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‘You can feel it now’: New Democrats push party, and 2020 candidates, to the left on divisive issues

‘You can feel it now’: New Democrats push party, and 2020 candidates, to the left on divisive issues

Postby smix » Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:28 am

‘You can feel it now’: New Democrats push party, and 2020 candidates, to the left on divisive issues
The Washington Post

URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... story.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 12, 2019

Description: A new generation of Democrats is using far-reaching policy ideas and a brash social media presence to upend the party — pushing it to the left on divisive issues such as health care and climate change while it charts a path aimed at taking the White House in 2020. But the liberal shift, and the lawmakers driving it, are also creating challenges for Democrats in more-conservative areas, and they are giving President Trump and congressional Republicans fresh opportunities for political attacks. The GOP has been particularly focused in recent days on hammering Democrats over draft details of a broad “Green New Deal” proposal, even if most Democrats have not directly endorsed the fine print.

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The party’s increasingly liberal bent is also creating dilemmas for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is trying to manage a band of outspoken new liberal members while also staying attuned to the needs of moderates hailing from swing districts that could be key to Democrats retaining the House majority in 2020. “We won the House through the middle,” said Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), who co-leads the Problem Solvers Caucus. “Our party has to be open and recognize that. And if we don’t and insist that everyone takes a hard line view on everything, (a) I don’t think that’s going to attract votes in the next election, and (b) it puts our majority at risk.” Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said of his party’s shift to the left: “It makes it more difficult in more-rural areas like mine. Absolutely makes it more difficult.” But many lawmakers — including 2020 presidential candidates — argue that a general push leftward is long overdue and reflects the broad popularity of many of their positions, from universal health coverage to taxing billionaires at higher rates. “You can feel it now. In Congress, it has started to shift. It has started to shift. We’re not there yet. We’re not all the way there, but it has started to shift,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said at a presidential campaign event Sunday night in Davenport, Iowa, when discussing her support for the Green New Deal. “We’ve got new energy in this. We’ve got new blood in this. We’ve got new ideas in this. No one is saying there’s a single silver bullet that’s going to fix the whole problem. What’s happening is people are coming up with lots of pieces.” Trump and the Republicans see the shift — and the Democratic division — as an opportunity to portray their opponents as “radical” and out of touch with mainstream America. The attacks have been fueled further by actions on the part of some Democrats, including remarks from Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) supporting the elimination of private insurance as part of a single-payer health-care system and a document from the office of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) outlining details of the Green New Deal that her office has since disavowed. At a campaign rally Monday night in El Paso, Trump mocked the Green New Deal as a “high school term paper that got a low mark” and argued to his crowd of supporters that it would “shut down American energy” and “would shut down a little thing called air travel.” “It all has to do with 2020 and the election,” Trump added. “But I really don’t like their policy of taking away your car, of taking away your airplane flights, of ‘Let’s hop a train to California.’ ” Trump continued in that vein during a meeting with Cabinet officials Tuesday. “There’s tremendous and quite unusual attitude on the other side. There’s a lot of anger. And they’re slipping extremely far left,” Trump said. “We don’t want that to happen to our country.” On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he plans a floor vote on a Green New Deal resolution that has been endorsed by some 2020 contenders, a bid to force Democrats to adopt what Republicans contend is an unpopular position. “He’s trying to bully the party, and he’s banking on people not being courageous,” Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday of McConnell’s plans. “I think people should call his bluff.”

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Some potential 2020 contenders, however, are treading carefully, particularly after aides to Ocasio-Cortez, the plan’s most prominent advocate, published and distributed a list of “frequently asked questions” that included details not included in the resolution itself, such as ensuring economic security for those “unwilling to work.” Her office later said it had inadvertently published an early version. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who is considering a 2020 presidential bid from a state that has been shifting to the right, said Tuesday that elected officials ought to address climate change aggressively but stopped short of endorsing the specific resolution backed by Ocasio-Cortez and others. “I’m not going to get in the position of every time somebody has a really good idea or a big idea that I have to talk in great detail about my position on it,” Brown said at a breakfast with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “I know that the easy thing to do is say, ‘Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.’ ” At her appearance in Davenport, Warren gave a lengthy answer when asked whether she supports the Green New Deal resolution, saying that she’s gratified to see so much attention focused on climate change but steered clear of some of the specifics in the proposal. And at a Monday night town hall meeting in Iowa City — where she was introduced as “the most progressive candidate” in the race — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said in an interview that the Green New Deal resolution did not have enough specifics for her. “There’s a lot of things that are vague and can be open to misinterpretation or lead to unintended consequences,” Gabbard said. “Fracking [hydraulic fracturing] and nuclear power are two things that are not mentioned in that resolution at all. The waste that is produced by nuclear power is waste that we’re going to have to deal with forever.” The Green New Deal is just one of several issues where candidates are describing one thing while activists are demanding another, even when using the same language. With the exception of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), for example, every Democratic senator running for president has endorsed “Medicare-for-all” legislation, which if implemented would phase in a national health plan with only limited roles for private insurers. But each Democrat has described the goal differently. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said in his weekend stops across Iowa that he backed a “Medicare-for-all option,” describing a government program into which people could buy while leaving private insurance in place. Six of the seven senators who are seeking the Democratic nomination or seriously considering bids have signed on to a Green New Deal resolution from Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). Five of the seven put their names on a Medicare-for-all proposal from the last Congress that would phase out private health insurance. Meanwhile, Klobuchar, who announced her presidential candidacy this week, distanced herself from the details of the Green New Deal proposal circulated by Ocasio-Cortez’s office. She said Tuesday on Fox News that she would vote for the climate change resolution but that the situation would be different “once it got down to the nitty-gritty of . . . actual legislation.” Democratic pollster Celinda Lake said the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all plans are popular concepts among Democratic voters, but she said they are not well-defined among the broader public. “What Democrats should be doing is laying out some core principles about what should be in the bills,” Lake said. “People like them a lot but don’t know what’s in them.” In the House, Pelosi and her lieutenants have tried to give a nod to progressives without letting them control the agenda. Though popular among the 2020 field, most of the proposals are unlikely to get a floor vote in the House since Democratic leaders think they would be likely to backfire on the party. Indeed, the Medicare-for-all plan endorsed by liberals is not even expected to get a hearing, much less a committee vote, in the pivotal House Energy and Commerce Committee, which technically has jurisdiction over health care. Rather, the proposal has been steered to the second-tier House Rules and Budget panels, which will vet the proposals without voting on them. And at times, Pelosi and her allies have been forced to play damage control to keep progressive members — particularly freshmen — in line. When Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) told a crowd of supporters last month that Democrats would “impeach the motherf-----,” referring to Trump, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), a close ally of Tlaib’s and Pelosi’s, pulled Tlaib aside and counseled her to be careful. When officials at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other Jewish leaders angrily called leadership offices about remarks made by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) that were seen as insulting to Jews and Israel, Pelosi crafted a rare public rebuke of the freshman, calling on her to apologize for her “anti-Semitic tropes.” On the policy front, particularly on health care, Pelosi is focusing the caucus’s attention on improving the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which was her chief legislative accomplishment during her first term as speaker. “She lets enough air out of the balloon before it pops,” said one senior Democratic aide of Pelosi’s approach to progressives, throwing them something to keep them happy without allowing their proposal to take over the House agenda. The Green New Deal has received little consideration from most senior House Democrats, who saw their centrist Blue Dog Coalition go nearly extinct a decade ago after Pelosi and other leaders forced moderates to vote on cap-and-trade legislation to manage industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. While more than 65 progressive House Democrats have signed onto the Green New Deal, many other Democrats privately scoff at the resolution. “I think it’s great when new members come in and have ideas and give speeches,” said Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.). “But I’m struck at how often I’m being asked by the press about a gauzy resolution that has no details to it.”



Democrats need to beware their loony left
The Washington Post

URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions ... story.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 13, 2019

Description: As I’ve traveled around, speaking about my book on how extremists hijacked the Republican Party, I have been hearing from Democrats who are worried that the same thing is happening to their party. They have good cause for concern. The Democrats, to be sure, are not nearly as far left as Republicans are far right. But they are moving to the left, with the number of Democrats who describe themselves as liberal having doubled from 25 percent in 1994 to 51 percent in 2018. There is nothing wrong with being liberal — I’m a classical liberal myself — but there is an uber-progressive wing in the Democratic Party that is becoming more vocal and influential. It is, in many ways, the mirror image of the far-right populists who have taken over the GOP.

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Indeed, it’s often hard to tell the extremists apart. Anti-vaccine activists come from both the far left and the far right — and while most of those who defend President Trump’s dealings with Russia are on the right, some, such as Glenn Greenwald and Stephen F. Cohen, are on the left. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), a Democratic presidential candidate, shows the crossover appeal of extremism. With her isolationism and history of homophobia (which she has disavowed), she has become the left-winger whom right-wingers love. She has become notorious as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s No. 1 fan in the United States — she claims that this mass murderer, whom she met in Damascus, is not our enemy, and she has defended him against charges of using chemical weapons. This is going too far for other Democrats, but Gabbard has more company in opposing the Trump administration’s move, in concert with U.S. allies, to topple the Maduro regime in Venezuela. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and academic luminaries such as Noam Chomsky warn against the United States “interfering in Venezuela’s internal politics.” They have nothing to say about the pro-Maduro interference from Russia, China and Cuba. Omar has gained notoriety for suggesting that the Israel lobby pays off Congress to support the Jewish state (“It’s all about the Benjamins baby”). A fellow freshman, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), tweeted that supporters of Israel “forgot what country they represent.” These are classic anti-Semitic tropes. To their credit, Democratic leaders strongly condemned Omar’s hate-mongering, and she apologized. This is a welcome contrast to the GOP, which took years to condemn Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) racism and still won’t condemn President Trump’s. But Tlaib hasn’t apologized, and neither she nor Omar has disavowed their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to delegitimize Israel. Democrats are going to have an even harder time separating themselves from the Green New Deal introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.). It addresses an urgent problem — global warming — but does so with an impractical, indeed fantastical, approach. It promises to upgrade every single building in the country and to achieve “net zero” emissions within 10 years — without using nuclear power. (Even Sweden isn’t trying to achieve “net zero” until 2050, and it relies heavily on nuclear plants.) As if that overambitious goal weren’t enough, the legislation also guarantees everyone in the United States “a job with a family-sustaining wage,” “adequate family and medical leave,” “paid vacations,” “high-quality health care,” “higher education,” and “affordable, safe and adequate housing.” A fact sheet released along with the bill even promised to build “high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary” and to provide “economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.” No price tag is attached to this far-left wish list, but Noah Smith, a former finance professor, estimates in Bloomberg Opinion that it would cost $6.6 trillion a year — “more than three times as much as the federal government collects in tax revenue, and equal to about 34 percent of the U.S.’s entire gross domestic product.” The sponsors of the Green New Deal have not suggested how this ginormous sum could possibly be financed. Instead, they link to articles about Modern Monetary Theory, a fringe view that suggests that running up massive deficits doesn’t matter. This is kooky stuff, but the Green New Deal has been endorsed by four of the leading Democratic presidential contenders (Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala D. Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand). Defenders of the Green New Deal claim it’s merely laying out ambitious goals with the details to be determined later. That’s one way to look at it. My own view is that this is the left-wing version of Trump’s farcical promise that he would build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it. This isn’t policymaking; this is fantasyland. The Green New Deal is tailor-made for Trump’s demagogic — and false — attacks that the Democrats are trying to turn the United States into another Venezuela. Indeed, Trump is already making this argument on the stump. Democrats need to be careful: They have a heaven-sent opportunity to win back the White House and Senate in 2020 and become the majority party for a generation to come. This is an opportunity they can easily squander if they turn themselves into the far-left caricatures that Trump and Fox News would like them to become.



