Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is best known for backing primary challengers against sitting Democratic politicians, is now backing an incumbent senator.
The move struck many by surprise, considering that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and her far-left acolytes tend to back challengers rather than incumbents. What is more, Senator Ed Markey and his challenger, Rep. Joe Kennedy, are both progressive lawmakers. Both men support the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and other far-left positions. Backing one individual over another seems almost senseless if the decision is based solely on ideology.
However, there may be a couple of reasons why Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is supporting an incumbent over a newcomer. Sen. Markey was the first Democratic senator to back the Green New Deal; perhaps the freshman representative feels indebted to him for his support. Maybe Rep. Ocasio-Cortez realizes (or has been informed) that doing political favors for rich and powerful Democrats is a good way to get ahead. Being an outsider will only get one so far in the world of politics.
However, there may be a far more personal reason for AOC’s enthusiastic support for Senator Ed Markey. Former Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley, the man that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez beat in last year’s primary election, is known to be a close friend of Rep. Joe Kennedy. In fact, the former representative recently announced that he is hosting a fundraiser for Rep. Kennedy. The list of invitees includes well-known members of the Democratic Party who served in the Obama Administration, or who worked with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in the Senate.
It’s not hard to see why senior members of the Democratic Party would back Rep. Joe Kennedy over a senior incumbent. While both men hold similar points of view, Rep. Joe Kennedy is much younger than Sen. Markey. At this point, Democrats desperately need a progressive voice in the Senate that other progressives can rally around, and Rep. Kennedy has the talents and experience to fit the bill.
It’s also worth noting that Rep. Kennedy, like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, knows how to harness social media to enthuse fellow progressives. While Sen. Markey has only 162,000 Twitter followers, Rep. Kennedy has nearly 800,000. Perhaps Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is worried about the competition even though her Twitter followers number in the millions.
AOC’s actions further demonstrate just how divided the Democratic Party has become — especially since she became a part of it. The schism between the moderate and progressive wings of the party is intensifying, and the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump is escalating that even further.
The freshman New York lawmaker, who has become the de facto face of her party’s progressive wing, hasn’t had to deal with the consequences of her actions yet. But, her political posturing may lead to her into bartending sooner rather than later — and it will be because of rash actions like this.