Froma Harrop: Time for Democrats to primary AOC

From the commentary: Ocasio-Cortez has a long record of pushing primary challenges to Democrats deemed insufficiently radical. These attempts are almost always unsuccessful though draining to the incumbent.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., stands outside the U.S Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14, 2018.
Bloomberg file photo
We are part of The Trust Project.

Hakeem Jeffries seems poised to replace Nancy Pelosi as leader of the House Democrats. A Black political moderate, the Brooklyn congressman is often likened to Barack Obama. Even-tempered, he is known to "play" with most of the children in Washington. And at 52, he represents a generational change from the 82-year-old Pelosi.

Froma Harrop Commentary
Tribune graphic
More Froma Harrop
Summary: Demand for gasoline keeps rising. But so apparently is demand for space on the roads. Moan about high gas prices, if you must. The traffic doesn't seem to have noticed.
Summary: If the activist left succeeded in portraying itself as the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, the fault lies in much of the political media. Rather than sending Democrats a message, California has sent the media a message on where Democrats really stand on crime. ... Guess what? They don't like it.
Summary: Had Cuellar lost to Cisneros in the Texas primary, the results would not have been a new lefty in Congress but another Democratic seat lost to a Republican. Smart progressives know that real power comes from supporting candidates, who, even if not their ideal, can get elected.
Summary: OK. We don't really know whether big movies with a touch of IQ will bring in audiences the theaters need. Let's just say the coming attractions were doing their bit. "Jurassic World: Dominion," here we come.

Who among Democrats would have a problem with him? Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would have a problem. She also has problems with President Joe Biden and, frankly, the mainstream Democratic Party off which she feeds. A preening socialist princess, she has done much to entertain Fox News and cost the Democrats their House majority.
"The last time I ran into AOC," said Sean Patrick Maloney, one of four Democrats to lose his suburban New York district to a Republican, "we were beating her endorsed candidate two to one in a primary, and I didn't see her one minute of these midterms helping our House majority."

Ocasio-Cortez has a long record of pushing primary challenges to Democrats deemed insufficiently radical. These attempts are almost always unsuccessful though draining to the incumbent. Shortly after she was first elected to Congress in 2018, Ocasio-Cortez reportedly put Jeffries on her list of Democrats to get rid of.

She didn't follow through, but the threat prompted Jeffries to help start a group called Team Blue, which raised money for Democrats being challenged from the left. The time has come for Team Blue to turn the threats around and support good progressives willing to primary the homewreckers of the left fringe.


They might also consider Pramila Jayapal, another pain in the Democrats' butt. Right before the midterms, the Seattle-area rep led a left-wing bid to join the right wing in questioning American support of Ukraine. She presented that proposal just as Ukraine was winning back territory while its people were being terrorized by Russian missiles. So appalled was the Biden administration and other Democrats that the group quickly withdrew their letter.

To Ocasio-Cortez, Biden exists to be "critiqued." Days after he was elected president — and still putting together a muscular program to deal with climate change — Ocasio-Cortez sent out a letter accusing him of ignoring the problem and asking for money.

She has refused to say whether she would endorse Biden if he ran for a second term. Even Rep. Ilhan Omar, the controversial "Squad" member from Minnesota, said "of course" she would.

Ocasio-Cortez incensed many of her constituents by voting against the infrastructure bill, the Democrats' greatest achievement. She's against bringing back the deduction for state and local taxes, in effect, supporting the Republican move to punish high-tax blue states, like her own.

New York Mayor Eric Adams is in constant battle with her. For one thing, he's long opposed New York state's controversial bail law, credited with the loss of those suburban seats. Naturally, Ocasio-Cortez defends it and hits back by accusing Adams of exaggerating crime. Like Jayapal, she had played around with "defund the police" nonsense.

It's true that crime is nowhere near the epidemic levels of several decades ago. It's also true that a few gruesome crimes, looped by Fox and the New York Post, had freaked out voters. To win elections, you have to address the electorate's concerns. Right?

More Commentary:
From the commentary: In another America where laws were once supposed to be equally enforced (the exception being the rule) and truth was not personal, this would likely not have been a problem.
From the commentary: (The judge) said he’d alert everyone when his ruling was coming. ... And that he would give everyone a chance to respond before he released the report, if (it was to be) released.
From the commentary: It's clear that whatever else happens, sets should be safer as a result of what Baldwin did.
From the commentary: By passing bipartisan laws and enforcing strong ethics, our elected leaders can once again demonstrate that they are working for the people and promoting the common good.
From the commentary: People who threaten to blow up an airplane if their political demands aren't met are political terrorists.
From the commentary: A policy of complete openness in most areas of information would lead to a more useful debate of national security issues and perhaps sounder policy choices.
From the commentary: More than anything else, Democrats’ current harmony reflects the fact that few party members now see themselves as facing such a dilemma (back home).
From the commentary: Every day is a new embarrassment, not just for (George Santos) but for the Republicans in Congress.
From the commentary: It is time to recognize obesity in childhood and adolescence for the complex chronic disease that it is.
From the commentary: To be clear, their questions are mainly about determining the best way to deliver care to teens — not about the value of treatment itself.

That's assuming you want to win elections. Jeffries and Adams are pragmatic and popular politicians. They know what their working-class voters want while winning fans among diverse populations.

Asked about the Jeffries' likely ascension to minority leader, Ocasio-Cortez would not give a straight answer. She did say, however, that there was "healing that needs to be done in our caucus."


Not quite. Ocasio-Cortez and company stand in the way of Democrats' retaining real power. They don't merit healing. They deserve replacement.

Froma Harrop is an American writer and author. She can be reached at or on Twitter @FromaHarrop.


Related Topics: COMMENTARY
What To Read Next
"Life is short, ends in a moment, and we don’t think much about it some days. ... It’s a scenic highway, and we should keep it that way, go a bit slower, and enjoy life."
Leadership takes honest reflection and thinking about the needs of others, Jenny Schlecht writes. With that in mind, do we have the right leaders to get a new farm bill passed by Sept. 30?
"Church worship now competes with everything from professional sports to kids activities to household chores. ... we can either have a frank conversation about what church can be, or we can continue to watch the pews empty in cherished houses of worship across the country."
When Katie Pinke directed her daughter to a beef expert in preparation for her speech meet, it made her think about the need for trusted ag sources of information.