Lessons From and for AOC
Thank you for an excellent cover story, “The AOC Effect,” about the Democratic Party’s new rock star, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [Sept. 10/17]. Although I am pleased that Ocasio-Cortez is campaigning for other progressive candidates, she needs to remember one thing: The guy she beat, Congressman Joe Crowley, also received national attention and was a front-runner for Speaker of the House. He neglected his district while soaking up praise from Democrats across the country. It’s more fun traveling the country and getting applause from people all over the United States than helping a senior citizen with a problem or fighting to get funds to renovate a low-income housing complex. But to win reelection, our future congressperson must remember that all politics is local. She needs to spend most of her time addressing the needs of her district and constituents. She needs to prove that her brand of politics will improve the quality of life for the people she will be elected to represent.
Buried deep within John Nichols’s article on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are some simple winning ideas that Democrats need to repeat often and in unison across the country. Had they done this in the past four election cycles, especially in 2016, they would have won the presidency and the Senate, if not the House.
1. Democrats will place the needs of working people ahead of the wealthy and big business.
2. Republicans, not Democrats, will be the party of the private sector.
3. Democrats will fight for affordable health care, affordable college and trades training, affordable housing, renewable-energy programs, and meaningful jobs programs in the hardest-hit and largely ignored areas of the country.
4. Democrats will fight to protect our environment and natural resources, rebuild our infrastructure, and ensure meaningful retirement protections for everyone.
Unfortunately, Nichols repeated a dangerous and unnecessary term in his article. These are not democratic-socialist ideas. They are common sense, because they are programs that will truly help working families and the middle class. The Republican Party proved decades ago that they have no interest in these folks. Democrats do.
A National Nadir
Thanks to Katha Pollitt for her wonderfully written column, “When They Go Low” [July 30/Aug. 6], which describes, among other things, the GOP’s hypocritical snuggling with the fanatical Christian right. Not only do they want to sweep women and people of color back a century, but the America they really want is a bleak return to the religious zealotry of the Pilgrims. No wonder “witch hunting” has become so prominent in our national discussion.