Against the Current No. 228, January/
Election 2024 Deform & Dysfunction
— The Editors
Door Opens to Return of Jim Crow
— Malik Miah
History of the VRA: from Landmark to Dead Letter
— Maik Miah
"Talking Socialism" on the Job
— Garrett Brown
A Joint Israeli-U.S. Genocide
— David Finkel
Weaponizing Antisemitism: The Battle at Indiana University
— Purnima Bose
Abortion Rights Battle in Poland: Changes Not Forthcoming?
— Jacek Dalecki & Justyna Zając
— Ivan Drury Zarin
Defeat of the Chilean Constitution
— Carolina Bank Muñoz
Rustin, the Movie, the Organizer
— Joel Geier
- About Rustin
- Boris Kargarlitsky Released!
- Labor on the Move
TDU's Rank-and-File Convention
— Michael Friedman
Labor Calls for Ceasefire Now!
— Dianne Feeley
UAW Faces the Tasks Ahead
— Dianne Feeley
- Swedish Workers Strike Tesla
- Review Essay
Israel's West Bank Inferno & the Responsibility of Socialists
— Alan Wald
- U.S. Politics Today
AOC's Journey to the Center of Politics
— Kim Moody
Unprecedented Times, or Media Narrative
— Harvey J. Graff
Torture and the Law
— Matthew Clark
Fire Alarm -- It's Up to Us
— Michael McCallister
WITH MOST OF the socialist and left progressives in the House of Representatives endorsing the centrist leadership of the Democratic Caucus and Joe Biden’s bid for re-election, the project inspired largely by Bernie Sanders’ 20216 run for the presidency that was to transform the Democratic Party appears to have hit the wall of establishment resistance and dissident adaptation.
Not surprisingly, the records of these radicals have come under closer examination, none more so than that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. AOC is of course the most visible and widely publicized of this generation of electoral rebels who compose the Squad and its progressive allies in Congress.
A battle of the balance sheets has broken out as critics and supporters attempt to assess whether or not AOC and other Squad members have adapted to the norms of the Democratic Party center, its leadership, and the legislative “framework” of the Biden administration. I will argue, however, that this balance sheet of good-versus-bad acts fails to grasp the power relations and processes that push “elected” leftists toward the political and operational center of the Democratic Party.
A recent example of this balance sheet approach is blogger and academic Freddie DeBoer’s New York Magazine article “AOC Is Just a Regular Old Democrat Now” (July. 2023). DeBoer’s criticisms of AOC point with justification to her well-known transgressions of socialist principle and high-visibility missteps, notably: voting “present” rather than “no” on the 2021 Iron Dome gift to Israel; attending the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s incredibly elite 2021 “Gala” albeit in the famous “Tax the Rich” gown; voting “yes” on Biden’s railroad strike ban and imposed tentative agreement in 2022.
I would add the softening of her criticism of Biden’s immigration policy which she simply calls “weak,” and as New York Times interviewer Lulu Garcia-Navarro (August 30, 2023) tried repeatedly to get a straight answer on, failing to visit the border once elected.
These are all valid criticisms. For DeBoer, however, there is no positive side on AOC’s balance sheet of political behavior. DeBoer’s explanation for this comes from what he says AOC’s defenders tell him:
“I’m constantly told that the problem lies in expecting anything from her at all. Hey, she’s just one congresswoman! She’s hemmed in by her party and an undemocratic system.”
In fact, AOC and other Squad members have not been AWOL in the House for all this time. Aside even from the well-known political faux pas, they have like their more conventional colleagues introduced dozens of bills, amendments and resolutions, which after all is what you do there. Most call for good things, a few have even been voted up by the House.
The problem lies not in the inability to do anything, but in the dynamic that degrades what is possible from any radical comprehensive program, such as the Green New Deal or Medicare-For-All, to increasingly piecemeal reforms that fail to address the massive problems facing humanity in a comprehensive fashion that one would expect from socialists.
