I first noticed something was up in the New York City backwater called the 14th Congressional District when a friend across the aisle, a well-respected political columnist, tweeted out the news of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “upset” victory against the incumbent Democrat, Joe Crowley, just minutes after it happened.
Who cares? thought I.
Crowley, one of the last of the Irish machine politicians, had safely sailed to reelection to the House for a decade, often without even a primary challenger. But the 29-year-old AOC, as she is colloquially known, beat him in the primary with 57 percent of the vote—a number that sounds impressive until you realize that it was a mere 15,897 votes to Crowley’s 11,761, a difference of 4,136 votes. In the foregone-conclusion general election, she beat the Republican tomato can, Anthony Pappas, 110,000 to 18,000. Pappas was so indifferent to the outcome that he brushed aside offers to help and did not actively campaign.
Naturally, the media went wild immediately. Literally overnight, this former intern for Ted Kennedy, an ethnic Puerto Rican, became a national celebrity; you can tell the stories were prepped and in the can once her victory was assured.
Crowley’s name stayed on the fall ballot, under the rubric of the Working Families Party, but like the GOP candidate, he did not campaign. His reward was to land a choice spot last month as a lobbyist with the law firm of Squire Patton Boggs, whose bipartisan ranks of swamp-dwelling trough snouts include former Speaker of the House John Boehner, former Senator Trent Lott, and other Washington hacks. With his future assured, and his services to the latter-day equivalent of Tammany Hall rewarded, he finally got around to giving up his government parking pass just this week.
In other words, the fix was in. Clearly, somebody was behind the rise of Ocasio-Cortez and that somebody didn’t care much about the niceties of getting her elected—including elements of her “girl-from-the-Bronx” biography, her actual residence, and her campaign finances. Tant pis!
Democratic firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rode into office railing against the influence of big money and hidden donors in U.S. elections. Yet the political operation that helped elect her to Congress was itself less than transparent—exposing her to attacks from conservative foes.
The New York congresswoman raised a hefty $2 million for her 2018 election while refusing to take money from business-related political action committees. Of that, 61 percent came from individuals giving less than $200—the highest rate of small-dollar funding among current U.S. House members.
At the same time, Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign committee and two PACs paid almost $900,000 to a consulting company for campaign services, providing few details on what the money was for or who ultimately received it.
That’s the question, isn’t it? Two million dollars for 15,000 votes and a shoo-in general election? Her mission accomplished—the first term is the hardest election to win—she’s been “quietly removed” from the board of the Justice Democrats PAC, according to the Daily Caller:
Democratic Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez and her top aide are no longer board members of the outside PAC credited with orchestrating her political rise, according to a corporate document filed Friday to a Washington, D.C., agency.
The New York Democrat and her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, who served as her campaign chair, joined the board of Justice Democrats in December 2017, according to the political action committee’s website. It also said the two held “legal control over the entity” at the same time it was playing a key role in supporting Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign prior to her shock victory over incumbent Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley in June 2018.”
“Orchestrating her political rise.” You have to admit the timing was impeccable. The three freshwomyn—AOC, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib need only a fourth to bring on the apocalypse, having quickly established themselves as the new triumvirate of the Democrat Party. The girl named for a city in Egypt, has openly sassed Maerose Prizzi, the speaker of the House, who, when it came time to offer even the most oblique censure of Omar’s blatant anti-Semitism, wound up deploring all “bigotry” instead, including “Islamophobia.”
Ocasio-Cortez is, as Obama was when the media invented him, too young to run for president for this cycle, but she can squeak in just under the wire in 2024 if her handlers deem that her time has come. Even then, if the example of Obama is any guide, that might be too soon: imagine if Hillary had been the nominee in 2008 and then a more mature and even more radical Obama had come along in 2016, on the tails of her two “moderate” terms; as it was, he was too inexperienced and frankly, too lazy, fully to implement the plan his backers had in mind for him.
And so, as the Democrats bum-rush to the 2020 starting gates, the two cheeks of their party have swung into view. Yes, they have become the party of peons and plutocrats, but for our purposes—and for AOC’s—they will soon be the party of geriatrics and the turkettes, who loathe their masculine forbears with true “feminist” ignorance and impatience. They know this is the last roundup for superannuated pols like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders and even the former Nancy d’Alesandro, the pride of Ballamer, and that the future—one version of it, anyway, belongs to them:
For make no mistake: these neo-Socialists—whether they call themselves national or international and whether white, brown, or black—are all fascist brothers and sisters under the skin, bent on both submission and punishment. Behold how far and how fast even the “moderate” Democrats have adopted such things as reparations, the elimination of ICE, the abolition of the Electoral College, overt infanticide and other extremist positions—if that’s the platform they hope to run on next year, then they have well and truly earned their sobriquet, the Evil Party.
There are some signs that such extremism is turning off voters; despite the media’s cheerleading, AOC has seen her popularity polls crater; it seems that the more sensible Americans see and hear of her, the less they like her. Which means there’s hope for the Republic yet—but this is no time to get complacent.
Every socialist demagogue of the 20th century started life as an underestimated figure: Mussolini was expelled from the Italian Socialists as too radical; Hitler was a comic-opera figure who wound up in Landsberg prison; Lenin was exiled twice; Stalin was a seminarian who had lost his Orthodox faith and found a substitute in the writing of Karl Marx. Ilhan Omar may not be the brightest bulb in Minnesota, much less in Congress; Rashida Tlaib’s naked hatred for the West may be jarring; and AOC’s vapid, goofy “Green New Deal” narcissism will strike mature adults as risible and clownish, not to mention ruinous.
Just remember this: they mean it. As Rosemary says in “Rosemary’s Baby”:
Wake up, America. For, as scary as this may sound, after Joe and Bernie and Nancy comes le deluge.
How do you solve a problem like Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez? By making sure their first terms in Congress are also their last.
Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and foreign correspondent for Time Magazine, for which he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints (winner, 2004 American Book Award for fiction), and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the recent nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace. A sequel, The Fiery Angel, was published by Encounter in May 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @dkahanerules