Nestled among all this week’s momentous news by and of the Supreme Court, we find the story of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28 year old Bernie Sanders acolyte who just upended the number-four Democrat in the House, 14 term incumbent Joe Crowley, in Tuesday’s Democratic Primary vote. Ocasio-Cortez didn’t just beat Crowley, she thumped him, winning 58% of the votes.

Countless excuses have been and will be offered up to explain (and write off) this upset, and they’ll include all sorts of noise about low turnout (26,000 votes cast in a district with 150,000 voters) and the incumbent’s missteps and tactical failures (sound familiar?). The reality, though, is a combination of socialist-utopia and identity politics. The identity politics is easy to understand – her district is heavily latino and immigrant (she is a Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent), and her campaign and platform includes the expected positions in that regard.

That platform is quite telling, by the way.

Medicare for all. – Well, look here, we have the new moniker for socialized medicine. I guess single-payer didn’t capture hearts and minds.

Universal jobs guarantee, with living wages. – Paid for by…. ?

Free college and trade school, funded by taxing Wall Street. – This math never adds up. You could tax Wall Street into oblivion and not have enough money to do this.

Paid family and sick leave. – Again, who’s gonna pay for this? The employers? They’re already working to cut hours and staff and shift to automation in response to the minimum wage increases, and thus demonstrating that the real minimum wage is zero. How do you take leave from a job that no longer exists, because the job provider can’t afford to provide it in the first place?

Housing as a human right. – First, the principle. No human right can require the violating of another’s human rights, in this case forcibly taking from some to give to others. Second, the practical. Ever see how the socialist countries fulfilled their housing promises? Giant concrete blocks of buildings? Ever see how the efforts to provide housing for the poor in this country turned out? The highfalutin dreams of 60s urban planners with their housing projects? Instead of communities, they created virtual prisons, where the common spaces were taken over by gangs and the residents, having no “investment” in the spaces provided for them, cowered in their apartments until they could find a way to move out. Today, projects are economic dead spaces, resistant to the market forces that improve things. Third, who’d going to pay for all this?

End the War on Drugs, demilitarize police, and abolish for-profit incarceration. – Hey! she got one right! A shame that Dems have a horrible track record of feeding their rapacity for money by treating the poor as a revenue stream via quality-of-life policing.

Immigration Justice. – Some interpretation there, but we can presume she wants to legalize a subset of the illegals. That’s anathema to conservatives, but it’s small potatoes compared to everything else, and I and other libertarians think that there’s no way to fix immigration without doing so. Abolishing ICE, though? Even I, an open-borders advocate, understand that there’s a difference between open borders and no borders. A nation is not a nation if it does not control who enters and exits.

Infrastructure overhaul. – Sounds good, right? Everyone complains about crumbling infrastructure. But, aside from the fact that the problem is overstated, and the fact that the money to fix our roads already exists (a sizable chunk of the gas taxes meant for roads are being siphoned off for non-road purposes), there’s the explanation of what she means: “Invest in 100% renewable green industry,” and “implement a carbon-free, 100% renewable energy system and a fully modernized electrical grid in the US by 2035 in an effort to combat climate change.” Hers is a “Green New Deal,” an obvious call-back to the Left’s idealized onanism regarding FDR’s tenure, that calls for investing trillions (whence the trillions, by the way?). Yep. Solar panels, wind farms, unicorn farts, and pixie dust. Pure ignorance. Deliberate? I can’t say. It’s one of those promises that makes the young and idealistic swoon, and one that smashes to bits against the rocky shores of reality after 5 minutes deliberation. But, who cares to invest 5 minutes in deliberation when a young, smart, charismatic Latina promises the dream?

Clean campaign finance. – The Left still screams bloody murder over the Citizens United ruling, which lifted restrictions on corporate campaign spending. Forgive my cynicism here. The Left never uttered a peep about the massive spending by unions and other liberal advocacy groups prior to that ruling. This continued obsession with what is, at its core, a matter of liberty, tells us they don’t give a [redacted] about your or my rights if those rights get in the way of their agenda.

An economy of peace. – I have no idea what this means, even after reading “that supports our veterans and actively values all humanity.” If it means less militarism? Sure, I’m all-in. But, what does “actively” refer to? Is this more American money (that already doesn’t exist) sprinkled throughout the world? Is it social-justice economics, where the government decides who we buy from and sell to? Flowery hand-waving, this one.

That, by the way, is what the bulk of this agenda is. Given that she hasn’t proposed how to pay for any of this, other than taxing the rich (you could wipe out the rich, and still not come close to paying for half of this), all she’s doing is the now-standard “giving” half of Marx’s mantra.

And that is why young leftists are all giddy for Ocasio-Cortez. An all-in socialist, wrapped up in an intersectional, social-justice-friendly package. She promises all the things that socialism has promised for a century, updated to current conditions, with vague, scant, and mathematically-impossible attention to how it’s all to be paid for.

Take note, by the way, of this tidbit from her biography. While she was born in the Bronx, at age 4 her parents, an architect and a cleaner (housekeeper?), moved the family to Westchester so she could go to a better school. That’s parents working to make a better life for their kids, and not saying “hey nanny government, make it better for us.” I can understand the notion that she was upset by the kids whose parents didn’t or couldn’t do the same. I am, too. Our public education system in poorer communities is a disgrace. The thing is – she took the wrong lesson. It’s not insufficient government that’s made things so, it’s too much government. Public education has been in the hands of big-government liberals and leftists for over half a century, and despite pouring ever-more money into it, its results remain unacceptably terrible. So, why would anyone of sound mind think that even more government is the answer?

Because it’s a siren song. Because it’s alluring. Because it’s an easy promise, one that leverages envy, and one that says “you don’t have to work hard, we’ll do the work for you.” That’s why people are continually suckered into supporting socialists, despite the countless failed attempts at doing all this, and despite the hundred million corpses and billions of poor it has produced in the century since it was first implemented.

I’m not remotely surprised by Ocasio-Cortez’s victory. It’s the natural result of the cultural Marxism that has infested our society. It’s what happens when prosperity creates ease and idleness, and the values that created that prosperity are continually portrayed as evil.

It’s why the Democrats, if and when they return to power, will wreak havoc on the economy, on our liberties, and on our living standards. Their leaders haven’t learned a thing from the last few years. They are content running on ideas that failed them, opening the door to those who promise the impossible to the gullible.

In the short term, Ocasio-Cortez’s victory is a loss for the Democratic Party. She’s going to be a noisemaker from the Left, pushing the Party in a direction it really shouldn’t go if it wants any chance at lasting success in governance, and her victory means the Party has just another powerless freshman, rather than a powerful, high-seniority person at the top of committees. In the long run, her victory may foretell a further shift in the Party’s composition and constituency. Can the party abandon its middle-America working classes in favor of urban socialists and achieve success on the national stage? Lets hope not. The road to socialism is littered with corpses.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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