Jacobin staff writer Branko Marcetic has answered DeBoer’s critique by listing AOC’s progressive accomplishments as he counted them (Jacobin, August 16, 2023). The list includes some significant victories within the House — although, as is often the case, most never made it into law.
A notable example is AOC’s 2020 effort to repeal the Faircloth Amendment to the 1937 Housing Act, which limits the construction of public housing. Clearly, this would have been a breakthrough. As Marcetic points out this passed the House in 2020 during her first term. It failed to become law in the 116th Congress, however, and her effort to reintroduce the repeal in 2021 in the 117th went nowhere.
Marcetic provides numerous other examples, most of which faced a similar fate. Assuming that effort counts, Marcetic scores a point for AOC’s good deeds while underplaying her misdeeds and the ultimate fate of most of her efforts.
Both these analyses are based on a balance sheet approach to political assessment. In DeBoer’s case, the positive side for AOC is zero, while for Marcetic, by my count of the actual legislation he lists, successful or not, the balance is more like 14 “good” against a few well-known “bad” moves.
The problem with the balance sheet approach, however, is that it lacks assessment of trajectory, context or process. Thus Marcetic doesn’t seem to notice that of the 14 or so actual legislative accomplishments he lists, 10 were made in AOC’s first term, only three in the second term, and one amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2023 in the current 118th Congress.
Beyond the simple numbers is the question of the political trajectory of AOC’s proposals and accomplishments. In his balance sheet, Marcetic does not mention that the scale and ambition of her legislative proposals moved from comprehensive and potentially transformative, as in the Green New Deal or even the repeal of the Faircloth Amendment, to mostly marginal and piecemeal proposals.
In other words, the problem isn’t just obvious mistakes or bad votes, but the direction of activity. Not including the routine re-introduction of the Green New Deal resolution, in the 118th Congress, as of November 2023, according to Congress.gov, AOC had introduced only three bills, which remain stuck in committees, and three amendments all of which failed, the smallest number by this time in a session.
As to process, DeBoer says: “the macro situation is this: Establishment Democrats and their liberal media mouthpieces expect total electoral loyalty from leftists while offering us little in return.” This is a description of Democratic leadership hopes perhaps, but not much analysis of how loyalty, whether total or conditional, is actually achieved.
For one thing, Squad members do issue unwanted proposals and dissents from longtime Democratic policies. This has been particularly evident with the opposition of most Squad members to the party’s unconditional support for Israel.
For another, even rebels like AOC get the occasional reward for good behavior; for example, co-chair with John Kerry of Biden’s 2020, albeit toothless climate change campaign panel — or elevation to a “ranking” member of the House Oversight Committee. These are signs of the Democrats’ traditional carrot and stick approach to incorporating would-be radicals.
Marcetic, who has written much about the limits of Democratic neoliberalism and the Biden administration’s adherence to capital’s preferences, nonetheless says nothing about process. Instead, he blames the crisis of major left electoral organizations like the Justice Democrats on the “left pessimism” of those who focus too much on the bad side of AOC’s balance sheet.
The Vortex of Wealth, Power & Hierarchy
The resistance of Democratic Party leaders, politicians, funders, consultants and so on to large comprehensive proposals to reign in the autonomy of capital, and confiscate significant portions of current and accumulated profits and wealth, is rooted in the party’s historic, contemporary, multiple and complex connections to and dependence on the wealth of various sectors of capital — as well as on the unspoken assumption that “the system,” whatever its flaws, is the only viable one and that its health depends on that of “private enterprise.”
This does not mean the impossibility of reform in general or even of “big ticket” programs like Biden’s Build Back Better infrastructure and climate agenda, in which much of the apparent spending is offset by a long timeframe for implementation (10 years) and direct payments and tax credits to the private firms that do the actual work.
Rather, it is a recognized contradiction that poses limits to comprehensive change under the best of circumstances, which become only more severe under the conditions of slow growth and low productivity since the Great Recession.
Much of the argument from the left that favors “tactically contesting partisan elections on the Democratic ballot line”, as the Democratic Socialists of America’s 2023 convention resolution puts it, however, denies or simply ignores any analysis of this context and the structural reality of the Democratic Party itself.
