In what will almost certainly be remembered as a softball interview for the ages, “Morning Joe” hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough feted the upstart winner of the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th Congressional district, which covers parts of Queens and the Bronx. In an upset that’s being compared to Tea Party activist David Brat’s 2014 upset of then-Majority Leader Republican Rep. Eric Cantor, 28-year-old socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez trounced longtime Rep. Joe Crowley, a member of the Democrats’ Congressional leadership.
The upset even caught the attention of President Trump, who tweeted that Crowley perhaps “should’ve been more respectful” to his president (and fellow Queens native).
Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place, just LOST his primary election. In other words, he’s out! That is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!
Brzezinski kicked off the interview by asking Ocasio-Cortez, a former Bernie Sanders organizer who ran on a platform of medicare-for-all and abolishing ICE, “how are you feeling” and whether she’s had a chance yet “to take it all in?”
“You know, it feels great,” Ocasio-Cortez responded. “It felt great even before the results came in, walking around the community, seeing how many people were excited to vote yesterday was incredible. And I think we’re just kind of still processing with the rest of the nation right now.”
Brzezinski praised Ocasio-Cortez for having the “clearest message” of any Democrat that she’s ever heard, while she and Scarborough fawned over the “hard work” required to pull off an upset like this.
The toughest question she faced? How will you pay for your socialist programs? To which Ocasio-Cortez offered what one observer described as an “incoherent” response.
Asked if tax hikes was how she’d fund her agenda, @Ocasio2018 replied:
“Not only that, but also to understand that the federal government does have the ability in the similar way that we had in the New Deal to spearhead this agenda and some of that financing as well.”
Meanwhile, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (who might secretly be relieved about the prospect of Joe Crowley’s defeat given that he was positioning himself to challenge her for the leadership), assured reporters that Ocasio-Cortez’s victory was “about that district. It is not about anything else,” Pelosi insisted.
“They made a choice in one district. So let’s not get yourself carried away as an expert on demographics and the rest of that. Within the caucus or outside the caucus, we are — again, we have an array of genders, generations, geography, and there is opinion in our caucus, and we’re proud of that. The fact that in a very progressive district in New York, it went more progressive than — Joe Crowley is a progressive, but more she’s left than Joe Crowley, is about that district.”
Except that maybe it is: As Hillary Clinton’s decisive defeat at the hands of President Trump demonstrated, young people and the working class aren’t excited by typical Democratic corporatism.
As a pillar of her campaign, Ocasio-Cortez didn’t take corporate PAC money. Expect to see more upstarts mimic that approach.