House Democrats explode in recriminations as liberals lash out at moderates
The Washington Post

URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpos ... story.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 28, 2019

Description: House Democrats exploded in recriminations Thursday over moderates bucking the party, with liberal Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threatening to put those voting with Republicans “on a list” for a primary challenge. In a closed-door session, a frustrated Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lashed out at about two dozen moderates and pressured them to get on board. “We are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision,” Pelosi said, according to two people present but not authorized to discuss the remarks publicly. But Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the unquestioned media superstar of the freshman class, upped the ante, admonishing the moderates and indicating she would help liberal activists unseat them in the 2020 election. Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, said she told her colleagues that Democrats who side with Republicans “are putting themselves on a list.” “She said that when activists ask her why she had to vote for a gun safety bill that also further empowers an agency that forcibly injects kids with psychotropic drugs, they’re going to want a list of names and she’s going to give it to them,” Trent said, referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Triggering the blowup were Wednesday’s votes on a bill to expand federal background checks for gun purchases. Twenty-six moderate Democrats joined Republicans in amending the legislation, adding a provision requiring that ICE be notified if an illegal immigrant seeks to purchase a gun. That infuriated liberals who have railed against ICE’s role in conducting mass deportations and embarrassed Democratic leaders who couldn’t keep their members in line on a high-profile bill. The Democratic infighting reflects a fractured caucus and diverse freshman class, with dozens of moderates elected in districts that President Trump won in 2016 at odds with hard-charging liberals. The split has exposed divisions among Pelosi and her top lieutenants, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (S.C.), over the party strategy to keep its newfound majority. Republicans have capitalized on the divide, using legislative tactics to split politically vulnerable moderates from the party leadership. In the coming months, votes on health care, the environment and spending bills could cause more extreme breaks in the Democratic ranks. While the party’s left wing has gotten outsize attention for its aggressive moves to push Democrats in their direction, the splinter faction is made up of the party’s moderates — many of them freshmen taking their first congressional votes. They insist they are not going to be dissuaded from voting with their districts, and many are warning that majority control is at stake. “It’s this class of members that got elected that are the reason we have the majority,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), a co-chairman of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition. “Many of them come from these [moderate] districts, and their promise to their constituents was that they were going to put people over politics.” Inside the Democratic meeting, one of those freshmen — Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.) — reacted sharply to Ocasio-Cortez’s comments and rose to urge her colleagues to respect the political reality of representing a swing district, according to multiple people present. A spokesman for Torres Small did not respond to a request for comment. Several are also pushing to reform or eliminate the procedural tactic that has prompted the uproar — the “motion to recommit,” which essentially gives the minority party one final opportunity to amend a bill moments before it comes up for a final vote. Pelosi trained much of her closed-door frustrations on veteran lawmakers, noting that some held seats on coveted committees. “What is this?” she asked, according to the aides.

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Later, when one lawmaker talked about the peril of persistently voting with party leaders on these motions, Pelosi responded that the party stood ready to help team players: “We have a massive MASH operation and, frankly, it should be there for those who have the courage to take the vote.” Publicly and privately, Pelosi has urged members to treat the Republican motions as procedural feints that should be routinely ignored. “Vote no — just vote no,” she told reporters Thursday, “because the fact is, a vote yes is to give leverage to the other side.” But Hoyer and Clyburn believe that is untenable when Republicans stand ready to use those votes as political cudgels against vulnerable Democrats. Republicans, during their past eight-year majority, maintained remarkable discipline on these procedural votes. Democrats did not manage to pass a single one from 2011 through 2018. But Democrats have already lost two this year, and during their previous majority from 2007 through 2010, they lost roughly one in every five. “The fact of the matter is, it didn’t affect our ability to pass substantive legislation that was very positive and had a positive effect on the American people,” Hoyer said, recalling the last Democratic majority and playing down the importance of those votes. But others say routine Democratic defections threaten to have more serious consequences when the party considers more sensitive bills — and perhaps has a Democratic Senate and president to pass them into law. Already some said they are fretting about the possibility of more Republican mischief. “People need to be aware that coming down the road will be ‘gotcha’ amendments that actually gut the bill, and if we want to be able to move legislation forward, we’re going to have to figure out a way to deal with it,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). The philosophical differences between the three leaders have frustrated some incoming freshmen, who are already bewildered by the practice of voting on the surprise Republican amendments. Members typically have only a few minutes’ notice before having to cast votes on motions that, in recent practice, are crafted to be as politically uncomfortable as possible for the majority party. “We hear lots of different things from lots of different members of our leadership about their views on this issue, and they should get together and figure it out,” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.). A few Democrats said Thursday that the motion to recommit should be jettisoned entirely. “It’s archaic, it’s ridiculous, and it only shows our stupidity that we still have it,” Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) said. But others in party leadership were more wary of eroding one of the few tools handed to the minority in an institution where the majority typically enjoys absolute power. “What goes around comes around — you have to keep that in mind,” McGovern said. Hoyer has offered support for changing the procedure surrounding motions to recommit, giving members more time to review the minority amendment. But Democratic leaders have made no final decision about whether to pursue that, and lawmakers left Washington on Thursday saying only that there would be further conversations about it. Republican leaders, meanwhile, warned against any changes. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that changes “would be a nuclear option” and “would leave a stain on this majority just two months in.” “Never once did we discuss, did we bring up the option or even entertain the idea,” McCarthy said about the GOP’s past majority. “Less than 60 days into a majority, they want to silence a minority? That is wrong.”



Centrist Democrats push back against party’s liberal surge
The Washington Post

URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... story.html
Category: Politics
Published: March 1, 2019

Description: From the halls of Congress to the presidential campaign trail, Democratic moderates are beginning to push back against the wave of liberal energy and shoot-the-moon policy ideas that have captured the party’s imagination over the past two months. They worry that the sweeping proposals and hardball tactics of liberal firebrands could alienate centrist voters in the 2020 election, even as they hold out hope that Democratic primary voters, focused on defeating President Trump, will check the party’s move to the left. The moderates’ concerns came to a head this week when one of the newest Democratic stars appeared to threaten colleagues who would not toe the liberal line, raising the specter of a fracture in the party between moderates and purists, similar to a long-standing divide in the Republican Party. At a closed-door meeting of House Democrats on Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said some of her colleagues could find themselves “on a list” of primary election targets, after they voted for a Republican amendment requiring that undocumented immigrants who try to buy guns be reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to people in the room who were not authorized to comment publicly. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), a co-chairman of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, said he has confronted party leaders about such threats, which have also come from the Justice Democrats, a liberal group that backed Ocasio-Cortez’s primary campaign.

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“Being unified means ensuring that Democrats aren’t primary-ing other sitting Democrats,” Gott­heimer said. “Since when is it okay to put you on a Nixonian list? We need to have a big tent in our party or we won’t keep the House or win the White House.” Some warned that imposing purity tests could lead to a Democratic version of the conservative tea party revolt that transformed the GOP in recent years. That surge has brought Republicans new energy and new voters, but it’s also cost the GOP some congressional races and legislative victories. Several Democratic presidential candidates, including many of the early entrants, have quickly endorsed sweeping liberal policies, including a Medicare-for-all health plan, a “Green New Deal” to combat climate change, and reparations for African Americans. Recently, however, some prospective candidates have been offering an alternative vision. Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), who is contemplating a presidential run, said U.S. politics needs to return to a more civil place. He referred to the House Freedom Caucus, a group of purist Republicans that often opposes legislative compromises. “We don’t have to settle for disgraceful politics. We don’t have to settle for being as terrible as Donald Trump,” Bennet said during a visit to Iowa on Feb. 21. “We don’t have to settle for Freedom Caucus tactics — those guys are tyrants. We don’t have to accept that.” Liberal Democrats, including many new to Capitol Hill or national politics, argue that the party has been too timid, caving to Republican pressure and failing to inspire voters with calls for sweeping change. The surge of new voters in the midterm elections, they say, shows the excitement and support generated by such proposals. The centrists counter that liberal ideas and candidates have more power online and among the grass roots than at the ballot box and that the passions will probably fade in coming months, both in Congress and the presidential campaign. John Anzalone, an Alabama-based Democratic pollster, said the perception that the party’s primary voters are enthusiastically liberal is not based on data. “There is, without a doubt, a myth that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez somehow represents the narrative of Democratic primary voters in the country,” Anzalone said. “Almost half of them identify themselves as moderates or conservative.” That appears to be at least somewhat borne out by the midterms, when less-ideological candidates often won when facing purist opponents. Thirty-three of the 40 GOP seats that Democrats picked up were won by candidates who had been endorsed by the moderate NewDem PAC. A November Gallup poll found a pragmatic streak in the party — 54 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents wanted the party to become “more moderate,” while only 41 percent wanted it to be more liberal. That contrasted with the Republicans and their allies, 57 percent of whom wanted a more conservative party. The centrists do not necessarily argue that the ideologues are wrong but that purity comes at the price of progress. That lesson, said Matt Bennett, a spokesman for the moderate think tank Third Way, is now on display in the House — which just this week held a blockbuster hearing featuring Trump’s former personal lawyer and passed the first significant gun-control bill in a generation. “Without the people who flipped seats, there is no Speaker Pelosi, there is no Michael Cohen hearing, there is no background-check bill — there is only misery and Republican rule,” he said. “No one in the Democratic Party should be doing anything to jeopardize those seats. No one.” For her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been treading carefully — sidelining the most sweeping liberal proposals, playing down prospects of a Trump impeachment and scheduling weekly meetings to bring together leaders of the moderate and liberal factions. Thursday’s meeting threatened to open a new breach. After 26 Democratic moderates joined with Republicans to pass an amendment on a key gun-control bill, Pelosi said they should show more “courage” on politically sensitive votes, according to the people in the room. That struck some as tone deaf, as did Ocasio-Cortez’s comments about primary challenges. Ocasio-Cortez in a tweet Friday said she was not making threats but warning that the Democratic defectors “were inadvertently making a list of targets for the GOP and for progressive advocates” by voting with Republicans.