Yet volumes of studies from mainstream academics to left analysts, as well as constant reporting from multiple media sources, reveal a party that has become a well-organized, financed, and staffed multi-layered hierarchy of organizations whose budgets run in the hundreds of millions with a huge proportion of that funding coming from capital and the wealthy.(1)
This is a cheap investment for capital compared to radical and expensive reforms such as Medicare-For-All or guaranteed jobs for all. While most leftists usually understand the impact of corporate power and lobbying on Congress generally, the advocates of the Democratic path to office fail to appreciate that these same forces are also at work inside the multi-layered hierarchy of the party’s national and state organizations, legislative caucuses, and campaign committees such as the House-based Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC, pronounced “D-triple C”).
The first engagement with all of this for candidates newly elected to the House of Representatives is with the Democratic Caucus, whose leaders organize the House committees and control the party’s involvement in the legislative process.
The Democratic Caucus is a well-structured and staffed hierarchy with a dozen “whips,” most of whose members rely on wealthy donors and costly political consultants to win and hold office. Its powerful leadership is elected by the Caucus members, but there is seldom doubt that the party’s political center will dominate.
Here is how a major Congressional Quarterly textbook describes the party organization in Congress:
“Today’s Congress is a mature institution characterized by complex internal structures and procedures. It is led by a well-defined party apparatus, with each party organized according to its established rules and headed by a hierarchy of leaders and whips, elected and appointed. Party organization extends to policy committees, campaign committees, research committees, and numerous task forces. Minority and majority party leaders command considerable budget and staff resources. Taken together they employ some four hundred staff aides, and various party committees employ about an equal number.”(2)
Of course, the Caucus is not a monolith and contains a certain range of opinion. Economic, social, climate, pandemic and other conditions change and sometimes impose themselves even on Congress. Disagreements arise, and some shifts in policy become necessary. The pressures on dissident members from Caucus leaders, along with their control over committee appointments and the legislative process, are nevertheless real, and in today’s polarized Congress with its narrow party majorities the pressures demanding party “unity” are intense.
As FiveThirtyEight’s tracking of House votes show, in 2022 Democratic members voted by over ninety percent with the president, including the Squad, reaching the highest level in 50 years. Squad scores were above ninety percent and only slightly below the Caucus norm, due almost entirely to negative votes on a handful of defense and police spending proposals.(3)
The result is not so much “total loyalty” as DeBoer suggests, but an operational loyalty that allows dissidents to say whatever they wish (within reason) and even vote “nay” particularly when it doesn’t matter, as with defense and police appropriations that are certain to pass, so long as they do what is needed to get the presidents’ and the Caucus’s major goals through the legislative meatgrinder.
This is the context in which elected socialists and genuine left progressives find themselves in today’s Congress when they “tactically” enter political office via the Democratic ballot line. There is nothing “hollowed-out” about the Democratic Caucus or the well-funded and staffed Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that plays a major role in selecting, backing, and directing funds to favored House candidates.
AOC herself realized this toward the end of her first term when she told The Intercept (December 16, 2020), that the problem was not just the “two personalities” leading the party in the House and Senate, but “the structural shifts in power in the House both in process and rule to concentrate power in party leadership, of both parties, frankly, but in the Democratic Party leadership to such a degree that an individual member has far less power than they did 30, 40,50 years ago.”(4)
Tactics, of course, are supposed to be driven by strategy. For most of those socialists who argue in favor of taking office via the Democratic ballot line the “strategy” is to transform or at least push the Democratic Party to the left.
As Abbott and Guastella, who favor using the Democratic Party ballot line, nevertheless argued in 2019, the nature of the party along with dependence on money “compound to effectively induce even the most progressive candidates “upward” and rightward — that is closer to the party leadership and toward the center politically.”(5)
It is the radicals that are transformed in practice, not the party. It is the tactic that drives the strategy, not the other way around. Along this journey to the political center, not only are their once transformative and radical policy goals abandoned in practice for piecemeal reforms, but the very means with which to fight for change are themselves modified or dropped almost from the start.
