The Future Of The Democratic Party -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

When I was a kid, and I lost a tooth, my parents instructed me to put the tooth under my pillow when I went to bed at night.  The next morning, magically, the tooth was gone, and a quarter had appeared.  My parents explained that the quarter came from the tooth fairy.  

By the time my own kids got to the same stage of life, the tooth fairy had become much more generous.  The going rate seemed to be around two or three dollars per tooth.  And I heard of some instances where the magical money was up to five dollars.  At least by that time I knew it was all a fiction.

Is it possible to get to the age of 28 and not have figured out that the tooth fairy is not real?  Well, consider the case of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  You have probably recently heard of her.  She is the young woman who just knocked off Joe Crowley to become the Democratic Party's candidate for the 14th Congressional District of New York.  The 14th District covers some broad swaths of Queens and the Bronx, two of the boroughs that make up New York City.  (One of my daughters lives in that district.)  Ocasio-Cortez seems to believe that the tooth fairy is good for multiple trillions of dollars if you just demand firmly enough that the money be coughed up.  

The guy that Ocasio-Cortez beat, Joe Crowley, has in fact been a big cheese in the power structure of the Democratic Party, both nationally and locally.  In Congress, he is in his tenth two-year term (first elected in 1998), has never previously faced serious opposition, and holds the number four leadership position among Democrats in the House of Representatives -- Chairman of the Democratic Caucus.  Even though he only holds the number four position, he has been mentioned more than any other person as the likely successor to Nancy Pelosi as Minority Leader or Speaker.  That's because the number two and three guys -- Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer -- are 77 and 79 years old respectively.  Crowley is a mere 56.  Locally, Crowley is the head of the Queens County Democratic Party -- not a small deal, considering that Queens County has about 2.3 million people, making it about the tenth most populous county in the country.  But Crowley has now been knocked out.  It looks like the Democrats will have to find someone else to succeed Pelosi.

In her short 28 years, Ocasio-Cortez has spent time working as an organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, and has joined the Democratic Socialists of America.  I love the way socialists call themselves "democratic" and hope that somebody will believe it.  Like the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (i.e., the Norks), or the German Democratic Republic.  Ocasio-Cortez also likes to describe herself as a "girl from the Bronx," but then suddenly the New York Times reported the day after her victory that she actually mostly grew up in a wealthy town in northern Westchester County called Yorktown Heights:

The family lived in Parkchester, a planned community of mid-rise buildings, in the same apartment where Ms. Ocasio-Cortez now lives, until Alexandria was about 5, when they moved an hour north to a modest two-bedroom house on a quiet street in Yorktown Heights, a suburb in Westchester County, in search of better schools. 

Yorktown Heights is one of those very tony and leafy places in the New York suburbs.  City Data gives the median household income for 2016 as $99,382.

Alexandria's platform is simple:  Just demand that every spending and redistribution program that anyone has ever thought of be enacted immediately, and don't give a moment's thought to the cost.  Oh, and add that all energy must immediately come from the magical wind and sun.  Here is a picture of one of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's campaign fliers:

Ocasio-Cortez Platform.jpg

How much might any of this cost?  Not her problem!

A few comments on the platform:

  • Does she know that Medicare does not cover dental?  Hey, why not throw that in?
  • For those not familiar with New York lexicon, "fully funded" public schools is the term currently in vogue by the teachers' unions to call for more money for themselves, while diverting attention from the obvious fact that New York already is number one among the states in per student spending at about double the national average.  Yes, but the schools are not "fully funded," whatever that means.  In the view of the teachers' unions, they will never be "fully funded."
  • How many new "human rights" can we come up with?  Housing?  No problem!  Shouldn't everyone have a "human right" to a Park Avenue penthouse?  Paid family and sick leave?  Definitely!  How much?  A week?  How about a year?
  • "100% renewable green industry"?  Does she know that wind and solar energy don't work?  Apparently not.

Does she really believe that any of this is reasonable or realistic?  Here is a quote from an Ocasio-Cortez tweet of today:

A major point of my campaign: in the safest blue seats in America, we should have leaders swinging for the most ambitious ideas possible for working-class Americans. You’re largely not going to get gutsy risk-taking from swing-district seats.    

In other words, of course the tooth fairy has an infinite pile of free money to be passed out by politicians!  To advocate passing it out is "ambitious"!  It's "gutsy risk-taking"!  Go for it, Democrats!

And, Ocasio-Cortez gives away the game when she tells us that you can't find out what Democrats really stand for by looking to what the candidates say in the swing districts.  Those guys are holding their tongues so as not to alienate independent voters.  It is only in places like my district, where we think we are safe, that we will tell you what we really believe.

OK, but is there really anything more to this belief system than the belief in the infinite pile of free money from the tooth fairy for the politicians to pass out?  That does seem to be the future of the Democratic Party.