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The eruption followed weeks of growing tension between wings of the party. Freshmen who were elected on platforms of cleaning up big-money politics and fixing the heath-care system have found themselves voting on, and answering for, a different set of issues, and some are feeling the heat from their constituents. “A lot of people are complaining and expressing concerns about the Democratic Party being portrayed as socialist, or certain voices being louder than others,” said Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who unseated a GOP incumbent in a suburban Minneapolis district. The new liberal energy in the House is coming from candidates, including Ocasio-Cortez, who captured districts that generally favor Democrats. Some party strategists say liberal activists must recognize that their message would not work in more conservative areas. “People would be wise to remember that, by definition, we have the House majority because people flipped seats from red to blue,” said Tyler Law, a Democratic consultant who helped direct the party’s communications efforts in 2018. “Seats that went from blue to blue did not deliver the majority.” The Democratic presidential primary contest, meanwhile, has so far been dominated by candidates pushing sweeping liberal policies. But several prospective candidates have begun warning against an overly aggressive liberal platform. At a house party last month in Waterloo, Iowa, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who is exploring a run for the White House, was confronted by an activist who demanded that he support Medicare-for-all, rather than his current proposal to lower the age of Medicare eligibility. Brown said that’s not realistic. “My ideology says universal coverage today — just like yours does — but I want to make people’s lives better,” Brown responded, as he stood near the fireplace in a packed living room. “I know Congress won’t pass Medicare-for-all.” Over the coming weeks, a second wave of candidates could adopt a line closer to Brown’s. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe have all been preparing campaigns that would promise an ability to win over Trump voters. Each has been crafting campaign plans based on polling that shows an enormous appetite among Democratic-leaning voters for anyone who can defeat Trump, even if they do not hew to strict liberal policies. “You can be very progressive, liberal and left and also want to elect people to get things done,” said Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who is advising Hickenlooper. “Primary voters are very comfortable holding both of those things at the same time. They don’t see it as either-or.” In the House, moderates like Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) have been speaking up more about the merits of their approach, which tends to attract smaller audiences on Instagram and Twitter. “There are a lot of people that suck up a lot of oxygen,” Schrader said. “And then there’s the people that do the work. . . . We’re the ones who actually govern and make things happen. And I think we’re content with that.”
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Even Bill Gates Is Fed Up With Ocasio-Cortez: She’s ‘Missing The Picture’

Postby smix » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:00 am

Even Bill Gates Is Fed Up With Ocasio-Cortez: She’s ‘Missing The Picture’
Daily Wire

URL: https://www.dailywire.com/news/43372/ev ... -paul-bois
Category: Politics
Published: February 12, 2019

Description: "You’re missing the picture."
The Democratic Party establishment seems to have had enough of freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez (D-NY). Now, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is taking swipes at her. In an interview on a podcast at tech website The Verge, the famous billionaire said that the tax proposals laid out by Ocasio-Cortez — 70% for everyone above $10 million – misses the big picture. According to Gates, there exists a difference between the government running efficient programs and taxing people into oblivion. "Certainly, the idea of government being more effective in terms of how it runs education or social programs, there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement there," Gates said in the podcast, according to Fox News. "In terms of revenue collection, you wouldn’t want to just focus on the ordinary income rate, because people who are wealthy have a rounding error of ordinary income." He continued: "They have income that just is the value of their stock, which if they don’t sell it, it doesn’t show up as income at all, or if it shows up, it shows over in the capital gains side. So the ability of hedge fund people, various people — they aren’t paying that ordinary income rate." "The one thing that never gets much press — the IRS shows the statistics for the top 400 people of the highest income and the rate they pay. Anyway, you should look at that. It’s about a 20 percent rate, so it has nothing to do with the 39.6 marginal ordinary income rate. So it’s a misfocus. If you focus on that, you’re missing the picture." The Microsoft co-founder went on to say that the tax plans proposed by the likes of Ocasio-Cortez would have a negative effect by creating tax dodging schemes, causing "income to show up in other countries and things." Though Gates does propose a "more progressive" tax rate, he thinks it should not stifle income generation. "We can be more progressive without really threatening income generation — what you have left to decide how to spread around," Gates said. The billionaire's condemnation of Ocasio-Cortez follows several other establishment-oriented Democrtic figures who have begun distancing themselves from her democratic socialism. According to Politico, several Democratic lawmakers have been working to rein her in. "Some lawmakers with ties to Ocasio-Cortez are hoping to coax her into using her star power to unite Democrats and turn her fire on Republicans," reports Politico. "Others simultaneously warn Ocasio-Cortez is destined for a lonely, ineffectual career in Congress if she continues to treat her own party as the enemy." "Incumbent Democrats are most annoyed by Ocasio-Cortez’s threat to back primary opponents against members of their ranks she deems too moderate," the report continued. "But their frustration goes beyond that: Democratic leaders are upset that she railed against their new set of House rules on Twitter the first week of the new Congress. Rank and file are peeved that there’s a grassroots movement to try to win her a top committee post they feel she doesn’t deserve."
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How the Democrats Went Nuts in Three Months

Postby smix » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:13 am

How the Democrats Went Nuts in Three Months
National Review

URL: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/02/ ... ee-months/
Category: Politics
Published: February 15, 2019

Description: As centrists, they would clean up in 2020, but instead, it’s leftward ho!
The Democrats swept to power in Congress by campaigning in a way that has been successful for Democrats for generations. “Republicans will take away your health care,” they said, after having focus-grouped it. Now we are preparing for a 2020 campaign in which Donald Trump and Republicans can as easily advertise to the public: “Democrats will take away cows, and your car.” What happened to Democrats? Back in November, it looked like Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic House caucus had found the perfect plan for their party in the era of Trump: Avoid talking about impeachment and stick to simple bread-and-butter issues. Don’t tell swing voters that they are deplorable for having supported Donald Trump, instead, promise to protect the most popular features of Obamacare. Also, remind voters that Republicans cut taxes for the rich. Except for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who ran in a deep-blue district, most of the boundary-pushing progressive candidates lost their elections. All signs pointed to the idea that Democrats just had to be the normal party, and the upper Midwest would snap back in 2020. But progressives have decided to push the envelope anyway. Fearing a conservative majority on the Supreme Court, blue states such as New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia set about passing expanded legal protections for various later-term abortions. This led to the governor of Virginia’s unforgettable discussion about providing “comfort” to a child born out of a botched abortion before “a decision” is made about whether that child should live or be made to die. The presidential campaign’s beginning has also involved a giant lurch to the left. Bernie Sanders consistently scores as the second-most popular candidate, and his competitors are trying to outbid him on the left. And so half of them have rushed to co-sponsor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s non-binding resolution proposing a “Green New Deal” that promises to upgrade every building and vehicle to renewable energy and remake America as a Nordic social democracy in the bargain. This is an absolute coup for Ocasio-Cortez and for the activists and advisers that have flocked to her. The Green New Deal was, until very very recently, talked about only in small policy groups led Democratic Socialists of America.

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Now leading candidates for the presidency are trying to adopt it as their own agenda. However, it is also very likely a misreading of the electorate and the progressive outlook. Bernie Sanders is a man of the left, but his policy program and even his persona are in many ways nostalgic. They are the realization of a mid-20th-century version of liberalism. Sanders is still willing to say that open borders is a plutocrat’s agenda, not the penance America must perform for its cultural sins. The Sanders agenda would increase taxes, but his primary goal is to deliver more services to Americans, not try to bully them with regulation and progressive nudges into ditching their cars, moving to cities and giving up meat. It should be easy for Democrats to run against a president with Donald Trump’s approval ratings and his mixed record of accomplishments. Nancy Pelosi seems to understand how easy it should be. If their message is “We’ll protect and enhance the features of American life that you love,” they can win. But Democrats are overreaching before they’re even in power. They’re announcing that the lifestyle of the deplorables must be targeted for destruction. Until they recover their sense, Republicans will rally.



There Is No Green New Deal
National Review

URL: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/02/ ... -new-deal/
Category: Politics
Published: February 12, 2019

Description: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can name her work as she sees fit, but it’s in no way a ‘plan’ or a ‘program.’ It’s a wish list.
What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has thrust upon our national conversation is not, in any sense, a “Green New Deal.” It does not resemble a Green New Deal. It does not approximate a Green New Deal. It does not so much as represent the shadows or the framework or the embryo of a Green New Deal. It is, instead, the inchoate shopping list of a political novice who has managed to get herself elected to Congress and believes that this has turned her into a visionary. As is her prerogative, Ocasio-Cortez can name her work as she sees fit. But her document is in no manner a “plan.” It is in no context a “program.” It is in no way an “approach.” It is not an outline, a manifesto, a statement, or a catechism. It is, rather, an all-compassing wish list — an untrammeled Dear Santa letter without form, purpose, borders, or basis in reality. It is not even “green,” except in that peculiar, mind-wrecking way that “intersectionality” seeks to make everything part of everything else, and thus leads to Planned Parenthood insisting that “Net Neutrality is reproductive justice” and to the Democratic Socialists of America proclaiming that we can’t possibly fix our algae problems until we institute union card check. Debates over the minutiae may fill the hours on cable news, but it does not, in fact, much matter whether the FAQ had been perfectly edited before release, or whether the PDF had been appropriately updated by its author, or whether the language in section 2, subsection 5 had been properly reviewed by the committee. It does not matter, either, whether Ocasio-Cortez eventually manages to get half the press corps or all of the press corps to cover for her disingenuousness. FAQ or not, the work deserves no serious evaluation beyond grim, derisive laughter. Clearly panicked by what Ocasio-Cortez was doing to her nascent majority’s agenda, Speaker Pelosi described the document disparagingly as a “green dream.” Tangerine Dream would have been closer to the mark. But Edgar Froese had talent. At Waco, the authorities agreed to a cease-fire so that David Koresh could finish his “book” — the contents of which, a thorough “decoding of the Seven Seals” of Revelation, would be dictated to him by God. Next to Ocasio-Cortez’s work, what Koresh bashed out onto his floppy disk resembles the finest theology of Aquinas. Quite what has possessed a 28-year-old, unmarried, childless bartender to consider herself capable of redesigning the entire world within a decade remains steadfastly unclear.

