The Democratic primary victories of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York and Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts have prompted Politico to liken this seeming insurgency to the Tea Party movement that happened in the Republican Party in 2010. As a co-founder of the first Los Angeles Tea Party and one who spent the next few years traveling the country speaking to and training activists, I may agree with them.
While I hesitate to refer to it as a “movement” just yet, the post notes that its “first victims are members of a congressional wing that’s seen as out of touch at the grass-roots level.”
That fact alone makes it more like the Tea Party (I refer to the movement, not any one group) than anything else on the left that the MSM has tried to compare to it. As one who was there, I can assure you that it was as much about dissatisfaction with the GOP establishment as with President Obama, spending, or Obamacare. In fact, as time went on, it almost became more about that.
The post says that the “forces” of this “progressive tea party” had “at least a supporting role in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision not to seek a third term.”
There is no shortage of upstart progressives in the Democratic Party at the moment. In addition to Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley, Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Andrew Gillum in Florida, and Kerri Evelyn Harris in Delaware are all shaking things up.
While the sentiments are definitely insurgent and somewhat reminiscent of the conservative Tea Party, a slate of candidates does not a movement make. As I preached constantly in 2009 and 2010, the emotion and excitement have to translate at some point into mundane political action like working the phones or knocking on doors for candidates.
Of the many comparisons of leftist efforts the MSM has tried to make to the Tea Party movement over the years, this is the first time that they’re referring to something that isn’t astroturfed from the top-down. Back in 2010, the press was pretending that a hastily organized bit of nonsense called the “Coffee Party” was going to be a force.
They did the same with the Occupy movement. I visited several Occupy camps in cities all over the country. They were all run by professional organizers, mostly from Big Labor.
This may be something that won’t go anywhere. The entrenched power elite for either party in D.C. tend to band together to fight outside-the-Beltway threats. Whatever the case, it’s obvious that the Democrats aren’t one big, united happy family heading into November.