP nominee, who at the time didn’t know that the Koreas were one nation before the end of World War II. Most Americans – including many smart ones – simply don’t know this stuff; and political nerds shouldn’t confuse lack of knowledge with lack of passion, or ability to govern.
But Palin is passe, and in my view, Cortez will be sooner than later too. This is not “wishful thinking” on my part, because I don’t necessarily wish for such a thing to happen. As a perennial third voice advocate who rails against the major party establishment duopoly, I’m happy for the AOCs of the world, just as I am for the DJTs (Donald J. Trumps).
I may not agree with Cortez’ Green New Deal proposal, because I find some of its components unrealistic (a 70% top tax rate? If ever #NeverAgain was ever appropriate) and others outrageous (the abolition of ICE), but I love that she is representing the people who elected her so enthusiastically, just as President Trump speaks for the staunchest of his own followers.
AOC has cut into DJT’s market share of “stupidity” memes, the frontrunner being that Cortez (a brunette) is singlehandedly putting an end to dumb blonde jokes. Passe Palin, who a decade ago was the unequivocal top subject of such memes, is now not even on the radar.
Rather clumsily, Candidate Cortez spoke of the “three chambers” of government, referring to the U.S. House, the Senate, and the White House (presidency). Immediately, the haters pounced on her, mockingly deriding her for not being able to identify the three branches of government (never mind she said chambers, not branches, but what’s a little deception by “journalists” when it comes to telling a good joke?). Not much different than what prompted me to strongly defend Candidate Trump as early as July, 2015, long before I even realized how many of his ideas I supported: it was the lie, repeated over and over again, that he “called Mexicans ‘rapists’ and ‘thugs’” (he didn’t; as I’ve written on far too many occasions to enumerate).
The establishmentarian hacks on Capitol Hill are seething. Their hedged bets on either a Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush presidency in 2016 fell apart, and their hopes for a Joe Biden-John Kasich race in 2020 look slimmer and slimmer, as both of those candidates’ prospects seem flatter than a glass of ginger ale that’s been sitting on the back porch for a month. At least Mitt Romney’s struggle to eke out a win for a Senate seat from Utah was grueling enough to snap him out of his delusion that he could ever win a national election.
John McCain and George H.W. Bush have passed on, and John Kerry, well, just the fact that he’s even in a conversation about being “mainstream” shows how far left the Democrats have shifted since 2004, when the younger President Bush described Kerry’s then-fellow Massachusetts senator, Ted Kennedy, as comparably the “conservative senator from Massachusetts.”
What do all of these political dinosaurs have in common? They are trying to whip the voters into a frenzy that AOC and DJT are dumb and unhinged, and if left to their own devices, will “destroy America.” What they really mean is: “they’ve hacked into our cozy fiefdom; the jig is up, and we’re grasping at straws to hold onto it.”
And for those who think “oh, but it’s true in Trump’s case but not in Cortez’,” or vice versa, it looks like you’ve given the hacks some hope, because apparently, at least on some level, they’ve gotten to you.