The Bronx: socialist ground zero
The Bronx is quite an anomaly in the overall liberal tapestry that is New York City. It's not 100% liberal like Manhattan and Brooklyn, and it's certainly not as red as conservative Staten Island. Instead, residents of the beautiful borough are cut from the cloth of folk who believe in moderate politics and sensible approaches to policy. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that one of the nation's hottest Democratic stars is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic candidate for New York's 14th Congressional District, which takes in the Bronx and Queens. On a much more local level, Ocasio-Cortez has found a fellow self-avowed socialist comrade in 32-year-old Alessandra Biaggi, Democratic candidate for New York's 34th state Senate district. Besides their socialist inclinations, they also share the labels of "underdog," "longshot," "feminist," and "Democratic candidate."
The most fascinating aspect of these politicians is the primary victories they scored against two of the biggest Bronx political kahunas, Congressman Joseph Crowley and state senator Jeff Klein, entrenched figures of the Bronx political swamp for nearly twenty years. Although they served in New York City, they maintained moderate stances on political issues, at least while in their districts. So now Crowley, the man who was well positioned to be the heir to Nancy Pelosi's throne, and Klein, the leader of the renegade Independent Democratic Conference in the New York State Senate, are on the outside looking in. With no serious GOP contenders slated to run against the female candidates, the socialists are firmly poised to win their respective races come Tuesday.
Some might argue that this reproach of swamp politics is a backlash against President Trump and the MAGA message. But it goes deeper than that. The Democratic Party had been straying to the extreme left before Barack Obama was elected. The Bernie Sanders campaign paved the way for 2018 to be a socialist coming-out party. As a Bronxite, I'm perplexed that the borough that holds the poorest congressional district in the country would vote in candidates that lean farther left than the swamp creatures that preceded them. At the very least, our borough will be an experiment, a guinea pig, for how socialist policies do nothing to help the middle class and poor. The rest of the country should place the Bronx under a microscope and closely observe the outcome of the socialist experiment that we have voted ourselves into.
Tom Copper is a pseudonym.