Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory was a quite spectacular and significant event. I think what it points to is a split in the Democratic Party between the—roughly speaking, between the popular base and the party managers.
The popular base is increasingly, essentially, social democratic, following, pursuing the—concerned with the kinds of progressive objectives that she outlined in those—in her remarks, which should be directed not only to expanding the electorate but to the general working-class, poor population of the world, of the middle-class population of the country, for whom these ideals are quite significant.
They can be brought to that. That’s one part of the party.
The other part of the party is the donor-oriented, managerial part of the New Democrats, so-called, the Clintonite Democrats, who are pretty much what used to be called moderate Republicans.
The Republican Party itself has drifted so far to the right that they’re almost off the spectrum. But the split within the Democratic Party is significant, and it’s showing up in primary after primary.
Will the party move in the direction of its popular base, with a, essentially, social democratic, New Deal-style programs, even beyond? Or will it continue to cater to the donor class and be essentially a moderate wing—a more moderate wing of the Republican Party?
And unless that issue is resolved, I don’t think they have a very good chance in the forthcoming elections.
I think she was right in saying the policies she’s outlined should have broad appeal to a very large segment of the population. We should bear in mind that, for now almost 40 years, since the neoliberal assault began, taking off with Reagan, on from there, a large majority of the population are living in conditions of stagnation or decline.
Real wages are—for, say, male real wages—are about what they were in the 1960s. It’s been—there has been productivity growth. Hasn’t gone to working people. It’s gone into the very few extremely overstuffed pockets. And that continues.
So, the Labor Department just came out with its report for wages in the year ending May 2018. Now, they actually slightly declined. All sorts of talk—real wages, that is, wages measured against inflation. And it’s apparently continuing, with an even further drop.
This is a time when a lot of crowing about the marvelous economy, you know, full employment and so on, but wages continue to stagnate. And furthermore, it’s plainly going to get worse. The Republicans are on a binge of pursuing the most savage form of class warfare.
The tax scam is a good example, the attacks on workers’ rights, on—Public Citizen just came out with a report on corporate impunity, which is almost comical when you read it. The administration has simply cut back radically on any kind of dealing with corporate crimes.
And, of course, the EPA has practically stopped working. It’s as if grab whatever you can, stuff it in your pocket, before—while you have a chance. Under those conditions, the kind of appeal that she was talking about should mean a lot to the general population.
Notice, as everybody’s well aware, the tax scam was a purposeful effort not only to enrich the super-rich and the corporate sector—corporate profits, of course, are overflowing—but it was also an effort to sharply increase the deficit, which can be used—and Paul Ryan and others kindly announced to us right away what the plans were—the deficit could be used to undermine any elements of government structure which benefit the general population—Medicare, Social Security, food for poor children.
Anything you can do to shaft the general population more can now be justified under the argument that we have a huge deficit, thanks to stuffing the pockets of the rich.
This is an astonishing phenomenon. And under those conditions, a properly designed progressive program should appeal to a large majority of the population. But it has to be done correctly and not shaped in ways which will appease the donor class.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Spectacular” Victory & Growing Split in Democratic Party