Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is making sure he won’t be blindsided by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) if she decides to mount a primary challenge during the 2022 midterms. The fortifications for Schumer’s political wall started in 2018. In a lengthy piece in Politico, the publication documented the New York liberal’s behind-the-scenes moves to shore up his flanks and prepare for the worst if the political Left decides to declare all-out war against him. The Left is still bothered by Schumer’s vote on the 2003 Iraq War and Glass-Steagall. In all, the message is clear: we’re watching you, Chuck. As they say though, the ball is in his court regarding whether he wants to cruise to re-election or face AOC in a primary. It’s rather mob boss-like, but New York has been a killing field for Democratic incumbents who haven’t toed the line of the increasingly left-wing base of the Democratic Party. At the state level, they elected a host of straight-up commies in the legislature.
On his part, Schumer has moved to the Left on a host of issues and while New York City might be a battleground should civil war break out—he can probably make up the margins in the upstate areas. The publication noted that Ocasio-Cortez has been wanting to put a face to the name regarding voter outreach to those outside of the Big Apple. Yet, another factor in Schumer’s favor is that people know him. For better or worse, Schumer is good at constituent relations. He’s around New York, whereas the Democrats who were subjected to the end of a progressive flamethrower were hardly ever seen back home. Yet, Ocasio-Cortez might not be looking to primary Schumer. There are other offices that are a step-up in the state. The sky’s the limit for her (via Politico):
Just a few weeks after a group of young climate activists, accompanied by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, orchestrated a highly publicized sit-in in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in late 2018, their Sunrise Movement received an unexpected email from Chuck Schumer’s staff.
Schumer’s outreach was likely no coincidence. New York, the veteran senator’s home state, is the epicenter of the progressive movement’s efforts to oust incumbent Democrats in Congress. And Schumer, who is up for reelection in 2022, has been taking steps both publicly and privately to steel himself from a left-wing primary challenge — especially from his biggest threat, Ocasio-Cortez.
The two-term congresswoman is seriously considering campaigning for the seat but is so far undecided, according to people familiar with her thinking. Multiple sources said her decision will be contingent on how Schumer wields power with his new Democratic majority in the upcoming months: Will he be pushed around by Mitch McConnell? Or will he work to pass ambitious, progressive legislation favored by the left?
“It’s dependent on what Schumer does,” said Waleed Shahid, communications director for Justice Democrats, the left-wing group that recruited Ocasio-Cortez to run for Congress, referring to a challenge by her or another progressive candidate. “Schumer will have to explain every one of his decisions to one of the most progressive primary electorates in the country, and if voters think he’s capitulating to Mitch McConnell and not organizing his caucus to deliver for working families, then he’s going to be in some trouble.”
Given her national profile, Ocasio-Cortez’s allies are confident she would raise an enormous amount of money if she ran for Senate, perhaps as much as $100 million. She brought in nearly $20 million during her reelection campaign, which she won easily. Many are also bullish about her chances.
“They think she would win,” said a Democratic House source.
Still, progressives know she has work to do outside of New York City…
Though some in Schumer’s orbit reportedly believe Ocasio-Cortez is more likely to pursue a campaign for governor or lieutenant governor, her allies said she is more interested in continuing on the legislative track than pursuing an executive career
Yet, as he works hard to reach out to progressives, including AOC, Schumer is a veteran in all of this. He makes his moves, sets things into motion, and then let’s political fate decide. I mean, there’s not much he can do if he can’t convince a bunch of rabid left-wingers that he’s genuine in making the hard left shift in the Senate. He’s just got to do the best job he has, prays it yields results, and then go on from there. As he told Politico, “throughout my career, I do the best job for my constituents and for my country and it always works out. I haven’t had a grand plan like, ‘I’m going to be here 10 years from now, here in 20 years.’ I do my job well and then the next thing sort of falls into place.”
Sounds like a guy who will be at peace with whatever happens. And Ocasio-Cortez might sit out 2022. We don’t know. She doesn’t want to make the leap for speaker. She made that clear, so maybe she’ll soak some more in the House. Maybe not. If she starts to do outreach outside of New York City, she could be setting the stage for a Senate primary, or a gubernatorial run, or a future run for either office just not in the immediate future. Ocasio-Cortez has time on her hands. She has hordes of cash and volunteer support at her disposal at a moment’s notice. She can wait. You’d lose sleep trying to guess and Chuck has better things to do, so play smart, go as left-wing as you can, and put it on autopilot. In the meantime, if there's a bloody primary war in New York, it could make for great headlines—just sayin’.