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Indeed, it does not seem to have occurred to either Ocasio-Cortez or to the more experienced politicians who have willingly become her disciples that they are endorsing a revolutionary screed penned by a person who has never so much as dealt directly with a local school board. At this point in her life, Ocasio-Cortez has no experience of anything much at all. She has no history of business ownership; she boasts no military service; she exhibits no vocational skills; she has raised no children; she has not dealt seriously with a zoning committee or a regulatory agency or a union boss; she has not written, amended, or influenced a single alteration to the legal regime under which we live. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with this state of affairs. To each his own, and good luck to all. But Jeffrey Lebowski did not fancy himself as Lenin. Emerging from the two-year coma that our president’s pernicious ubiquity has induced, the Democratic party is having a tough time of late. There is a considerable difference between how policy ideas sound behind closed doors and how policy ideas sound when spoken aloud in a vast, boisterous, recalcitrant republic — a difference that has clearly surprised those who were unaware that, Trump or no Trump, there is still no great appetite in America for post-birth abortion, for the abolition of private health insurance, or for breezy anti-Semitism masquerading as authenticity, and that there is likely to be even less enthusiasm for rebuilding every structure in America, or for phasing out airplanes, or for destroying our current sources of energy while ruling out the only reliable alternatives.

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Having returned from the wilderness, the savvier among the Left’s insurgent politicians grasped quickly that they were digging themselves into a hole and moderated their language accordingly. But Ocasio-Cortez, who suffers from the same auto-immune deficiency as Roy Moore, Steve King, and Ilhan Omar, has made no such adjustment. Egged on by a sizable coterie of fanatical cheerleaders, and inspired by her unassailable self-confidence, Ocasio-Cortez has come to see herself as a general fighting a war, and to regard those who criticize her even mildly as saboteurs, malignant interests, or unimaginative has-beens of the Age she was sent to vanquish. The exit from the dream will be a sour one.



The New, Angrier Socialism
National Review

URL: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/02/ ... roponents/
Category: Politics
Published: February 17, 2019

Description: Socialism is more frequently praised than defined by its advocates.
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!” — Karl Marx

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Norman Thomas was not easily discouraged. Running for president in 1932, three years into the shattering, terrifying Depression, which seemed to many to be a systemic crisis of capitalism, Thomas, who had been the Socialist Party’s candidate in 1928 and would be in 1936, 1940, 1944, and 1948, received, as this column previously noted, fewer votes (884,885) than Eugene Debs had won (913,693) as the party’s candidate in 1920, when, thanks to the wartime hysteria President Woodrow Wilson had fomented, Debs was in jail. In 1962, Michael Harrington, a founder of the Democratic Socialists of America (it succumbed to a familiar phenomenon: Two American socialists = three factions), published The Other America. It supposedly kindled President John Kennedy’s interest in poverty, which had not escaped his attention while campaigning in West Virginia’s primary. Harrington, like “democratic socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders today, thought socialism should be advanced through the Democratic party. Today, socialism has new, angrier advocates. Speaking well of it gives the speaker the frisson of being naughty and the fun of provoking Republicans like those whose hosannas rattled the rafters when the president vowed that America would never become socialist. Socialism is, however, more frequently praised than defined because it has become a classification that no longer classifies. So, a president who promiscuously wields government power to influence the allocation of capital (e.g., bossing around Carrier even before he was inaugurated; using protectionism to pick industrial winners and losers) can preen as capitalism’s defender against socialists who, like the Bolsheviks, would storm America’s Winter Palace if America had one. Time was, socialism meant thorough collectivism: state ownership of the means of production (including arable land), distribution, and exchange. When this did not go swimmingly where it was first tried, Lenin said (in 1922) that socialism meant government ownership of the economy’s “commanding heights” — big entities. After many subsequent dilutions, today’s watery conceptions of socialism amount to this: Almost everyone will be nice to almost everyone, using money taken from a few. This means having government distribute, according to its conception of equity, the wealth produced by capitalism. This conception is shaped by muscular factions: the elderly, government employees unions, the steel industry, the sugar growers, and so on and on and on. Some wealth is distributed to the poor; most goes to the “neglected” middle class. Some neglect: The political class talks of little else. Two-thirds of the federal budget (and 14 percent of GDP) goes to transfer payments, mostly to the non-poor. The U.S. economy’s health-care sector (about 18 percent of the economy) is larger than the economies of all but three nations, and is permeated by government money and mandates. Before the Affordable Care Act was enacted, 40 cents of every health-care dollar was government’s 40 cents. The sturdy yeomanry who till America’s soil? Last year’s 529-page Agriculture Improvement Act will be administered by the Agriculture Department, which has about one employee for every 20 American farms. Socialists favor a steeply progressive income tax, as did those who created today’s: The top 1 percent pay 40 percent of taxes; the bottom 50 percent pay only 3 percent; 50 percent of households pay either no income tax or 10 percent or less of their income. Law professor Richard Epstein notes that in the last 35 years the fraction of total taxes paid by the lower 90 percent has shrunk from more than 50 percent to about 35 percent. In his volume in the Oxford History of the United States (The Republic for Which It Stands) covering 1865–1896, Stanford’s Richard White says that John Bates Clark, the leading economist of that era, said “true socialism” is “economic republicanism,” which meant more cooperation and less individualism. Others saw socialism as “a system of social ethics.” All was vagueness.

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Today’s angrier socialists rail, with specificity and some justification, against today’s “rigged” system of government in the service of the strong. But as the Hoover Institution’s John H. Cochrane (a.k.a. the Grumpy Economist) says, “If the central problem is rent-seeking, abuse of the power of the state, to deliver economic goods to the wealthy and politically powerful, how in the world is more government the answer?” The “boldness” of today’s explicit and implicit socialists — taxing the “rich” — is a perennial temptation of democracy: inciting the majority to attack an unpopular minority. This is socialism now: From each faction according to its vulnerability, to each faction according to its ability to confiscate.
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AOC and the Democratic Party’s far-left, socialist shift

Postby smix » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:30 pm

AOC and the Democratic Party’s far-left, socialist shift
Orange County Register

URL: https://www.ocregister.com/2019/02/12/a ... ist-shift/
Category: Politics
Published: February 12, 2019

Description: Nov. 2017 Gallup poll: “58 percent of millennials prefer socialism/communism/fascism over capitalist system.”
Politico (2017): “Poll finds majority of Democrats say socialism has positive impact.”
It seems the party of John F. Kennedy would not even consider nominating him these days. It has moved so far left that even JFK’s “A rising tide lifts all boats” speech would be booed by the new Democrat Party as a capitalist statement. We know now that modern-day “progressives” are just rebranded Marxists or, best case, socialists. And we are again seeing how socialism plays out in a rich nation like Venezuela. After not letting his duly elected opponent take power, using the might of the central government’s military President Maduro’s strong-arm tactics prevail, as they always do in socialist/Marxist countries. As the people starve, inflation rages and chaos escalates, the U.S. is trying to help Maduro’s duly elected opposition leader, Juan Guido. It is not a good sign when Maduro’s opponent returns a call from the U.S. from inside the trunk of a 1978 Datsun. Lenin said, “The goal of socialism is communism.” In that quote, the “Father of Soviet Communism” acknowledged that totalitarian rule is so disgusting to people in free and prosperous capitalist nations that it must be quietly slipped into those societies in bits and pieces over time. It is through that incremental process that socialism serves as an under-the-radar, transitional gateway to the inevitable oppression: communism. The immigration debate is at the center of our country’s pivotal moment. The premise of the new “AOC” (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) progressive wing of the Democrat Party is that the U.S.A. is a mean, misogynistic, hate-filled, racist, white-privileged and exploitative country. They want to welcome as many illegal immigrants as possible to our shores to enjoy this wonderful country.

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One has to wonder. When Elizabeth Warren tell us that there is such white privilege in America, why did she pretend to be a minority Native American to advance her academic career? We saw the hypocrisy of the left in Virginia when racist white Democrats failed to be honest about blackface pictures from their past. Virginia Governor Northam said he put on blackface and moonwalked. He was just one step away from moonwalking at his press conference when he was stopped by his smart(er) spouse. Maybe “moonwalking” should replace the donkey as the Democrats’ mascot. Moonwalking best describes their devastating policies, where they make it appear they are walking forward (progressing), yet in reality they are moving backward. The “Green New Deal” proposed by AOC and Senator Markey (D-MA) is a naïve and idiotic move toward total government control. Some of the gems in this resolution:
1. No more meat.
2. No more airplane travel, few cars, only train travel (bad news for Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii who signed on; I’m not sure she thought that one through).
3. Free jobs for those who want to work, and income for those who do not want to work.
4. Taxes as high as 70% on those who do choose to be productive. Then they are taxed again on assets and when they die.
If they pass this, Democrats will have to build a wall to keep productive people IN the country. So what happens when AOC walk into a bar? It’s lowered. The childish notion that government can solve any problem in twelve years (because that is when AOC says the world will end), is stupid. Government never solves anything. We still have troops in Germany, Japan and Korea. Finger wagging and virtue signaling are the new Democrats’ go-to moves for attention and advancement in their party. Never mind that their ideas will not work, nor have they ever worked when tried in the history of mankind, yet they always fall like candy on the tongues of the gullible. Straight from being a bartender, AOC has only been in Congress for a couple of months and she already has her picture on the Cuban one dollar bill. To achieve their agenda, the Dems must convict Trump of manufactured crimes with their deep-state friends. Their narrative is that the GOP loves the Russian communists now; the Democrats are Middle East war hawks and deficit cutters. It is like a football game where they switched sides at halftime. The new left of the Democrat party will not win with such unreasonable arguments. And they will not stop Trump. But libs can take comfort in that California liberated the world from plastic straws.
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Democrats: Too far left to keep public support?

