…if the Democratic Party had a functional liberal wing. During the last couple of weeks, many olds ranging from ex-Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill to Whoopi Goldberg, not to mention a whole slew of conservatives and radical centrists, have been complaining that newly-elected Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has been getting too much attention (full disclosure: I supported her early on, including during her primary campaign, and contributed financially). They’re partially right, but for the wrong reason. The reason is related to an observation about Sanders’ 2016 campaign (boldface added):
For those who are still angry at Senator Sanders for running against Clinton: you’re right, he shouldn’t have run. More accurately, he shouldn’t have had to run, because there should have been Democratic politicians who called for the positions he supported. But the only liberal Democratic option was a self-described 74 year-old socialist who really isn’t a Democratic Party member. After 25 years, give or take, of purging (even if it’s the polite purge of not hiring) liberal Democrats from positions of power, including entities like mainline think tanks, the only option left is the self-described socialists (who really don’t seem that socialist).
Ocasio-Cortez is telegenic, ‘Twittergenic’ (if that’s a thing), and a quick study. But there really haven’t been any high-profile lefty types–who yoostabee called ‘liberal Democrats‘–who are good at working the media for years; Sen. Paul Wellstone is the last who comes to mind. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has, historically, been inept at getting its message out–and frankly, many of them just aren’t that liberal on the whole. It shouldn’t have taken a wet-behind-the-ears congresswoman to make the points she has publicly, proudly, effectively, and without hesitation: there should have been other Democrats doing this. It really is a symptom of just how much liberal Democrats (circa 1990s)–of which the 2016 primary support for Sanders indicated there are quite a few–have been relegated to the margins of the Democratic Party.
But here we are. So I guess the olds will have to put up with the young whippersnapper…