Over the weekend, Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared on a video with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. The two self-styled democratic socialists were campaigning for Brent Welder in Kansas City. In the video, the telegenic young Marxist boasted that “We’re gonna flip this seat red in November,” accidentally confusing the Republican Red for the Democratic Blue.
A minor gaffe, to be sure, but it’s interesting to consider the political party colors, which were reversed not too long ago. Red has traditionally been the color of Communist, Marxist, socialist, and other leftist movements since the nineteenth century. According to a piece from The Smithsonian (linked above and here), the media’s first usage of different colors to demonstrate presidential election results occurred in the 1976 race, in which Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter won when Mississippi went “red.” Apparently, media outlets used the colors interchangeably until the 2000 election; we’ve stuck to red for Republicans and blue for Democrats since then.
In retrospect, though, the red coloring fits more with the ideology, goals, and history of the Democratic Party, and particularly its progressive wing (which, I would argue, is most of the party at this point). Lately, Democrats have been flaunting their true colors unabashedly.
Take Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, for example. She won a much-discussed upset in the Democratic primary for a New York congressional district against a powerful incumbent, Joe Crowley. Her politics are stridently Leftist: she supports Medicare for all, the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the forgiveness of all student loan debt, and a plethora of other unrealistic, expensive causes.
She’s also a much more appealing—and, therefore, more dangerous—face for “democratic” socialism than its other ubiquitous standard-bearer, Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders is an aging, old-school socialist of the Trotskyite variety, much like his British counterpart, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. He’s never held a serious job outside of politics (which he entered in his forties), and he now looks like a kooky mad scientist who could disappear in a pile of dust and bones if a strong wind hit him (or if the deal he made with that necromancer is broken).
Ocasio-Cortez, on the other hand, is 28, and has the sort of Millennial profile that is common for my confused generation: she worked as a bartender until a year ago; she’s passionate about many subjects, but not well-versed in any of them; she’s over-educated to the point of uselessness (see the previous phrase).
She’s also super telegenic and—except for some unfortunately-timed photos—a babe, and a Latina at that.
That’s a combination that Democrats can’t resist. Like President Barack Obama—who was cool, African-American, a community organizer, and had a messiah complex—Democrats want a candidate who parrots radical ideologies while also validating them emotionally. The hope is that an attractive young candidate will help them in future elections; thus, the constant touting of Ocasio-Cortez as the “future of the Democratic Party.”
Never mind that NY-14 congressional district that Ocasio-Cortez will soon represent (there’s not much chance of a Republican challenger succeeding in this district, which is a +29 D district) is nearly 50% Hispanic. “Hispanic” is a tricky term, because it covers a number of different groups, but these aren’t your third- or fourth-generation Texas Hispanics (the ones who make up about half of the ICE agents Ocasio-Cortez wants out of a job); these are likely recent immigrants who, regardless of race, traditionally vote Democratic. Some of them no-doubt originate from countries accustomed to leftist populist politicians.
Regardless, the Left is stripping down the last pretenses of being “moderate” or in favor of “common sense,” although you’ll still hear some use that phrase. In the wake of President Trump’s election and administration, the Democratic Party has become increasingly open about its desire to soak the rich, redistribute wealth, take on a host of burdensome social and economic responsibilities, and generally move the nation further along toward socialism.
Outside of some parts of the South and the Midwest, the idea of the old-school “conservative Democrat” is long dead; it’s only now that the Democratic Party is showing its true colors.