Might Republican Anthony Pappas beat socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in November after all?
Part of the 'narrative' about Democratic Socialist of America congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in the wake of her blowout victory against ten-time Democrat Joe Crowley, is that her path to Congress has always been nice and clear, her victory is assured, she'll win the congressional seat handily. After all, she represents a lefty district and none of those people will ever vote for a Republican, right? She will have to face a Republican in November, Anthony Pappas. But ...game over, she can buy her plane ticket to Washington now.
Well, maybe. But there are some interesting complications.
Number one, the pair of them, Joe Crowley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the two Democrats, are now openly fighting on Twitter. Based on the Tweets, it sounds as though it's even more bitter than it appears. Ocasio-Cortez started it, tweeting this one:
.@repjoecrowley stated on live TV that he would absolutely support my candidacy.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) July 12, 2018
Instead, he’s stood me up for all 3 scheduled concession calls.
Now, he’s mounting a 3rd party challenge against me and the Democratic Party- and against the will of @NYWFP.https://t.co/Xvb6Jk8N8q
Crowley fired back, tweeting this one:
Alexandria, the race is over and Democrats need to come together. I’ve made my support for you clear and the fact that I’m not running. We’ve scheduled phone calls and your team has not followed through. I’d like to connect but I’m not willing to air grievances on Twitter. https://t.co/hxEeWEpI2O— Joe Crowley (@JoeCrowleyNY) July 12, 2018
New York City has some goofy political rules, explained here by Vox, which allow third, fourth, fifth parties all over the ballot. A commie-sounding party among them, the Working Families Party, still had Joe Crowley as its endorsed candidate on the ballot, and Joe has refused to take it off, even though he says he's all behind Ocasio-Cortez in the November ballot. Yet inexplicably, he refuses to take his name off that WFP slot, meaning, New Yorkers, many of whom are comfortable picking commies and far-leftists anyway, could split their vote between the two candidates. If they split hard enough, it may well mean that Pappas could actually mop up in this rubble and come out the winner.
"Frankenstein's monster always returns to the castle," as Fox News commentator, Derek Hunter (who works for the Daily Caller) aptly put it. He explained that because Democrats have staked their fortunes on identity politics and other special interest politics, it's now come back to bite them.
Even the New York Times editorial page is wringing its hands about this.
There are additional winds at Pappas' back that the press hasn't noticed much: Ocasio-Cortez isn't popular with the Democratic establishment, which might damp turnout, particularly in an election where everyone takes it for granted that Ocasio-Cortez will win. Turnout itself was abysmally low in the primary, the one Ocasio-Cortez won in her surprise victory, so there could be a lot of latent Crowley supporters lying around who might be roused. It all suggests a split vote among Democrats may happen. There's also the reality that Ocasio-Cortez really is a fluke, not a signal of a broad trend, because the great blue wave of Democrats retaking office never happened, and the Democrats who did win tended to be moderate Democrats, as Frank Bruni, in a decently argued piece (for once), wrote here. So if the denizens of Queens and Bronx aren't up for a leftwing extremist, they might not actually vote for her. Rudy Giuliani, remember, was able to take some of these districts a couple decades ago, much to everyone's surprise.
And oh, most importantly, the Trump era is an era of surprises. The great blue state of California surprised everyone with the second-place primary finish of hardcore Republican John Cox for governor. Could Pappas do the same? It's not that absurd anymore, especially if the GOP takes strategic advantage, to imagine the same thing happening in New York. Who wants to be represented, after all, by a socialist in the wake of the horrors of Venezuela?