This isn’t a matter of personal character flaws as DeBoer often implies, nor is it simply the old saw about legislative compromise, trade-offs, log-rolling, etc. It is a process of socialization to the norms of the real context that election as a Democrat entails. The party Caucus, after all, exists not only to make day-to-day legislative decisions, but precisely to produce “unity,” that is conformity, in practice.
The process is sometimes opaque because the radical politicians are not required to give up their ideology or formally abandon their ambitious goals, or cease condemning the powers-that-be. It is advertised and excused as a process of “learning” and “maturing,” words AOC has used to describe her development, as yesterday’s critics of the neoliberal leadership become today’s partners and the old radical program is quietly disassembled into small, piecemeal proposals and routine defeats.
Organization & Opposition or Adaptation?
If the goal of taking office as a Democrat is to transform the party or drive it significantly to the left in terms of policy and legislation, one would expect the socialists and left progressives to act as an organized left opposition to the centrist leadership of the party.
This never happened. Any notion of radical confrontation was quickly discarded after AOC’s one-time sit-in in Nancy Pelosi’s office with the Sunrise Movement in favor of the Green New Deal. Although AOC introduced it in each new Congress, the Green New Deal resolution has been allowed to die in silence without a fight in the eleven committees to which it is referred.
Similarly, the idea of forcing a floor vote on Medicare-For-All by threatening an organized withholding of support for Pelosi’s re-election as party leader in 2020 was opposed by AOC and dropped.(6)
As early as 2019 AOC explained how she had gone through a “loss of innocence and naïveté.” The first signs of AOC’s adaptation to a more “collegial” approach to the party was the mainstreaming of her own staff organization with the replacement of the more outspoken radical chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti with mainstreamer and former Kamala Harris aide Airel Eckblad.
This was done soon after Hakeem Jeffries, by then chair of the Democratic Caucus, sent “a biting warning shot tweet”, later deleted, about Chakrabarti, according to The New York Times (September 18, 2019, Updated April 17, 2020). She also fired Corbin Trent who argued that she should advocate for a fully universal healthcare system like that in Britain. In his place came another mainstream professional hired gun, Lauren Hitt, who had worked for Beto O’Rourke among others.
A fight for the Green New Deal or Medicare-For-All would require organization — both mobilization outside of Congress and an organized caucus or voting bloc inside — not just the largely ceremonial lining up of “co-sponsors.” As to any independent organization within the House, Politico (March 30, 2020) reported that AOC’s idea for a “Corporate-Free” Caucus analogous to the confrontational Republican Freedom Caucus was dropped early-on.
While the four politically left women of color elected in 2018 soon became known as “the Squad,” that label remains a “brand” rather than a caucus or voting bloc. Although they are obviously like-minded and often vote the same way and no doubt compare notes, they have never acted as a bloc.
They made this clear from the start during a 2019 interview by CBS’s Gayle King, as reported in Current Affairs (May/June 2023) and viewed online by this author, the Squad-four asserted that they did not act as a political bloc. As Ayanna Pressley put it, “There is no insurgency…There is nothing [conspiratorial]…We take those votes alone.”
Instead, they chose the conventional path of joining the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), itself a nonconfrontational and politically contradictory group whose chair Pramila Jayapal, insists, “We do not want to be compared to the (Republican) Freedom Caucus.”
Furthermore, as one former congressional aide and current Georgetown academic described the CPC’s limits to FiveThirtyEight (September 29, 2021), “The progressive caucus has never really wanted to take the next step and fight stuff on the floor. They work within the system.” That was certainly the case with Medicare-For-All in 2022 when it finally came to a hearing in the Oversight Committee, but nothing more.
Nor is the Congressional Progressive Caucus ideologically consistent. Twenty percent of its current 103 members also belong to the centrist New Democrat Coalition, almost three times the proportion of the expanded Squad.
