Democrats are already trying to unseat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Scott Wong at The Hill first reported that at least one House Democrat is trying to recruit someone from the Bronx or Queens to run against Ocasio-Cortez in a primary to make her a “one-term congresswoman.” The report exposes the unwillingness of established Democrats to share power with a younger generation seeking to seed more radical and diverse voices in Congress.
The unnamed congressmember portrayed the move as a punitive measure, latching onto the idea that Ocasio-Cortez snatched the House seat away from incumbent Joe Crowley and the party machine. “You’ve got numerous council people and state legislators who’ve been waiting 20 years for that seat,” the congressmember said. “I’m sure they can find numerous people who want that seat in that district.”
Already three potential opposition candidates have made it clear that they would not seek a primary challenge against Ocasio-Cortez, with one commenting that the plan was just gossip. Whether or not Democrats have made efforts behind the scenes, it’s clear they’re still nursing the sting of a shock defeat.
It’s the latest effort designed to weaken Ocasio-Cortez’s momentum, portraying her as a rogue agent weakening the party. The effort also reflects the establishment’s larger fear of Justice Democrats, the group battling political inertia by backing progressive primary candidates, including Ocasio-Cortez. Pundits have also remarked on the potential for these new progressive lawmakers to form a “Tea Party of the left” — a foil for the House Freedom Caucus, the Republican bloc of ultra-conservative representatives who have forcefully driven the GOP to the right.