Postby smix » Tue Feb 19, 2019 10:22 pm

Democrats: Too far left to keep public support?
The Journal Gazette

URL: http://www.journalgazette.net/news/poli ... ic-support
Category: Politics
Published: February 16, 2019

Description: WASHINGTON – What is happening to the Democrats? Captivated by a handful of liberal superstars, they are venturing where the party has long feared to tread: Steep taxes on the rich. Abolishing an immigration enforcement agency. Proposing “economic transformation” to combat climate change. Gleefully waving goodbye to a big business – and its jobs. On Thursday, newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led a chorus of cheers as Amazon announced it was abandoning plans to build a sought-after headquarters in New York City. Activists berated the online giant for a $3 billion package of tax breaks she said the city could better invest in hiring teachers or fixing the subway. This is not the Democratic Party of yesteryear. Or even last year. “The Amazon New York fight is an illustration of how power is moving to the left,” said Ben Wikler, of the liberal group MoveOn. “One of the world's most powerful organizations doesn't want to pick a fight with progressive activists.” As the liberal flank celebrates its sudden ascendance in the party, energized by the new House freshmen pushing the party toward bold policy solutions, others wonder whether the Democrats are veering so far left they're about to fall off a cliff. Matt Bennett, vice president of Third Way, a center-left think tank, says the leftward drift “could be trouble” if Democrats aren't offering a vision of the country that speaks to ordinary voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election. “Bashing Amazon will get you cheers in precincts in the left and online, but that seems bananas to most people who think it would be good to work at a job that pays well,” Bennett said. “The risk is that the eventual nominee goes too far during this primary process and becomes hard to support for a lot of people who might be interested in getting rid of (President Donald) Trump.” It's a valid debate ahead of a presidential primary season with an unusually robust roster of contenders trying to wrest the White House from Trump. The race comes at a time of shifting party loyalties and eroding confidence in traditional corridors of power, a dynamic that has recast the policy prescriptions of both parties. The big questions for 2020: Will Democrats move beyond the center-left policies that have dominated the party since Bill Clinton's presidency? And if so, will they find the electorate is repelled, as Republicans claim, or will they discover that a country long described as “center-right” is receptive to a return to liberalism? Democratic pollster John Anzalone said the leftward lurch that's playing out in the Amazon fight wouldn't necessarily hurt the party heading into 2020 and could resonate with voters. “When you're doing corporate giveaways, whether for a big company or a sports team, it's not as cut-and-dry as most people think,” Anzalone said. “The fact is there tends to be a belief that these big corporations have a lot of money and use their power to get deals they don't need.” Liberals eyeing the White House in 2020 weighed in. “Our job is to end the race to the bottom where taxpayers in one city or state are forced to bid against each other for desperately needed jobs. This is what the rigged economy is all about,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a statement. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted: “One of the wealthiest companies on the planet – just walked away from billions in taxpayer bribes, all because some elected officials in New York aren't sucking up to them enough. How long will we allow giant corporations to hold our democracy hostage?” And New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Walking away so quickly shows that Amazon was interested in the taxpayer assistance and not being a good neighbor in Queens hiring the greatest workers in the world.” As liberal activists across the country welcomed Amazon's decision as a fresh demonstration of the increasing power of the Democratic Party's far-left wing, Republicans used the situation to cast the modern-day Democratic Party as extreme. Following Trump's lead, they pepper their speeches with claims that Democrats are veering toward socialism. “Now, thousands of #New Yorkers will be deprived of good paying jobs at #amazon because of socialists like @AOC – and unfortunately the promise of a #greenjob won't pay the bills,” former Trump aide Sean Spicer said on Twitter. In New York, Democratic Sen. Todd Kaminsky of Long Island issued a formal “invitation” to the company to relocate to Nassau County. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of Republican leadership, said, “It is so interesting to watch this very hard left turn that the Democrat party has taken. To me, this is just so extreme.”
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As 2020 candidates turn left, some Democrats worry about the center

Postby smix » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:43 pm

As 2020 candidates turn left, some Democrats worry about the center
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1QC0BM
Category: Politics
Published: February 23, 2019

Description: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Liberal Democratic presidential contenders’ rush to embrace the left’s most ambitious proposals has some Democrats worried there could be a price to pay when they try to defeat President Donald Trump next year. Party activists have been energized as Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and other candidates endorsed plans to provide Medicare coverage to every American, some form of tuition-free college, a national $15 minimum wage and the so-called “Green New Deal” advocated by U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But Trump and his allies in the Republican Party have seized on those stances to attack the Democratic 2020 field as outside the American political mainstream — a claim the president plans to make throughout his re-election campaign, according to sources with knowledge of his strategy. Some Democrats fear the argument has potency. They worry the primary may produce a nominee who will not appeal to centrist working and middle-class voters who voted for Trump in 2016 but whom Democrats believe they can win back. “The big progressive programs are popular in a caucus or primary electorate, but probably don’t move the needle among voters who want to find someone who will change Washington by tilting the system to favor people in the middle — not the very rich or the very poor,” said Jeff Link, an Iowa Democrat who worked for former President Barack Obama’s campaign. A person familiar with the president’s thinking told Reuters that Trump had been looking for a “big contrast issue” to help power his 2020 bid. His last Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, was widely known to the voting public before her campaign. This time, Trump may face someone new to the national stage, and he is looking to brand that candidate before she or he emerges as the nominee. In recent speeches, including his State of the Union address and again this week in Florida, a key 2020 battleground, Trump used the crisis in Venezuela to equate Democrats with socialists. “There’s no question this is a deliberate strategy on his part,” said Matt Bennett, a political analyst with Third Way, a Democratic centrist think-tank. “It is a bit scary to think about what it could do to us in a close, tough election next year.”
GOING GREEN
Democrats have already seen the risks of catering to progressives. Senators Booker of New Jersey, Harris of California, Gillibrand of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts almost immediately backed Ocasio-Cortez’s push earlier this month for the Green New Deal, a sweeping 10-year blueprint for combating climate change that involves reducing carbon emissions and retrofitting infrastructure. Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic socialist who announced this week he is running for president a second time, plans to introduce his own version of the climate plan. Ocasio-Cortez, who has enjoyed disproportionate influence for a first-term congresswoman because of her social media presence, was forced to backtrack when an information sheet contained policy goals not in the plan, including doing away with nuclear power and airplanes and providing income to Americans “unwilling to work.” That didn’t stop Trump and other Republicans from treating those goals as fact, suggesting that Democrats want to destroy air travel and expand the welfare rolls. Republicans also jumped on Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to hike the marginal tax rate to 70 percent as a way to finance her environmental initiative. Even so, Warren followed by suggesting a “wealth tax” on Americans with large fortunes to help finance her child-care plan. Democrats are “afraid to tell their base what is practical” and instead are offering policies that have little chance of being enacted, said Bryan Lanza, a former campaign aide to Trump who regularly defends the president on cable news. Recent Democratic presidential nominees such as Clinton, Obama and John Kerry ran as centrists. This is the first election in the modern era, Lanza said, in which progressives “are sucking up all the oxygen and energy.” Democrats as a whole, however, have been moving in a more leftward direction for years. According to Gallup polling, the number of Democrats who identify themselves as “liberal” has risen from 32 percent in 2001 to 46 percent as of 2018. That shift has largely been among white, highly educated Democrats. African-American and Hispanic voters remain more moderate — which could present a challenge as the party tries to mobilize those groups to vote in greater numbers. So far, the moderate wing of the party is under-represented in the 2020 field. Some Democratic strategists are concerned the party did not heed the lesson from last year’s congressional elections, when it took power in the U.S. House of Representatives largely through moderate candidates who won over suburban voters by focusing on “kitchen-table” issues such as coverage for preexisting medical conditions. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is one of the few Democrats in the presidential field to push back at the progressive agenda. At a CNN town hall this week, she called the Green New Deal “aspirational” and suggested Medicare for all was only a potential long-term goal. John Delaney, a former Maryland congressman and a centrist who has gotten little traction as a presidential contender, this week said the 2020 primary “is going to be a choice between socialism and a more just form of capitalism.” Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist in the early primary state of South Carolina, said candidates must soon balance sweeping agendas with more pragmatic proposals. “It has to be a mixed bag of what makes sense and will not cause us long-term political damage,’ he said.



U.S. House Democrats introduce sweeping 'Medicare for All' bill
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1QF2TA
Category: Politics
Published: February 26, 2019

Description: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled an ambitious proposal on Tuesday to move all Americans into the government’s Medicare health insurance program, tapping into public frustration over the rising cost of healthcare that has become a key issue for the party as it seeks to gain control of Congress and the White House in 2020. The bill, unveiled by Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal from Washington state, would transition the U.S. healthcare system to a single-payer “Medicare for All” program funded by the government in two years. The legislation is the party’s most high-profile and ambitious single-payer proposal in the new Congress and has more than 100 co-sponsors, many from the party’s progressive flank. It is unlikely to gain the support of any Republicans in the House or the Senate, who have derided single-payer healthcare as a socialist policy and oppose government interference in healthcare. It also remains unclear whether Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bring the legislation up for a vote. “Americans are literally dying because they can’t afford insulin or they can’t get the cancer treatment they need,” Jayapal said on a call with reporters on Tuesday. “There are some things that should not be provided through the for-profit market.” Medicare currently serves about 60 million Americans who are age 65 or older, or disabled. Jayapal’s legislation would eliminate the age threshold. The new Medicare would not require any beneficiaries to pay premiums or deductibles and would not charge patients co-pays or out-of-pocket costs after receiving care. It does not include new or increased taxes or other additional revenues to pay for the healthcare overhaul. Jayapal said possible ways to pay for the bill include a tax on millionaires and billionaires, employer premiums and closing tax loopholes for the wealthy. The idea of Medicare for All was first proposed by Independent Bernie Sanders in 2017 as a single-payer system that would largely replace private insurance. It gained traction among Democrats running for congressional office in 2018, and is now a central campaign issue for party members vying for the 2020 presidential nomination. A Reuters/IPSOS poll in August found that 70 percent of Americans support some sort of single-payer system. The health industry has opposed single-payer proposals, saying they would ultimately lead to less access to care. Critics include the American Hospital Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the health insurance industry’s biggest trade group. “This bill will hurt patients, consumers, and taxpayers: Americans will pay more, to wait longer, for worse care,” AHIP said in a statement. “Let’s focus on real solutions that deliver real results, not a one-size-fits-all government system.” The House proposal unveiled on Tuesday would not eliminate private health insurance entirely, as it would allow patients to purchase supplemental coverage. Many Americans under the age of 65 rely on private insurance provided by their employer. A single-payer system is variously understood as one in which the government pays for healthcare for more people, or one where the governments owns health services providers and manages all aspects of care, such as in the United Kingdom. Several U.S. Democratic lawmakers have introduced different versions of expanded Medicare, such as allowing people aged 50 and older to buy into the program. The new House proposal would cover most aspects of patients’ care, including primary care, hospital and outpatient services, prescription drugs, dental, vision, audiology, women’s reproductive health services, maternity and newborn care.



