From the left . . . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, profiled here with the frame: “Democratic attacks on AOC expose the party’s fear of taking on moneyed interests.”  It concludes:


. . . For too long, disagreements in the Democratic Party have been kept behind closed doors, and the result was the protection of powerful financial interests. It is time to start talking about this dynamic, so that voters can make a democratic choice about what kind of politics they actually want to build. That, in the end, is why it’s called the Democratic Party.


I largely share the writer’s enthusiasm for AOC, but don’t buy all her ideas (a 70% rate on income over $10 million — which would be 83% in New York City — is too high and would have adverse unintended consequences, as we learned in the ’60s and ’70s) and I’d challenge some of the writer’s assertions (Democrats lost 1,000 legislative seats from 2010 to 2017 not primarily because the party wasn’t the party of the people, with its push for affordable health care and a higher minimum wage and student debt refinancing and higher taxes on the wealthy, but because the Republican RedMap plan led to redistricting after the 2010 census that cost us vast numbers of seats even as we won the popular vote).

It’s really important that Democrats not demonize business or capitalism — or our wealthy donors.  Business and capitalism, when sensibly regulated, are the greatest engines of broadly shared prosperity the world has ever known.  And our wealthy donors, in the main, favor most of the things AOC does, like higher tax rates on the uber-wealthy (albeit not at counter-productive levels).

But there’s much she and the author of this piece have to say that’s worth respectful consideration.  There’s room — I would argue, a need — in the Democratic party for strong voices on the left.  What would be cool is if AOC found a way to join the Problem Solvers Caucus.


From the center . . . Gina Raimondo, profiled here with the frame, “The Loneliness of the Moderate Democrat.”


. . . She recalled an exchange with college students not long ago. One of them said: “I get who you are. You’re one of those spineless centrists.”

And I was like, ‘Excuse me?’,” she said. “It takes a lot of spine to be a centrist in America today. You get whacked from the left and whacked from the right. That’s my life. I get whacked.”

Moderate Democrats have certainly had their day and their sway. In fact the passions of the left arise in part from how much compromise there has been — and here we are stuck with Donald Trump. The rage of less moderate Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is earned and righteous. And Raimondo said precisely that to me.

But Ocasio-Cortez is by no means the whole of the Democratic Party. And is the leftward lurch that she personifies the best and safest bet for 2020? I worry, because there’s no political priority higher than limiting Trump to one term. Raimondo also worries — a lot. . . .

 

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