In Trump’s Face

Ocasio-Cortez’s party left the Socialist International movement because of its perceived neoliberalism.

These days, there’s no shortage of columnists talking about the rise of a new female-led left wing in the United States, which, cautiously, they don’t dare describe as “socialist” because now no one in the U.S. wants this label. They mention San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the only notable representative of this movement who has actually been elected to the office she was running for, as well as a significant number of women who are currently candidates, such as Stacey Adams, running for governor of Georgia, and the biggest surprise of all — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old who defeated Joseph Crowley, a veteran Democrat who was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998.

The American political system allows a woman like Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, to run as a candidate for another party. Which is very convenient for her because she knows her far-left ideas would make it difficult for her to win if she simply ran as a Socialist. The Democratic Socialists of America left the Socialist International association last year because of its supposed drift toward neoliberalism — a drift I’m sure Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez hasn’t heard about because he would never stand for it.* But I’d also like to know why Ocasio-Cortez accepts the company of so many Democrats with fairly conservative values and policies if she can’t accept the company of Jeremy Corbyn or Yorgos Papandreu because they’re not left-leaning enough.

A few days ago I read a column in a Spanish newspaper about the rise of this “new left.” I was intrigued by the assertion that this new female left-leaning movement “has blown up in Trump’s face.” And I was left, frankly, concerned. If they think that this is how they’re going to oust Donald Trump from power, they’re in trouble. A Democratic Party leaning toward the far left guarantees that Trump will be re-elected. The ideological variable (far-left) is much more relevant than the gender variable (female): the Democratic Party has already had women who have reached the highest offices in the nation, such as Nancy Pelosi, who was the speaker and is now minority leader.

Many insist on interpreting the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the first woman to run as the presidential candidate of one of the two major parties, as an example of how women and their left-leaning ideas are rejected. It’s hard to know what was going on in each voter’s mind. But what’s clear is that Clinton was defeated by the most unelectable candidate in the history of the United States, out of all those who have made it to the White House. (Among those who didn’t, there were people much worse.) Clinton’s personal history and that of her husband were what facilitated Trump’s victory.

If Trump and the Republican Party can prove to the American public that the Democratic Party is in the hands of people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, their chances of winning again in 2020 are very good. Just give it time.

*Translator’s note: Pedro Sánchez is the prime minister of Spain and the leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party.

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