Trump Is Rooting for Ocasio-Cortez's Democratic Party
Added 02-11-19 07:11:01pm EST - “For the moment, at least, the energy in the Democratic Party is all on the left ?" and I mean hard left. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the charismatic and camera-ready new congresswoman from New York, champions the Democrats' current…” - News.yahoo.com
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(Bloomberg Opinion) -- For a long time it’s been a cliché of American political commentary that the hollowing out of the country’s center is mainly the Republicans’ fault. “Asymmetric polarization,” analysts call it: The right moved right and the left didn’t move that much. Until recently, this was largely true. It isn’t true anymore.
For the moment, at least, the energy in the Democratic Party is all on the left – and I mean hard left. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the charismatic and camera-ready new congresswoman from New York, champions the Democrats’ current zeal for symmetry. The filmmaker Michael Moore, for one, calls her the leader of the party and wishes the Constitution could be changed so that she doesn’t need to wait until she’s 35 to be president (she's 29). Her team should speak to Trump and the Republicans about that: They might be open to an amendment.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Ocasio-Cortez isn’t actually leading anything and she isn’t running for president. But you’d have to be blind to fail to see where she’s pushing the party. Bernie Sanders is no longer an outlier. He and other actual presidential candidates such as Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have made hard-left policies their signature positions. They want higher taxes on the rich, not just to raise revenue but because wealth is bad. They favor big new transfers to those on low incomes. They want capitalist finance reined in aggressively. And their approach to health-care reform disdains Obamacare incrementalism, calling for a Great Leap Forward to a fully government-run system.
Now AOC has given us her program: The “Green New Deal.” This document is interesting not just for its content, but also for the reaction it elicits from many Democrats. The plan might not be entirely practical, they suggest, and her numbers (if she had some) probably wouldn’t add up, but as a statement of progressive aspirations for social justice and environmental responsibility, it’s a valuable contribution and worth discussing. To me at least, this treatment seems a bit patronizing: Nice work, Alexandria.
When sympathetic commentators go to the trouble of thinking about the numbers, the prevailing tone is indulgent. My colleague Noah Smith estimates that her program might cost upward of $7 trillion a year. That’s more than double the federal government’s existing revenues and about one-third of U.S. gross domestic product. Really quite a lot. Noah regrets he could not go along with such a plan and calls it “troubling.” I’d rather put it this way: “This is your plan? You’re joking, right?”
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