The lack of an organized left opposition and the pressures for conformity from leaders and members of the Caucus are further underlined by the fact that AOC and the others have never actually opposed the centrist leadership of the Democratic Caucus. On the contrary, they have consistently endorsed and voted for it.
While AOC was frequently quoted in 2019 and 2020 as believing that Speaker Nancy Pelosi should “go,” she argued there was no alternative and urged a vote for Pelosi in the leadership elections in both the 116th and 117th Congresses. Votes on the Caucus leadership are not symbolic acts, but endorsements of the leaders’ political direction. She could easily have abstained.
This endorsement of the centrist leadership was compounded when AOC along with the other Squad associates joined the unanimous Caucus vote to crown Hakeem Jeffries successor to Pelosi as party and minority leader in the current 118th Congress. Jeffries is not only a hardcore centrist and understudy of Pelosi’s but an avowed anti-socialist. As I have reported elsewhere, in concert with Pelosi and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Jeffries played a highly active role in opposing progressive primary challenges in the 2022 midterm elections.(7)
Along with the earlier decisions not to oppose the leadership, backing Jeffries was a choice to take the age-old alternative route of permeation — working within the political parameters of the “establishment” in the hope of having an impact through acceptance by the center of power.
Perhaps the most strategically contradictory sign of accommodation was AOC’s retreat from supporting the aggressive “primarying” of centrist incumbents in the House.
Challenging Democratic incumbents is, of course, frowned upon by the Caucus and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Nevertheless, this reluctance is particularly incomprehensible for someone who wants to change the Democratic Party, because there is no other way within the party to clear out the huge centrist and stand-pat incumbent majority of Democratic officeholders in the House and elsewhere.
The rate at which House incumbents win remained high at 94 percent as of 2022, and retirements and open seat contests are too few to provide a pathway to anything like a sizable presence in the Caucus, let alone in the House or Senate, or any state legislature for decades to come.
AOC had once hinted she might challenge Hakeem Jeffries in his nearby Brooklyn district, but this was never pursued. Her reluctance to support other left progressive primary challenges to centrist incumbents in the House, however, first appeared in practice when AOC refrained from endorsing Cori Bush in 2020. She had supported Bush in 2018 when they were both running for the first time and Bush lost, but in 2020 she declined to do so.
In fact, she endorsed only three of the eight candidates backed by the Justice Democrats (JD), the group that helped AOC win in 2018, who were challenging moderate or conservative incumbents. The three were Marie Newman in Illinois, Jessica Cisneros in Texas, both opposing anti-abortion incumbents on the far right of the party, and fellow (now former) DSAer Jamaal Bowman, the only candidate for possible Squad branding and the only one she supported who opposed a mainstream centrist incumbent.
The leadership PAC “Courage to Change” set-up by AOC in 2019 contributed to Newman and Cisneros, but otherwise focused on Republican-held seats, open seat contests, and general elections according to Politico (March 30, 2020) and Rolling Stone (February 21, 2020).
In 2022 AOC actually endorsed three candidates for the U.S. Senate and a full slate of thirteen candidates for New York State offices as well as Squad incumbents, but only three out of the eight left progressives endorsed by Bernie Sanders, Justice Democrats, and/or Our Revolution who were challenging incumbents in House midterm contests, according to FiveThirtyEight (September 27, 2023; CNN, June 7, 2022).
These were Cisneros, Nida Allam, a former Sanders’ campaign aide, and at the very last minute when it was too late to prevent her defeat, former Our Revolution chair Nina Turner. The party leadership turned its fire on Cisneros and Turner, who lost as did Allam. In 2022, AOC also endorsed Alessandra Biaggi, against Sean Maloney. But Biaggi, a former Hillary Clinton aid and assistant general council to Governor Andrew Cuomo, is not a left progressive and was not endorsed by Sanders, JD, or Our Revolution.
Following party protocol, AOC’s leadership PAC also contributed small amounts to 41 candidates mostly for general elections. This included 18 members of the centrist New Democrat Coalition and even a couple of conservative Blue Dogs. Clearly, AOC’s inconsistent and cautious approach to challenging incumbent centrists in the House is incompatible with any strategy for transforming or moving the Democratic Party.
Despite a significant number of open House seats in the 2022 Midterms, the net gains for left progressives were small. Of the 23 left candidates defined as those endorsed by either Bernie Sanders, Justice Democrats and/or Our Revolution, ten won their primary. Of the eight who challenged incumbents only one (Jamie McLoed Skinner) won, and she lost the general election.
Of the 15 who fought open seat primary contests, nine succeeded. This was down significantly from 2020 when left progressives won 22 out of 32 open seats, according to FiveThirtyEight (September 27, 2022). Altogether in 2022, 10 won and 13 lost their primaries. But three sitting left progressives as defined above lost to moderates in incumbent-versus-incumbent primary fights in redrawn districts, and three new challengers who won their primaries were defeated in the general election.
The net gain for 2022 was just four, none of whom won a primary challenge to a sitting incumbent.(8) It seems that the state-run primary is not as permeable a “tactic” as some would have it.
Counter-Offensive & Dead End Ahead
Prospects for the electoral left in 2024 are, if anything, significantly worse at the national level with the pressure intensifying to support moderates in swing districts and not rock the boat. Furthermore, several of the major left election campaign organizations, including Justice Democrats, face a financial crisis as small donations have shrunk and the costs of elections continue to soar.
The combined pressure for “unity” in the face of possible Republican advances or even the presidency in 2024, together with the financial crunch, have led the major left individual and organizational endorsers — Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, Bernie Sanders, and AOC — to refrain from endorsing or supporting challenges to incumbent Democrats as the election season heats up.
Even endorsements of state legislative candidates have been few so far. While this could change, any concerted advance by the electoral left seems highly unlikely in 2024. Indeed, a “counter-offensive” against left challengers and even incumbents was to be expected. Democratic groups like the Moderate PAC, for example, announced plans to raise $20 million to defend centrists against leftists as early as January 2023.
The Israel-Gaza war, moreover, has brought an acceleration of challenges to sitting left-wing and progressive House members critical of Israel’s disproportionate and remorseless bombing of Gaza that has taken over 15,000 lives, even when they denounced Hamas’ October 7 attack, which took 1200 Israeli lives.
Unconditional support for Israel is a longstanding core principle of Democratic Party foreign policy. It was always waiting to be a problem for those expressing sympathy or support for the Palestinian people. The outbreak (renewal) of the war with Hamas, and the subsequent refusal of nine Democrats to vote for a resolution funding and uncritically supporting Israel’s massive bombing, has brought renewed opposition to Squad members and others who have called for a ceasefire.
As reports from Politico (November 12, 2023), the New York Times (October 29, 2023; November 17, 2023), the Washington Post (November 1, 2023), and Associated Press (November 4, 2023) reveal, all original Squad members plus Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, and Summer Lee already face serious challengers in the 2024 Democratic primaries.
Ilhan Omer and Summer Lee, who narrowly won their 2022 primaries, are particularly vulnerable, but all will face renewed opposition. Key to this is the generous financing of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which receives big contributions from both Democratic and Republican wealthy donors.
AIPAC-allied Democratic Majority for Israel (DMI) has already begun running attack ads against Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman, and Summer Lee. Altogether, according to Slate, AIPAC is expected to spend $100 million to eliminate Squad and other pro-Palestinian House members.(9)
Already facing attack ads from AIPAC and DMI in the primaries, leaders of the Progressive Caucus met with party leader Jeffries on November 9, demanding that he act to “keep the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee out of Democratic primaries,” Politico reported (November 16, 2023). As Politico also noted, AIPAC is “a group that he still has close ties to.”(10)
Traditionally, the formal organizations of the party support its sitting members, and Jeffries has personally endorsed Ilhan Omar and promised to back all incumbents. Calling off AIPAC, however, is another matter. In reference to AIPAC’s primary interventions, Jeffries recently remarked “Outside groups are gonna do what outside groups are gonna do.”(11)
Furthermore, Jeffries has a record of combatting left challengers. In 2022 he used the allegedly independent, corporate-funded Team Blue PAC, which he co-chaired with Blue Dog Josh Gottheimer, alongside of AIPAC, to actively oppose left candidates in the primaries, including Nina Turner, Jessica Cisnero, and Summer Lee. Appealing to Jeffries for real protection in the primary is an act of desperation.