Liberal group squares off with U.S. Democratic leadership over challenging incumbents
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1RH2FA
Category: Politics
Published: April 5, 2019

Description: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The grassroots group that helped propel U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into Congress is taking on Democratic party leaders over what critics call an effort to deter liberal candidates from running against more moderate incumbents. Justice Democrats debuted a new website late Thursday to help progressive primary challengers get the communications, advertising and digital resources they need to mount campaigns for the 2020 congressional elections. The announcement was a direct challenge to the party’s official campaign arm, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Last month, the DCCC said it would not do business with political consultants and firms that help candidates challenging Democratic members of Congress next year. Ocasio-Cortez shocked the Democratic establishment last year with a primary challenge that ousted a senior Democrat, Representative Joe Crowley. The DCCC policy, which party aides say codifies a long-time informal arrangement, could make it harder for political newcomers to attract top political consulting talent. Justice Democrats denounced the policy as “bullying” and said it was launching DCCCBlacklist.com to fight back. “We’re building a network of alternative infrastructure to help progressive candidates find a path to Congress and create a Democratic Party that fights for its voters, not big corporate donors,” Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats, said in a statement. Justice Democrats are trying to recruit liberal upstarts for 2020 after the success of candidates such as Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, another freshman congresswoman who beat an incumbent Democrat in 2018. Both women denounced the DCCC policy on Twitter, with Pressley saying it risked undermining “an entire universe of potential candidates and vendors - especially women and people of color - whose ideas, energy, and innovation need a place in our party.”
DCCC NOT BACKING DOWN
The DCCC, currently led by Representative Cheri Bustos, spent $84.5 million in the 2018 election cycle on services such as research, polling and advertising for Democratic campaigns. Bustos has met with House members concerned about the DCCC policy adopted last month, but she has not backed down. Democratic aides said there is no ideological test to the policy; the goal is to protect sitting members of Congress. DCCC spokesman Cole Leiter said on Friday the “transparent policy” follows through on Bustos’ promise to “protect every member of the most diverse caucus in congressional history as we work to defend and grow our Democratic majority.” Bustos, whose Illinois district voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election, is a leader among Democratic moderates, having advised many of them last year on how to flip Republican districts. Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in November. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer supports the DCCC policy, a spokeswoman said. “The DCCC’s mission is to protect incumbents and expand our majority, and it is reasonable to expect that member dues are used for that purpose,” she said. The first 2020 target for Justice Democrats is Representative Henry Cuellar. The seven-term congressman from Texas is one of the more conservative Democrats in the House. Cuellar’s campaign manager Colin Strother mocked the progressive political organization’s criticism of the DCCC. “It’s a very entitled world view ... to think that you can take on incumbent members in good standing, and then still get business with the DCCC,” he said.
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The Democrats’ Socialist Gene

Postby smix » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:52 pm

The Democrats’ Socialist Gene
The Wall Street Journal

URL: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-democr ... 1550705712
Category: Politics
Published: February 20, 2019

Description: Kamala Harris says, “I am not a democratic socialist.” She should take a DNA test.

kamala-medicare-for-all.jpg

How did the Democratic Party move so far left so fast? No convention, retreat or caucus was held to designate Medicare for All, tippy-top tax rates, arcane identity litmus tests, free college tuition or a Green New Deal as Democratic dogma, but here we are. So far every major Democrat who has declared for the presidency—Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard—has felt obliged at least to genuflect in the direction of Cardinal Bernie. If in January 2015 you walked up to, say, 50 million American voters and asked them what they thought of when you said, “Bernie Sanders, ” 99.9% of them would have replied, “Nothing.” If in early 2018, you had done the same thing with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, same answer—nada. Today, the two socialists are household names. The Democratic Party belongs to them. “Bernie” is running for president again. In the beauty-contest opinion polls he is only a step behind Barack Obama’s vice president. And by the current standards of America’s political culture, AOC is a star. Science no longer believes that genes are destiny. But in politics, which no one will confuse with science, it was inevitable that the Democrats’ genetic code one day would bring them to this point—unabashedly the party of the far left. Both Republicans and Democrats have had to contend with challenges for control from the distant right and left. What primarily has kept these impulses at bay is the reality check of needing to assemble an Electoral College victory out of all the states. When the parties’ nominations have gone well right or left—Goldwater in 1964 and McGovern in 1972—they’ve usually lost by huge margins. The Republicans’ internal debates about the party’s ideas are important, but they have nothing like the street-level yeastiness of the Democrats’ struggles between traditional liberals and the left. Eugene V. Debs was the first Socialist to run for president, in 1900. Debs, who had been a Democrat, helped found the Industrial Workers of the World. In 1935, playwright Clifford Odets wrote a play called “Waiting for Lefty.” His wait is over. The Ocasio-Cortez Green New Deal is an explicit homage to FDR’s New Deal, and Nancy Pelosi understood exactly what she was doing when she called it a “green dream or whatever.” She knows it isn’t 1935. The American left went into decline after World War II, as the U.S. economy rebuilt. One can’t overstate the central role that private-sector labor unions—auto, steel, mines—played in keeping the Democrats centered. Whatever their tensions with industrial capitalism, American union leaders like George Meany, Lane Kirkland and Leonard Woodcock knew their success depended on the private sector’s success. With the private unions’ decline and the rise of public-sector unions, whose lifeblood is tax revenue, a significant brake on the party’s roll toward socialism disappeared. The Democratic left re-emerged in the 1960s and ’70s, pushing the party outside political and cultural norms with street protests, antiwar marches and “occupations” of universities. Left-wing academics in those years not only began to develop the theories of gender, sex, race and identity that today animate core liberal beliefs, but they also drove out dissenting professors, mostly conservatives, who might have challenged those ideas. Without a rigorous opposition, these left-wing theories descended into intellectual gobbledygook like “intersectionality.” It is no accident that the Democratic Party is represented today by the millennial goofiness of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez or the smiling anti-Semite, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Nor is it an accident that the Democrats are embracing ideas untethered to proofs or logic such as the Green New Deal, free college and pre-1960s income-tax rates. Mr. Obama is a central figure in this story. He held the door open for the socialists with his endless speeches about “the wealthiest” and “the 1%.” Arguably Mr. Obama was our first Pop Marxist president, obsessed with class issues. Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat was the best thing that has happened to the Democratic left in the entire postwar period. She stood for what remained of the respectable administrative-state intellectuals who had worked for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Nudge economics and all that. The left was tired of them. Mr. Sanders was in the right place at the right time. The modern left, the children of the new, no-standards university system, went gaga for Bernie’s comic-book socialism. “Medicare for All!” Bernie shouted across the land. They sent him $25 online donations by the millions. And still do. The U.S. today has a labor shortage. The workers of the U.S. can’t unite because they’ve got to go to work. What we have here is artisanal socialism, free-riding luxuriously on capitalism’s manifest success. In New Hampshire Monday, Kamala Harris said, “I am not a democratic socialist.” She should take a political DNA test. I’ll bet she is, or soon will be.



Ocasio-Cortez Is an All-American Socialist
The Wall Street Journal

URL: https://www.wsj.com/articles/ocasio-cor ... 1551225829
Category: Politics
Published: February 26, 2019

Description: She’s gone from bartender to international political star in a year. Land of opportunity, indeed!

alexandria-ocasio-cortez-bartender.jpg

As much as conservatives are aghast at the over-the-top collectivist ideas of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we cannot ignore the oversize intrigue with this young woman, who has gained instant influence and celebrity. Perhaps it is because people see her as so all-American. We are fascinated by her personal success—the way she transformed herself almost instantly from a bartender to an international political star. Yes, this self-identified Democratic Socialist is ignorant of the ways of government. She thought she would be headed to Washington in January to get “inaugurated” and that she’d “start signing” bills immediately, in a Congress with three chambers. And her policy proposals are outrageously unrealistic and expensive—$100 trillion at least—and would destroy our economy. Yet many people see the 29-year-old Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and think: If she can do this, so could I. She doesn’t come from a rich and powerful family. Her degree is from Boston University, not the Ivy League. Her Puerto Rican heritage and Bronx constituency convey cultural diversity. Her adeptness with social media lets the public follow her every move—from being knocked down on the streets of New York by an overly affectionate dog to demonstrating her skin-care regimen and even showing how she makes macaroni and cheese. And she connects personally with voters, who say things like, “Thank you for being such a positive person in my life,” “You are an inspiration to women and young girls,” and, “Do you have any advice for how I can get into politics?” “AOC” even has a familiar three-letter handle—like FDR, Ike and JFK. While millions of people agree with her radical ideas—from socialized medicine to abolishing fossil fuels—even more admire her outsize influence in the public debate, to the point that established members of Congress line up behind her and economists analyze her proposals in depth. Land of opportunity, indeed! The tragedy is that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has little regard for the system that made it possible for her to be elected to Congress, gain extraordinary influence, have access to millions of dollars to pay staff (at a “living wage” of at least $52,000 a year, so generous is she with taxpayer money), and now with a standard of living far above what her old job could have provided. She leads a generation of young people to take pride in their ignorance—of the laws of nature, of history, of the Constitution, of the eternal battle for freedom—and still succeed. Perhaps her role in killing 25,000 Amazon jobs in New York will wake people up, or maybe it’ll be the hubris of her recent tweet: “If you don’t like the #GreenNewDeal, then come up with your own ambitious, on-scale proposal to address the global climate crisis. Until then, we’re in charge—and you’re just shouting from the cheap seats.” Ah, democracy! Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has soared because of the freedom and prosperity her policies would destroy. Our attention to her fuels her celebrity and therefore her ideas. Time to get over our fascination and move on.
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Once a Dirty Word in US Politics, Socialism is Making a Comeback Among Democrats

Postby smix » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:42 pm

Once a Dirty Word in US Politics, Socialism is Making a Comeback Among Democrats
Voice of America

URL: https://www.voanews.com/a/once-a-dirty- ... 95867.html
Category: Politics
Published: February 20, 2019

Description: WASHINGTON — For much of U.S. history, socialism was a dirty word — more of a political smear than an accurate description of someone's political ideology. Socialism typically was confused with state ownership of the means of production, communism or even totalitarian governments. Socialist Party candidates struggled to attract popular support. At the height of the socialists' popularity in 1920, Eugene V. Debs received roughly 915,000 votes in the presidential election. But socialist ideas are increasingly popular in the United States, according to recent polls, to the point where Democratic candidates seeking their party's nomination in 2020 are embracing economic, tax and social policy platforms closely allied with the socialist cause. "There's a nagging sense that we are being screwed here, that there are things that are not available to Americans that could be in a rich country like this," Dr. Richard D. Wolff, an economics professor and author of "Understanding Marxism," told VOA. "So that there are some people like (billionaire Amazon owner) Jeff Bezos ... and the rest of us can't figure out how to get our kids through their last semester of college." Some 44 million Americans carry student debt, according to Wolff's estimates — a situation that an increasing number of Democrats are addressing in their campaigns.

