Left Politics Can Win All Over the Country
Democrats need to learn what the Republicans have understood for decades: that to win, the party needs a message that embraces the passions, values, and agenda of grassroots leaders.
By Mike Lux
The Democratic establishment is clearly flustered by the stunning upset victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over the person who was considered to be the likely next Democratic leader of the House, Congressman Joe Crowley. Former DCCC Chair Steve Israel, in a quote I found entertaining as a former Iowan who has knocked on a lot of doors in Brooklyn, Iowa, opined that "What sounds good in Brooklyn, New York, doesn't work in Brooklyn, Iowa."
Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, who is at least a Midwesterner, said in response to Ocasio-Cortez's victory that a political platform "too far to the left" could not win in the Midwest. Other Democratic insiders are insisting that this upset isn't that big a deal, making the case that Ocasio-Cortez's ideas are actually no different than mainstream Democratic Party stuff, she just wraps it in the label "socialism." Which of course is a direct contradiction of the first two quotes. Meanwhile, AOC (as people are calling her now) has become a rock star to progressive insurgent activists and other candidates, becoming a major fundraiser for the candidates she has endorsed and the groups affiliated with her. What is going on in Democratic politics?
Democrats will win by returning to their roots as the party of the people -- all the people, not just swing voters or base voters, not just people who live in one region or another. We will win if we tell people directly and without fear what we believe, what we value, and what we will fight for -- fairness, the future, freedom, and the working people of this country. Not everyone will want to run the exact kind of race Ocasio-Cortez ran -- every candidate needs to define themselves in a way that makes sense in their local district and state. But if Democrats think a working-class-oriented economic message doesn't work because it is too "left," they will be making a grave mistake and once again cost themselves a victory that should be theirs.