Amid the bruising war of words among Democrats this past weekend, I couldn't help but wonder what caused the 'establishment' (yet still very liberal) wing of the party to make a somewhat sudden, collective decision to start returning fire against AOC and her squad of hardcore leftists. My guess is that it was a slow build, with many rank-and-file members growing sick and tired of being portrayed as compromised sellouts, hypocrites, and even racists by a group of loud newcomers and their posse. Something else that may have contributed to the outbursts of frustration is new internal polling showing how toxic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and socialism are in the eyes of swing voters. These are the numbers Democratic leaders are staring at as their newly-elected colleagues bash them in the press, using identity-rooted attacks typically reserved for Republicans:
Capitalism, by contrast, was viewed favorably by a 24-point margin among these voters. It's not hard to imagine the Speaker being pushed over the edge by a combination of anger and fear. Anger at the way AOC and team have myopically and sloppily refused to play nicely with others, and fear that Republicans will highlight these strident voices as a means of damaging the Democratic Party writ large. It seems as though their under-informed self-righteousness and constant claims of victimhood, while person appealing to the hard-charging progressive base, are not broadly popular. AOC's favorables are abysmal, despite garnering a high degree of awareness. Omar's are even worse, although she hasn't broken through quite as much. Many Democrats quietly grouse that 'the Squad' is somehow a devious creation of conservative media, but it's undeniable that mainstream and left-leaning outlets have promoted and elevated these women for months. The PR machinery and anti-conservative tactics Democrats have long enjoyed are now being weaponized internally, and the bosses have lost control over the process.
The Squadsters are from deep blue districts; Pelosi's so-called 'majority makers' are not. Swing voters handed Democrats control of the House last fall, and many of those very same voters are adamantly not on board for the AOC-ization of the party. In order to maintain or even build upon their gains, House Democrats need to hang onto seats like these:
These are the type of suburban swing districts that Rs need to have a shot to take back the majority. Trump won GA-06 by 1 pt, IA-03 by 3 pts, and Clinton carried NJ-07 by 1,— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) July 12, 2019
Pelosi, despite being quite liberal herself, realizes that there must be room within the party coalition for candidates who can win these types of contests. The Squad, however, appears more interested in competing and medaling in the Woke Olympics. Here's a jeremiad from one of them about identity politics enforcement. Listen to the applause she garners from the Netroots Nation audience as she tells various minorities that they're useless if they don't use their voices in a way that is satisfactory to the Left:
Rep Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) “We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice” pic.twitter.com/2NIj5Vvcor— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 15, 2019
"We don't need queers..." I'm not an expert on the ever-changing rules, but I'm fairly certain that term is rather problematic coming from a non-LGBTQ person. In any case, as (1) the Democrats tore each other apart, (2) left-wing agitators defaced an American flag and hoisted a Mexican flag at a US detention facility, and (3) an Antifa lunatic was killed by officers as he launched a violent attack against an ICE facility, one would think Republicans would be smart enough to just sit back and let these spectacles unfold. When your opponents are savaging each other, don't interfere. It's politics 101. But the president cannot help himself, weighing in with a tweet that trafficked in a well-worn xenophobic trope, telling the Squad to go back to where they came from. Of the four women, three were born in the United States. While Omar does often come across as a preachy ingrate, this was a terrible way to express that sentiment. It was wrong to say, factually inaccurate, and political malpractice to boot. And the parsed spin hasn't been persuasive. Trump managed to toss the opposition a lifeline by stomping into their internecine fight and uniting them with a foolish and ugly attack. And he very likely alienated many of those aforementioned swing voters. But because everyone seems intent on being as dumb as possible, I'll leave you with a Washington Post editor blaming...Pelosi: