The education of Ocasio-Cortez: she now supports Pelosi for Speaker

Did someone explain to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the kind of vengeance a Speaker of the House can exact on a rebellious freshman Representative? Or has a brand new behavioral pattern entered her personal repertoire – carefully weighing alternatives and settling for the one that isn’t perfect, but merely better than the other choices, aka, “practicality”?

I don’t know the answer, but clearly something happened between leading protesters with a bullhorn outside Pelosi’s office and going on MSNBC Monday:

Ocasio-Cortez all but dismissed a group of 16 House Democrats who say they'll vote against Pelosi on the House floor, and said most on that list would be more conservative than Pelosi.

"If anything, I think that what it does is that it creates a window where we could potentially get more conservative leadership," Ocasio-Cortez told MSNBC on Monday night. "When you actually look at the signatories, it is not necessarily reflective of the diversity of the party."

"We have about 16 signatories," she added. "Fourteen of them are male, there are very few people of color in the caucus, there's very few ideological diversity. It's not like there are progressives that are signing on, it's not like you have a broad-based coalition."

That last swipe, using identity politics against the Pelosi rebels, sets her up as a useful minority ally of Pelosi, willing to employ the weapon Pelosi can’t wield as an elderly white woman.

My guess is that Ocasio-Cortez will continue to use her media visibility as a source of leverage over Pelosi to get attention to her favorite causes on the House floor. They are not exactly sisters in the struggle, but both have ample reason to use the other’s strengths to push their own goals, personal and political.

Watch closely what committee assignments Pelosi hands out to Ocasio-Cortez. That will tell you more about the deal that has been struck between the two women, representing the young progressive and the old establishment factions of the Democrats.

Photo credit: Mark Dillman

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