You have to give Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez credit, she has managed in a few short months to captivate the entire Democratic Party with her misguided proposals.
Mere moments after her Green New Deal was roundly defeated in the Senate, she flocked to the nearest microphone to cry foul.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is not as far left as AOC would like, had his caucus vote “present” on the resolution and decry it, too, as a Republican division effort. Leader McConnell, for his part, didn’t deny that. And why would he? Most people find the Green New Deal totally nuts.
The important point, however, is that Schumer didn’t want his caucus having to take a vote on this stuff. That hasn’t stopped the Senate Democrats running for President signing onto the madness, but Schumer is too smart to destroy the entire party.
He’s seen many years come and go, and the cyclical nature of politics. The rampant idealism of an AOC is instability that Schumer and Pelosi, two old hands, have to now deal with.
Schumer got a win out of the “present” vote in the sense that he kept most of his members from going on the record while also spinning the vote as a McConnell political trick. He minimized the damage from the Green New Deal, which could have been substantial.
But of course, it isn’t enough for the far left, compared to whom Schumer is almost starting to look like a moderate.
Here’s how it is put in that Vox story, what’s in brackets are my additions for clarity, and bolded emphasis my own:
But this tactic alone [Schumer’s having the Democratic caucus vote “present” on the Green New Deal vote] won’t be enough for climate activists; the groups want to see more action from both House and Senate Democratic leaders on combating climate change.
While Schumer and Green New Deal activists align on Democrats’ punting McConnell’s attempt to put them on the spot on the Green New Deal, progressive groups still want the minority leader to sign on to the sweeping resolution himself. Neither Schumer nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has done this yet. Despite the momentum around the Green New Deal, the Democratic leaders aren’t about to pick favorites — signaling openness to a wide array of climate solutions.
“Public sentiment will help us pass the most bold common denominator,” Pelosi told reporters last month. “I’m very excited about all of it, and I welcome a Green New Deal and any other proposals people have out there.”
But Sunrise Movement and other groups say it’s time to commit to the boldest plan out there to combat a worldwide climate crisis.
“We particularly want Sen. Schumer to continue to make climate change central to his agenda and come through and back the Green New Deal,” O’Hanlon said.
Here’s what is going to happen: the Democrats are going to continue to respond to the farthest left elements within the party, while Schumer and Pelosi try to keep the ship from capsizing. They are not idiots, and they know that they’ve only got so much political capital to burn on crazy ideas before 2020 slips out of their grasp.
They also know that President Trump has a rock-solid base of voters who won’t leave him. Further, the Mueller report leaves them contending with a wave of disgust from moderates at how the far left has politicized the investigation.
So that leaves the AOCs and the Bernies of the world. What happens to them?
For now, their primary contribution to the process is keeping Pelosi and Schumer up at night.
For really, that’s all the Green New Deal was good for.