Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Party’s newest sensation, kicked off a series of fundraisers in Los Angeles Thursday and Friday, co-hosting events with Occupy ICE L.A. and the Democratic Socialists of America while shunning establishment donors.
Occupy ICE is a radical organization that protests U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices and hearkens back to the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011-12. Its message jibes with the “Abolish ICE” slogan Ocasio-Cortez embraced in last month’s primary race in New York, when she upset incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, the fourth-ranked Democrat in the U.S. House. Ocasio-Cortez held a low-dollar luncheon fundraiser with Occupy ICE L.A. on Thursday in downtown Los Angeles. According to the group’s Facebook page, Ocasio-Cortez then spent Thursday afternoon meeting “with LA organizers and activists” for the cause.
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) are a fringe group that has enjoyed a surge in membership since Ocasio-Cortez’s rise. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the sold-out event, which will take place Friday evening at the First Unitarian Church, has been billed as “a conversation about ‘taking on the political establishment’ and how best to create ‘a better, socialist future.'”
The Reporter also notes that Ocasio-Cortez has avoided the traditional Democratic Party fundraising circuit in Hollywood — either because she lacks the connections, or because she is deliberately avoiding the traditional donors behind the party establishment:
In a break with tradition, Ocasio-Cortez, who labels herself a democratic socialist, has no plans to meet with any of the entertainment industry’s Democratic political power brokers while she is in town. She will not be having coffee with Carl Reiner. There will be no sitdown with Jeffrey Katzenberg or David Geffen. No $5,000-a-plate dinner at Robert Iger’s mansion in Brentwood.
“None of our clients are meeting with her,” says Marie Lloyd of the political and philanthropic consultancy Gonring, Spahn & Associates, which counts Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg as clients. And none of the other political operatives or members of the industry’s donor class reached by phone were aware of any meetings scheduled with Ocasio-Cortez. Some weren’t even aware she was coming to town.
Some chalk up Ocasio-Cortez’s not making the rounds to inexperience and a lack of campaign infrastructure to make the appropriate outreach and phone calls. But others say it’s reflective of a schism that has developed within the Democratic Party between the establishment wing and a more progressive wing comprised of many members who supported Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 party primary. Ocasio-Cortez, a former campaign organizer for Sanders, clearly falls into the latter camp.
Ocasio-Cortez has already held fundraising events in San Francisco and Stockton, as Breitbart News noted earlier this week.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.