Coming in the wake of lost momentum since 2020, the financial crisis of progressive electoral organizations, the accelerating attack on Squad members and other left progressives on top of their own failure to gain real influence by adapting to the party’s political and power center, have together brought the electoral left to a standstill.
The institutional weight of the Democratic Party, with its national and state organizations, legislative caucuses (or conferences), campaign committees, wealthy ruling class backers, and costly consultants along with the pressures to conform in practice that these bring, inevitably negate any use of the Democratic ballot line as a “tactical” step to political transformation or independent organization.
The primary election on the Democratic ballot line is the gateway to this hierarchical institutional complex, not the path to a political and organizational opportunity or opening. For socialists, it is a dead end.
- For a detailed analysis of how the Democratic Party actually functions in the primaries see Kim Moody, “The ‘Class Ceiling’: Political Money and the Primary Election” Spectre Issue 6, Fall 2022, 34-55.
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- Roger H. Davidson, et al., Congress and Its Members, 17th Edition (Thousand Oaks CA: SAGE/CQPress, 2020), 26.
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- FiveThirtyEight, “Does Your Member of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?”, January 3, 2023, https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/biden-congress-votes/house/: Niele Lesniewski and Ryan Kelly, “2022 Vote Study: Division hit new high in Senate, fell in House,” Roll Call, March 24, 2023, https://rollcall.com/2023/03/24/2022-vote-studies-division-hit-new-high-in-senate-fell-in-house/ ; Ronald Brownstein, “The House reached a stunning new milestone this year,” CNN Politics, June 21, 2022, https://edition.cnn.com/2022/06/21/poltics-house-democrats-vote-unity/index.html
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- Jeremy Scahill, “AOC On Ending The Pelosi Era, Biden’s Corporate Cabinet, And The Battle For Medicare For All, “ Interview, The Intercept, December 16, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/12/16/intercepted-aoc-pelosi-biden-cabinet/
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- Jared Abbott and Dustin Guastella, “A Socialist Party in Our Time?”, Catalyst 3, no. 2 (Summer 2019), 33.
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- Lily Sánchez, “How AOC Went From Influencer to Influenced,” Current Affairs, May/June 2023, https://www.currentaffiars.org/2023/07/how-aoc-went-from-influencer-to-influenced/
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- Kim Moody, “Stuck in the Mud, Sinking to the Right: 2022 Midterm Elections,” Against the Current 223 (March/April 2023), 23-28.
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- Moody, “Stuck in the Mud,” 25.
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- Alecander Sammon, “The Squad Is About to Fight for Its political Life,” Slate, November 15, 2-023, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2023/11/squad-primary-battle-israel-gaza-pacs.html
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- In a meeting a week or so after October 7, between Congressional leaders and major Pro-Israel organizations, including AIPAC, Democratic party leaders pledged complete support to Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate retaliation and promised to increase financial and military aid. Not to be outdone in his show of unconditional sycophancy, Hakeem Jeffries called for “removal of Hamas from the earth.” He cited as precedent the Torah in which God rains down the flood that spares the righteous Noah but “eradicates” evil from the world. The flood, of course, also eradicated much of life on earth, hence the ark to save Noah. Nevertheless, Jeffries went on to say, “These verses remind us of the role that Israel must now play in eradicating evil,” according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, October 17, 2023. He did note that international law is supposed to protect Palestinian civilians, but that “this is a moment of accountability and Hamas will be washed away.” Floods don’t discriminate in who they “wash away,” neither do relentless bombings. No liberal “snow flake” is Representative Jeffries.
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- Sammon, “The Squad,” November 15, 2023.
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January-February 2024, ATC 228