Jonathan S. Tobin: Another Step to the Left for Democrats

(JNS) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t on her way to Congress because of her hostility to the State of Israel. The upset victory of a Democratic Socialist over one of the highest ranking Democrats in Congress, as well as the boss of the party in New York City’s Queens County, did not hinge on her declaring that Israel was perpetrating a “massacre” in Gaza and her call for members of the party to join in denouncing the Jewish state.

She beat Rep. Joe Crowley for a number of sound political reasons, including the demographics of a district with an overwhelmingly minority population and the way the Democratic base—the people who turn out to vote in primaries—is shifting hard left. Ocasio-Cortez ran on an essentially Socialist platform of Medicare for all and a federal jobs guarantee, as well as for the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which means open borders.

These stands were irresistible to outer borough Democrats, who were already ready to embrace the idea of replacing a conventional, middle-aged, white male career politician with a charismatic young Hispanic woman. But though her race may have helped, the fact is, she did even better in portions of her district like Astoria with younger white voters than she did in Hispanic or African-American neighborhoods.

Ocasio-Cortez’s victory is one more indication of how Democrats are changing, and anti-Israel sentiments are—as she boasted in an interview with Glenn Greenwald—no hindrance in gaining the support of Democrats, including many Jews these days.

What’s driving this trend?

Put it down to the way every aspect of American politics has become radicalized in the age of Trump. Republicans are prepared to tolerate U.S. President Donald Trump’s egregious statements and tweets in exchange for conservative policies and judges. But they also like him because they see him as willing to fight the left without being constrained by notions of fair play or civility.

At the same time, Democrats seem to think that the only rational response to Trump is to get behind radicals who also won’t pull their punches or behave in a civil manner while conducting a fight to the death against the GOP.

Both sides claim that their opponents started it, but that’s a non-issue. Just as establishment Republicans didn’t understand that a Trump win was what their base wanted, so, too, are conventional Democrats being swept away by the desire of their grassroots for extremists. The end result is the transformation of both parties into outlets for populists and ideological absolutists. But one of the casualties may also ultimately be bipartisan consensus in favor of Israel.

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Source: Christian Post