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During his 2016 presidential bid, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-identified Democratic Socialist, mobilized a generation of voters seeking progressive policies like free college tuition and universal health care. Though he lost the Democratic nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the popularity of his policies has forced the Democratic Party to reexamine their more mainstream policies. Even before Sanders declared his candidacy for president on Tuesday for the 2020 Democratic nomination, fellow presidential hopefuls had begun shifting further to the left with their proposals for expanded health care, tax policy and climate change. Five of the six Senate Democrats who have announced their candidacy — Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sanders — have pledged to seek "Medicare for all," once an unthinkable proposal for many Democrats because of its seemingly prohibitive high cost. Only Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has declined to endorse the concept. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump and other Republicans persistently use the term socialism to denigrate their rivals — denouncing and mocking the proposals of freshman lawmakers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a former Sanders campaign staffer. Trump recently tweeted: "I think it is very important for the Democrats to press forward with their Green New Deal. It would be great for the so-called 'Carbon Footprint' to permanently eliminate all Planes, Cars, Cows, Oil, Gas & the Military - even if no other country would do the same. Brilliant!" "America will never be a socialist nation," Trump declared in his Feb. 5 State of the Union speech. But despite the right's opposition to the concept, 57 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of socialism, according to a 2018 Gallup poll. "Definitely, Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign had a huge part in destigmatizing the word socialist," said Lial Harrison, a Philadelphia volunteer for Socialist Alternative, a nationwide chain of smaller groups that claim to "fight injustice" in local communities. "People, regular working-class people, were like, 'I need a $15 an hour minimum wage. I need Medicare for all. I need free college. I guess I'm a socialist,'" she told VOA. Since Trump's election in 2016, the Democratic Socialists of America, the leading national group of self-identifying socialists, boasts roughly 60,000 members, compared with just 5,000 in 2015, before Sanders' first presidential run.
Health care for all
Arguably the top issues for both self-identifying Democratic socialist voters and Democratic voters in general is universal health care. When Sanders introduced a Medicare for All bill in 2013, he could not get a single co-sponsor. Today, a similar bill in the House, sponsored by progressive Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington State, is expected to have over 100 signatures by the time the bill is formally introduced. Medicare for All has become a litmus test for Democratic presidential hopefuls to prove their commitment to progressive ideas, according to political analysts. "Obviously it's not the same as when Bernie was running against the miserable Clintons," Bob Muehlenkamp, a 2016 Sanders delegate and co-chair of Sanders campaign in Maryland, told VOA. "It was an easy decision for people. There are a lot of good people running," he said, referring to the large number of Democrats who have already declared their candidacy for 2020, or established exploratory committees. But despite conservative and far-right opposition to the concept, 57 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of socialism, according to a 2018 Gallup poll. There is little consensus among Americans about what socialism means for U.S. politics. Despite Republicans likening socialism to Stalinist Russia, the socialism proposed by left-wing candidates does not infringe on political freedoms, but instead advocates for increasing taxes on the rich to support policies such as universal health care, paying college tuition, and increasing the minimum wage. "Young people, particularly who didn't go through the Cold War, weren't brought up fearing that there would be a nuclear bomb dropped by the evil' Russians," Wolff said. A January Axios poll shows that Generation Z voters, those ages 18-24, actually prefer socialism (61 percent) to capitalism (41 percent). The numbers are significantly higher than the national average, of which 39 percent prefer socialism and 61 percent prefer capitalism. "Republicans ... overused the attack on people as socialist or communist or Marxist or any of the words that are used like that ... for half a century in the United States," Wolff said. "And like everything else, it doesn't get better with age. It gets stale." Many polls suggest support for socialist policies is higher than identification with the actual term socialism. For instance, a January Fox News poll found that 70 percent of registered voters support increasing taxes on families earning more than $10 million per year. "I would like for everybody to have free access to health care," Adriana Ortiz, a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania who does not identify as a socialist, told VOA. "When I turned 26, and I was taken off my mother's insurance, I went through craziness trying to just figure out the hospital systems, the medical system. And it got to the point where I don't even want to see a doctor," she said.
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New wave of Democratic socialism is dangerous: Column

Postby smix » Sat Feb 23, 2019 8:12 pm

New wave of Democratic socialism is dangerous: Column
Delmarva Daily Times

URL: https://www.delmarvanow.com/story/opini ... 942055002/
Category: Politics
Published: February 23, 2019

Description: There is a new wave of out-in-the-open socialism spreading out in the far left fringe of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately it is ill-informed, misinformed and preying on the hearts and minds of the uninformed. While the 2020 elections are almost 18 months away, we need to remember the results of the 2016 and 2018 elections. The 2016 election made us aware just how large the number is of people who want to return to the conservative and centrist way of life and regulating that life. Statistics can be made to offer proof and support of almost any argument, some statistics are irrefutable. During 2016, only a handful of counties voted Democrat, while thousands of counties voted Republican. This clearly indicates just how much of the country really wants smaller government intrusion and control in our lives. It shows that most Americans want to make their own decisions rather than have some governmental agency or bureau make those decisions. The 2018 elections clearly showed Americans just how far left the Democratic Party has gone. Many, if not most, of Democrats running during the 2018 election cycle were running on centrist platforms. As a matter of fact, in some cases it was difficult to differentiate between classic conservative candidates and the new centrist Democrat. This almost made me look at many Democrats as in the JFK Democrat mold, a look in which I grew up. However, only days after being sworn in, many of these “centrist” Democrats showed their true colors. They were no longer centrists looking for accommodation for every citizen, they were really far left fringe socialists looking to turn our country into another Venezuela. The new left is trying to bring socialism into America with very disturbing ideas. These ideas are disturbing not only because they are radical and cannot be paid for, but because they go against the very founding ideals and fabric of America. Start with the socialist idea of a “minimum living wage,” there is no rational basis for this idea unless you believe in Karl Marx’s communist theories. Forcing an employer to increase wages is patently absurd, and in the real world, the only beneficiary is government, which collects more tax dollars on higher earnings. However, people are quickly finding that forced higher wages results in fewer job slots. Studies have shown that a person taking advantage of all available welfare programs earns the equivalent of over $50,000 a year. Next is free college tuition at public supported colleges and universities. Since almost every institution of higher learning receives some governmental grant, stipend, or aid, it appears that the New Democrats want every higher learning institution to be free. This would increase the federal budget by about $2 trillion a year; a budget that is already running deficits of almost $1 trillion a year. Medicaid for all or single payer might provide “insurance” for all but it will do nothing for actual medical care. Look no further than Canada, England, Cuba, China or Russia, where care for the masses barely exists. Renewable energy today is heavily subsidized and barely capable of powering small homes let alone massive factories. While some of the far Left Democrat’s ideas may seem noble, upon close examination they are unrealistic and ultimately will destroy America. In the coming months look very closely at the rising candidates and don’t be fooled by carefully worded campaign speeches.
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Michael Moore says Dems need to accept far-left Ocasio-Cortez as party leader: 'No middle ground anymore'

Postby smix » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:25 pm

Michael Moore says Dems need to accept far-left Ocasio-Cortez as party leader: 'No middle ground anymore'
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/michae ... atic-party
Category: Politics
Published: February 3, 2019

Description: Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore declared U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the new leader of the Democratic Party, while urging political moderates to take a position because there “is no middle ground anymore.” “She is the leader. Everybody knows it. Everybody feels it,” Moore said of the freshman congresswoman from New York during a Friday interview on MSNBC.



Moore said the age requirement to run for president - 35 - should be constitutionally amended so that Ocasio-Cortez could make a play for the White House. He said Ocasio-Cortez is the leader of a movement, citing a Fox News poll that showed voters favored her proposal to increase the tax rate to 70 percent for the richest Americans. Moore also urged those with moderate views to “take a position,” in response to a question about whether someone like Ocasio-Cortez, with very progressive politics, could turn off moderates. “If you're being moderate, stop being moderate. Take a position,” Moore responded. “There's no middle ground anymore. There's no halfway point to should somebody be paid a living wage. 'Well, I'm a moderate so I think they could be paid half of that living wage.' "You know, on the issue of choice, there is no halfway there. You're either for it or you're against it. Do you believe in equal rights for women? Do you believe we should have an Equal Rights Amendment? There's no middle ground. There's no time for moderation,” he continued.



Deroy Murdock: AOC = DNC -- Ocasio-Cortez is pace car for Democrats' turbocharged race to the far left
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/deroy-m ... e-far-left
Category: Politics
Published: January 30, 2019

Description: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become, in essence, the new leader of the Democratic Party. The avowed socialist from the Bronx, New York, is now a one-woman Democratic National Committee. Despite having served in office for less than a month, she is now the pace car for the Democrats’ turbocharged race to the far left. If AOC says it, many Democrats adopt it as their new gospel.

voters-even-more-stupid.jpg

Nine months ago, “Abolish ICE!” was an exotic, extremist idea. But then AOC stunned the Democratic establishment by beating 11-term Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y., in their June 26 primary and winning her heavily Democratic district last November. AOC called for scrapping Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Other politicians on the left – no less than Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., swiftly leapt aboard AOC’s abolish-ICE express. This is now a mainstream Democratic position. AOC campaigned on and promises Medicare-for-All. Among other things, if you like your health plan, you will lose your health plan. Period. Medicare-for-All would vacuum private insurance into Uncle Sam’s newfangled universal health care system. And George Mason University’s Mercatus Center estimates that it will cost taxpayers $32.6 trillion over 10 years. But what AOC wants, AOC gets. So the House Budget and Rules Committees will explore Medicare-for-All in depth. “House Democrats would not be holding hearings,” Splinter.com’s Libby Watson explained, “without outside pressure from Medicare for All proponents and the constituencies of popular leftists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders.” Last Nov. 13, AOC said during a sit-in outside the Capitol Hill office of now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: “We need to tell her that we’ve got her back in showing and pursuing the most progressive energy agenda that this country has ever seen.” The next day, the top Democrats on the House committees on Energy and Commerce; Natural Resources; and Science, Space and Technology announced plans to “work closely together to aggressively assess the public health, economic and environmental impacts of climate change and to explore the best solutions to combat this challenge.” AOC has promoted a resolution to create a House select committee on the Green New Deal. According to The New Yorker, more than 40 Democratic House members backed AOC’s measure. Pelosi then tapped Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., to chair a new Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. “This will be a committee clearly in the spirit of the Green New Deal,” Castor told The Hill newspaper. None of these House Democrats seems concerned about this proposal’s breathtaking eco-overreach. “This is going to be the Great Society, the moonshot, the civil rights movement of our generation. That is the scale of the ambition that this movement is going to require,” AOC declared last month. “We can use the transition to 100 percent renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social, and racial justice in the United States of America.” AOC even has senators following her lead. “Kamala Harris endorses Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal,’” read a Monday night headline in The Hill. "I support a Green New Deal," the California Democrat and presidential contender said at a CNN town hall in Iowa. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., “supports the idea of a Green New Deal to ambitiously tackle our climate crisis, economic inequality, and racial injustice," according to an aide. Gillibrand backs the Green New Deal, too. It’s amazing to see the entire Democratic Party fall under the hypnotic spell of a 29-year-old with a three-week-long record of public service. And it’s remarkable that 74 percent of Democrats in a Jan. 18 Axios/Survey Monkey poll would consider supporting AOC for president, although she is six years too young to be eligible to serve. Perhaps five years ago, and certainly 10, the idea of a full-blown socialist sitting in the Oval Office was a non-starter, even among Democrats. The fact that the tables have turned so completely reflects at least three factors:
First, the Sanders Effect. Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont performed surprisingly well against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries. Sanders might have fared even better if America’s biggest grifter had not climbed to the nomination with her heels in his back. While Sanders wasn’t the Democrats’ 2016 standard bearer, he can luxuriate in the fact that sending a socialist to the White House no longer terrifies Democrats.
Second, the Obama Effect. The Oval Office’s previous occupant massively swelled the scope, reach and cost of government – from ObamaCare to food stamp expansion to ice-hardness regulations. The result was eight years of stagnation and misery. But some people love “free” stuff and making “the evil 1 percent” pay for it. For them, voting socialist is their favorite indoor activity.
Third, the Trump Effect. Most Democrats hate President Trump with a trembling rage. AOC is the un-Trump: a 20-something, female bartender turned left-wing heroine confronting a 70-something, male billionaire turned right-wing hero. Democrats can’t stand him, so they root for her.
AOC shares one trait with Trump: an impressive ability to keep the news cameras pointed her way. She is the most visible House freshman in memory – and sustainably so. Alas, her ability to generate nonstop coverage highlights some of her more jaw-dropping positions. Observers were amazed to hear her declare at a Martin Luther King Day event: “The world is gonna end in 12 years, if we don’t address climate change.” So if AOC becomes president after Trump is re-elected, it would be curtains for this planet before she would complete her second term. If that’s so, one wonders, why bother to run? AOC’s hyperbole is very much in line with previous, hysterical predictions of so-called global-warming-related catastrophes that never materialized.
* In “The Inconvenient Truth,” former Democratic Vice President Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning PowerPoint presentation, Gore predicted in 2006 that “global warming” would cause sea levels to rise 20 feet. No such sea rise has been detected.
* In 2012, Cambridge professor Peter Wadhams predicted “global disaster” as Arctic sea ice would melt away by 2016. Three years later, the Arctic sea ice is there. The “global disaster” is not.
* In 2009, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown prophesied that only 50 days remained to rescue Earth from global warming. Ten years hence, everyone’s still here.



