Dem Strategist: Ocasio-Cortez Has Already Suffered ‘Huge Defeat’ to Party Establishment

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, leaves a photo opportunity with the female Democratic members of the 116th Congress outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, January 4, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Democrat strategist Kristen Hawn predicts Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) will likely flounder at turning her policy prescriptions into law, arguing instead that the freshman congresswoman already failed at shaping the rules package, which she described as a “huge defeat” that few are discussing.

“The way she’s going about the legislating process, I don’t think she’s going to be that effective. I really don’t,” Hawn, who currently serves as an adviser to Agenda Global, told the Hill.TV Monday.

Hawn continued: “I would actually pose that she has already had a major defeat. She came out immediately against the pay-go rules being reinstated in the rules package, was soundly defeated behind the scenes when more moderate members of the caucus, including members of the Blue Dog coalition, went to the Speaker and said ‘we have the votes to take this rules package down if you do not include it. It was a huge defeat. Nobody’s talking about.”

Last week, Ocasio-Cortez joined fellow progressive House members Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) in voting against the rules package, which included the so-called “pay-go” provision. The rule, aimed at placing the deficit in check, encourages Congress to offset the cost of bills that boost spending on entitlement programs or reduces revenues.

The rules package, supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), passed 234-197.

Although Hawn is bearish on Ocasio-Cortez’s deal-making abilities, the strategist said the self-described Democrat-socialist has honed the ability to connect with voters using social media. “There is no question she’s influential. She uses social media in a way that really connects with people. How she is going to be successful legislatively in the House has yet to be seen,” she said.

Ocasio-Cortez is garnering headlines this week with calls to raise marginal income-tax rates as high as 70% to fund the “Green New Deal,” an economic plan designed to transition the United States from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources within 10 years. “There’s an element where, yeah, people are going to have to start paying their fair share in taxes,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a Sunday interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes. “Once you get to the tippie-tops, on your ten millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60% or 70%.”

“That doesn’t mean all 10 million dollars are taxed at an extremely high rate. But it means that as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more,” she added.

When met with skepticism from interviewer Anderson Cooper, the Ocasio-Coretz said that while the plan is “ambitious,” only “radicals” have ushered in meaningful change to the U.S.


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