AOC: If Joe Biden and I Are in the Same Political Party, Maybe Our Tent Is Too Big

Posted: Jan 09, 2020 10:25 AM

A leftover from earlier in the week, which Bronson covered here, but that's worth circling back to because it reveals the mindset of the Squad-aligned hard Left. There's an old political adage that describes politics as an exercise in addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division. In short, each political coalition seeks to win over as many supporters as possible. Winning elections is a numbers game. It's not rocket science. But the concept is not always quite so airtight or simple. The major counterpoints to this self-evident truth are as follows: 

First, on occasion, truly extreme or toxic ideologies must be shunned or purged as an act of civic and moral hygiene (see, for instance, Buckley's banishment of the Birchers, or the Labour Party's struggles to deal with their anti-Semitism crisis). Second, growing a political party or ideological movement's appeal should not come at the cost of abandoning any and all principle. A mushy, centrist, visionless coalition that wins isn't worth all that much if the victors have no core sense of what they want to accomplish, or why. Both arguments spark debates about prudential judgments regarding where to draw certain lines. Overall, it's generally wise to be broadly welcoming and capacious, recognizing that the passions of 'the base' -- while crucial to winning -- are simply not sufficient. Which brings us to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who suggests in a new interview that perhaps the Democratic Party is a bit too inclusive:

The same goes for the party as a whole: “Democrats can be too big of a tent.” It is comments like that that kept Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the Democratic Party from reaching any kind of meaningful détente. I asked her what she thought her role would be as a member of Congress during, for instance, a Joe Biden presidency. “Oh God,” she said with a groan. “In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party, but in America, we are.”

This tent may just be a bit too large because it includes -- checks notes -- the party's national presidential frontrunner. Spoken like someone who thinks that fewer jobs in her district is a win, and who occupies a D+29 seat -- which may or may not be going away (frankly, I'd be shocked if Democrats targeted AOC like this, which would be tantamount to declaring war on a significant chunk of their core supporters). More pearls of wisdom and self-congratulation:

The Democratic congressional majority, she told me, is too acquiescent to the demands of its members in so-called red-to-blue districts — those moderates who flipped Republican seats and gave Pelosi the gavel...What people don’t realize is that there is a tea party of the left, but it’s on the right edges, the most conservative parts of the Democratic Party. So the Democratic Party has a role to play in this problem, and it’s like we’re not allowed to talk about it. We’re not allowed to talk about anything wrong the Democratic Party does,” she said. “I think I have created more room for dissent, and we’re learning to stretch our wings a little bit on the left.”...She said the Congressional Progressive Caucus should start kicking people out if they stray too far from the party line.

Hand-wringing that the Democratic Party is too conservative -- ahem -- may read like satire to many on the center-Right, but it's an article of faith among left-wing true believers (there's been a mirror effect among many on the Right, too). AOC's project of yanking the party in an even more radical and strident direction comes with serious risks, the downsides of which would be felt not by her, but by the majority-making 'moderates' she laments as having too much influence. The New York freshman, for instance, was agitating for impeachment long before President Trump spoke to the leader of Ukraine this past summer. But other members represent constituencies that look very, very different. To wit (as we touched on previously):

Each of the House Democrats in those districts voted to impeach Trump last month. The potential ramifications for them are much more serious than for someone like AOC. Meanwhile, as Joe Biden racks up endorsements from more swing state Democrats, the struggling Elizabeth Warren campaign picked up this supporter a few days ago:

What's his angle, given her downward drift?  Allahpundit nails it, I think:

Endorsing Warren early, at a moment when she looks like an also-ran, will doubtless earn respect and gratitude from her and her team, further positioning him for a VP reward next summer if she surges back to win the nomination...One other virtue of this endorsement for Castro: Backing the lone plausible woman nominee left in the race boosts his woke cred, which he cultivated carefully on the trail this year. He’s obviously planning to run for president again someday. When he does, he’ll get the same question every male Democratic presidential contender will get for the foreseeable future, namely, “Why shouldn’t we nominate a woman instead?” Castro’s answer is now ready-made. “I’ve always believed in nominating the best candidate regardless of gender,” he’ll say, “and I proved it when I supported Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 primary.” Julian plays the long game.

That's a bingo.