Showdown: AOC vs. Chuck Schumer in the 2022 primaries?

While the majority leader in the Senate Chuck schumer (DN.Y.) launches a coincident and progressive quest for support before a potential hurdle in the 2022 primaries, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) sits in silence, seemingly throwing the simple threat of ousting his Senate seat on his shoulders.

Talks over a Schumer-Ocasio-Cortez primary battle have exploded in recent months amid the majority leader’s efforts to flap her ideological wings on the far left of the Democratic Party, but the two-term MP and her team have remained silent on the subject, offering little indication of Ocasio-Cortez’s political ambitions.

“I don’t play shy or anything like that. I’m still in a place where I’m trying to decide what’s the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress, our [political] process, and our country is actually addressing the issues of climate change, health care, wage inequalities, etc. “Said Ocasio-Cortez Punchbowl in an interview last month.

She noted in previous interviews that the party “needs new leadership” but denied being the best placed for the job. “The house is extraordinarily complex and I am not ready. It can’t be me. I know I couldn’t do this job.

Despite Ocasio-Cortez’s attempts to avoid talks about a primary race against Schumer, several sources close to her said she was “Seriously considering campaigning for siege” but remain undecided.

Nicknamed the “Wonder Woman from the left, wicked witch from the right” Ocasio-Cortez has positioned itself in the national spotlight since the unexpected dismissal of ten-term incumbent Joe Crowley from his seat in the 2018 midterm election. The 31-year-old former bartender has sparked conversations among 2020 presidential candidates about him Green New Deal, pressured his colleagues to line up behind Health insurance for all and tried to come up with campaign finance reforms – efforts that seeped into the next wave of Democratic representation. She also developed a massive social media presence with over 12.3 million Twitter followers – up from Schumer’s 3.1 million – and developed a unique intimacy with voters, using Instagram Live to cover issues. ranging from the January 6 attack on the Capitol to his kitchen. Black bean soup.

Given her burgeoning national profile, Ocasio-Cortez’s allies are confident she could raise up to $ 100 million if she ran for the Schumer Siege, as she raised $ 20 million during of his own re-election campaign.

His team could support at least one competitive race, so what would prompt Ocasio-Cortez to wrap up for a Senate campaign?

“Reading and watching what Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Schumer both said, I imagine she would wait to see how Schumer works with the progressives she is so popular with – and how the [Democrats] work and what they have come up with to advance their agenda under Schumer and vis-à-vis Mitch McConnell and the Republicans in this session, ” Jane hallsaid an associate professor at the School of Communication at the American University. “This pressure of a possible challenge can help move the ‘WCA wing’ agenda forward, [though] Schumer must work with all Democrats.

Schumer, in his seventies, who represented New York City before Ocasio-Cortez was born, recognizes the potential challenge that looms, as his initiatives to throw his weight behind progressive claims are no coincidence.

“US politics is dominated by the two-party system and both sides face transformative but divisive forces for change on the way to the 2022 midterm elections,” Dr Ken Mitchell, professor and head of the department of political science and sociology at Monmouth University, said. “On the GOP side, the question of whether Trump maintains his grip dominates all aspects of GOP activities – campaign fundraising, selection of mid-term candidates, political views, how to approach the Biden administration, etc. On the Democratic side, the Elephant is the main potential AOC challenge for Senator Schumer. Progressive activists want it after their disappointments in 2020. “

Mitchell added: “Let us remember that Biden got on fire in the early 2020 primaries. Underestimating the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is misguided, especially in a midterm primary election where turnout and enthusiasm are crucial. If AOC were to win, toppling the Senate majority leader, the Democratic Party would be in uncharted waters.

In recent months, Schumer has partnered with far-left members of his caucus, including the senator. Elizabeth warren (D-Mass.) To write off up to $ 50,000 in student loan debt by executive order – efforts the New Yorker only got involved in September, when colleagues like Sen. Bernie sanders (I-Vt.) Have been ringing rhetoric for years. Schumer also voted against the US-Mexico-Canada deal, declared himself open to eliminating filibuster, and abandoned his bipartisan norms by pushing a sweeping $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package. through a budget reconciliation process that would require no Republican backing – and that’s just a few of the progressive steps he’s taken since speculation about a 2022 main challenge began to swirl.

“America needs a bold change. We need bold change now, ”Schumer told MSNBC last month. “We have Covid, the worst healthcare crisis in a hundred years since the Spanish flu pandemic, the worst economic crisis since the New Deal. We must therefore act quickly. “

Although progressives understand that Schumer is not a politician like Sen. Joe manchin (DW.Va.), a moderate Democrat who is seen as a threat to the preservation of far-left ideology, Progressives will follow his every move as a majority leader, see if he can put it into effect. Implement a massive stimulus package and create jobs to save the strained economy. And after all, progressives haven’t forgotten his voting record in supporting the Iraq war and repealing the Glass-Steagall Act.

“Every Biden legislative or administrative compromise can be pinned on Schumer in a primary fight,” Mitchell said.

Now far-left voters know that Ocasio-Cortez needs to rally more support and commitment outside New York to lead the progressive movement, as popular organizations have advised him to develop support in more. upstate New York, an area that can be difficult to master.

“Upstate New York will be difficult for her,” Leslie Feldmansaid a professor of political science at Hofstra University. “Lots of more conservative voters to whom she might be too liberal.”

Nor can Ocasio-Cortez claim that Schumer is a creature for Washington politics – a tactic she used against Crowley – as the Brooklynite maintained her well-known Sunday press conferences, grappling with local and pressing issues and has developed a spiritual sense of humor, which is popular in the state.

Feldman noted, however, “[Ocasio-Cortez] has established herself as a star of the party, ”and has garnered support from densely populated areas like Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens.

Mitchell added: “Senator Schumer would start this race ahead, without a doubt. But could AOC win? Absolutely. First, American politics are very volatile at the moment, so a number of unforeseen events could play against Schumer as the face of the establishment.

“Second, the AOC campaign war chest will be filled, which is important in New York’s expensive media market. Third, while Washington, DC has a 50-50 deadlocked Senate that empowers centrists such as West Virginia Senator Manchin, New York State, and his constituents, present a much more progressive environment, ” he said.

But as Schumer flexes his ideological muscles to compromise with progressive caucus members, the next two years will determine whether he can convince powerful voters on the “AOC wing” to back his candidacy for reelection.

“[AOC] does what she wants when she wants. That’s what people admire about her, she has nothing to lose, ”said Feldman. “Why would she run and try to steal Schumer’s seat?” Because she can. In addition, she follows the very good advice: never announce your plans.

Rachel Bucchino is a journalist for the National Interest. His work appeared in The Washington Post, US News & World Report and The hill.

Image: Reuters

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