Shocker: AOC Leans Right

Shocker: AOC Leans Right

( – After a disruptive burn-it-down style in her first 18 months in office, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is striking a different tone. Her controversial staff members are gone and she has taken steps to work more with the Democratic establishment. That’s in stark contrast to most of her first term, which was highly confrontational and controversial within the Democratic party.

After a huge win over the powerful chair of the Democratic caucus, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), in 2018, AOC quickly shot up the ranks to become a national leader in far-left politics. A renowned social media user, on Twitter she has a whopping 6.6 million followers where she is highly adept at mobilizing them. In 2018 and 2019, she often used Twitter to attack fellow Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Since January, she has shaken up her staff and taken to a much less confrontational tone. At first glance, one wonders if her new posture is due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. However, it’s clear that something else is going on and her actions have led some to wonder if she is moving away from the far-left wing of the Democratic Party.

AOC’s Agenda

Backed by the far left-wing group Justice Democrats, AOC encouraged other like-minded politicians to follow in her footsteps. She wanted to take on moderate and liberal establishment Democrats in 2020 primaries. Her ultimate goal is to help elect candidates who will contribute to passing far-left wishlist items that include the Green New Deal, universal health care, and increases in social welfare programs.

In 2019, AOC started her own Political Action Committee (PAC) called “Courage to Change.” Its singular focus was to help elect far-left candidates instead of moderate and liberal Democrats who didn’t fit her mold during the 2020 primaries. She raised millions of dollars and, instead of giving it to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to help Democrats win and expand the map, AOC kept the money to try and defeat members of her own party.

Of the seven female candidates that AOC endorsed for 2020, five of them were defeated in their primaries. One of the remaining two is in a runoff. The other will move on to November in California.

Is AOC Going Moderate?

Over the last few months, AOC has had some significant turnover among her top aides. She has replaced outspoken radical staff members with more traditional political professionals. AOC’s former Chief of Staff Saikat Chakrabarti, co-founder of Justice Democrats, was the most high-profile example. He left in August after a highly controversial tenure. In early March, her outspoken and confrontational Communications Director Corbin Trent left her team as well.

Now, instead of fighting with the party, AOC has struck a more conciliatory tone, sought to build coalitions with fellow Democrats, and is picking fights much more selectively. Over the last few weeks, she called Pelosi the “mama bear of the Democratic Party,” chided Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) supporters for harassing people online, and even softly scolded Sanders for being too conflict-driven.

AOC’s actions have drawn praise from some moderate and veteran Democrats. However, Justice Democrats aides say she is still the most anti-establishment Democrat in Congress, which might be true. However, AOC is learning she can get more of what she wants with honey instead of her overly confrontational brand of vinegar.

It’s more likely she hasn’t moderated in her positions at all. Instead, with experience, she’s becoming more practical and learning to work with others to get what she wants. As Benjamin Franklin once said, politics is the art of the possible – not the impossible.

We’ll see how long AOC’s tone lasts…

By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor

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