Ocasio-Cortez warns of 'list' for moderate Dems who vote with Republicans: report
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ocasio ... -on-a-list
Category: Politics
Published: March 1, 2019

Description: After more than two dozen moderate Democrats broke from their party's progressive wing and sided with Republicans on a legislative amendment Wednesday, New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reportedly sounded the alarm in a closed-door meeting Thursday and said those Democrats were "putting themselves on a list."

aoc-list.jpg

The legislation that prompted the infighting was a bill that would expand federal background checks for gun purchases, the Washington Post reported. But a key provision requiring U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be notified if illegal immigrants attempt to purchase guns saw 26 moderate Democrats side with Republicans. According to the Post, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scolded her wayward center-leaning colleagues, telling them: "We are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision.” But Ocasio-Cortez reportedly took it a step further. She said she would help progressive activists unseat those moderates in their districts in the 2020 elections, the report said. Her spokesman Corbin Trent told the paper that she made the "list" comment during the meeting. “She said that when activists ask her why she had to vote for a gun safety bill that also further empowers an agency that forcibly injects kids with psychotropic drugs, they’re going to want a list of names and she’s going to give it to them,” Trent said, referring to ICE.



Democrats beholden to their rabid base can't win the White House so want to change the rules instead
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/democra ... es-instead
Category: Politics
Published: March 1, 2019

Description: In an oddly prophetic moment during the throes of the 2000 presidential re-count, then-senator-elect Hillary Clinton wanted to “do away” with the electoral college and replace it with a popular vote. Nearly two decades later and on the heels of another stinging loss, Democrats are again chomping at the bit to change the system. So far, 12 states have passed legislation implementing a national popular vote. Not surprisingly, this movement is afoot in deep blue states where the average margin of victory for Clinton was around 20 percentage points in 2016. Beyond obvious electoral opportunism, the ploy reeks of sour grapes. The left’s so-called “blue wall” across the Midwest didn’t crumble because of our system of selecting a president. Donald Trump earned more votes in the electoral college than Hillary Clinton because he was a better candidate with a more compelling economic message. Turns out calling half the country “deplorable” isn’t a recipe for success. Only a poor craftsman blames his tools, and that’s the trap the Democrats have fallen into. Instead of looking in the mirror and fixing their own deficiencies, they want to change the rules of the game to better suit their needs. The electoral college now joins Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on the left’s hit list. Look for it to become the latest rallying cry and must-pass litmus test, along with total government control of health care and a “Green New Deal” with a $93 trillion price tag. These extreme ideas are the price of admission to compete in today’s Democratic primary, which counts an avowed socialist as one of its early frontrunners. Their policy agenda has shifted so far left that 77 percent of Democrats believe the country would be “better off” socialist, according to a survey from Public Opinion Strategies. Therein lies the Democrats’ core problem. Rather than offering a vision of America that is more compelling in Trump states, they’re customizing their platform to meet the demands of their rabid base. True, Democrats routed Republicans in last year’s midterms in the suburban and swing areas. But that was in spite of – not because of – a socialist agenda. The middle broke away from Trump and toward the Democrats, as often is the case two years into a president’s first term. In those same midterm elections, Democrats got their clocks cleaned in red America. They lost four sitting and well-respected incumbent senators – Claire McCaskill, Heidi Heitkamp, Bill Nelson and Joe Donnelly – whose affiliation with an out-of-step national party proved too strong a current to swim against. Why not moderate their message so it sells beyond the blue swaths of the country? For one thing, the left’s base won’t let them. When McCaskill warned her party about lurching too far to the left, newly-elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., scorched her as a “former” senator guilty of cozying up to Trump. When another former senator, Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman, who not that long ago represented one half of the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket, decried “the big-spending, big-taxing” direction, Ocasio-Cortez retorted, “New party, who dis?” Switching to a popular vote would steamroll the voices of smaller states in favor of the most extreme elements of the hard left. Presidential candidates would have no incentive to appeal – let alone campaign – to smaller states with fewer people. They would focus on the dense population areas in order to maximize their time and resources – the two most precious commodities of any campaign. Notice there has been no talk of going to a split electoral vote system, similar to Nebraska or Maine, that allocates votes based on congressional district. Doing so would mean that Republicans could pick off certain areas of California and New York – two major contributors toward Democrats’ march to 270 electoral votes that also routinely send Republicans to Congress. Facing an impasse, the Democrats have two options: attempt to reassemble a winning coalition in the electoral college by broadening their message, or change the game so that they no longer need the parts of the country where their appeal is limited and shrinking. If they’re willing to change the rules to regain power, imagine what they’ll do if they ever get it back.



Leslie Marshall: Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez are in a power struggle, with Pelosi winning
Fox News

URL: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/leslie- ... si-winning
Category: Politics
Published: April 9, 2019

Description: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s latest comments seeming to belittle Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are yet another illustration of the big differences between the two high-profile Democratic lawmakers. While Pelosi is a practical politician looking to pass legislation that can become law, Ocasio- Cortez seems more interested in advocating revolutionary changes that can excite those on the far left – but have no chance of becoming law. In an interview published Monday in USA Today, Pelosi didn’t criticize Ocasio-Cortez by name, but it was obvious who the speaker was referring to her when Pelosi said: “While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what's important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House.” USA Today also quoted Pelosi as saying: “I’m a progressive from San Francisco. I think I can have some credentials on the left, as a person who has represented a very liberal city. But you have to govern mainstream.” Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman House member who calls herself a socialist and represents part of New York City, has nearly 4 million Twitter followers. She’s been the focus of an enormous amount of media attention and received both praise and criticism for her advocacy of radical positions, such as supporting big tax increases for the wealthy and massive new government programs.

pelosi-ocasio-cortez.jpg

One of the programs Ocasio-Cortez has called for is the Green New Deal, which would dramatically alter American society in an effort to reduce climate change and income inequality. The Green New Deal calls for ending the use of oil, natural gas and coal to produce energy in 10 years; creating a single-payer health care system for everyone in the U.S.; guaranteeing everyone who wants to work a federal job; providing a guaranteed income even to people “unwilling to work;” providing universal access to healthful foods; upgrading every home and commercial building in the nation for energy efficiency; tuition-free public colleges; and other actions. Critics say the Green New Deal would be impossible to achieve and unaffordable, costing as much as $93 trillion – or the equivalent of $600,000 for every U.S. household. At the start of the current congressional session in January, it seemed that Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez were going to be sisters-in-arms, fighting for the Democratic agenda and against President Trump. The strong women shared the cover of Rolling Stone magazine with smiles on their faces. And Ocasio-Cortez cast her vote for Pelosi to become speaker of the House. But what has transpired since seems to be a power struggle between two women with two entirely different backgrounds and two very different political styles. Pelosi is 79 and nearing the end of her long career. Ocasio-Cortez is only 29 – young enough to be Pelosi’s granddaughter – and is just beginning what seems to be a very bright (and potentially long) political future. She’s too young to run for president, but her most enthusiastic supporters have called for her candidacy once she hits the minimum age of 35 to be eligible to hold our nation’s highest office. One could argue that Pelosi is looking at what she and the Democratic-controlled House can accomplish in the short-term, helping to secure her legacy. In contrast, Ocasio-Cortez is looking at far-reaching ideas to transform America in the long run. In other words, Pelosi is concerned with today, Ocasio-Cortez with tomorrow. For those keeping score, Pelosi – with the power of the speakership – has been winning the battles between her mainstream Democrats and Ocasio-Cortez’s smaller socialist faction of the party. Sometimes it seems like Pelosi is the adult in the room, schooling the newcomer as to how things are done in Washington. Let’s take a look at the Green New Deal. Although Ocasio-Cortez proposed it, she must realize it has little chance of approval even in the Democratic-controlled House, and no chance of approval in the Republican-controlled Senate. And to no one’s surprise, President Trump has made clear that he opposes it. Pelosi is clearly a strong believer in the old saying that “politics in the art of the possible.” She understands that the Green New Deal is not only too ambitious to become law but faces too many hurdles to be funded and implemented. And Ocasio-Cortez has at times acted more like an outsider protesting the status quo than an insider elected to pass legislation. Last November – after she was elected but before she took her House seat – she joined environmental activists storming Pelosi’s office and live-streaming the event. Pelosi calmly said she supported the enthusiasm of the demonstrators, but clearly stood her ground. Ocasio-Cortez stood down. And when Pelosi put together a Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, she selected Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., to lead it. Ocasio-Cortez isn’t even on the committee, which will consider legislation dealing with climate change. Pelosi has proven for decades that she an extraordinarily skilled negotiator and legislative tactician. She has earned respect from leaders in both parties, including President Trump, who we caught kissing her on the cheek after their most recent meeting. And while Ocasio-Cortez is focused on far-left ideological purity in the Democratic Party – she was elected by defeating a veteran mainstream Democratic House member in a primary – Pelosi is focused on ensuring Democrats keep majority control of the House with as many seats as possible. That means Pelosi will support Democratic moderates who can win in districts that voted for Trump in the presidential election. For now, Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez can coexist in the Democratic Party. But in the 2020 general election the two will have to learn how to unite – not only on issues, but in support of candidates who can win. Without unity among Democrats – in the center, left and far left – Democrats could face a repeat of the 2016 election, when Republican Trump captured the White House and Republicans kept majority control of both the House and Senate. That’s the last thing any Democrat should want to see.
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