Centrist Democrats Move to Block Ocasio-Cortez from Congress

While incumbent Democrat Joe Crowley conceded graciously to progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her June 26 primary election victory, and insists he is no longer running for re-election in Congress, Crowley’s name remains on the ballot under the New York Working Families Party (WFP) and the congressman is now receiving endorsements from prominent politicians.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise primary victory over Rep. Joe Crowley seems likely to hurt Congress, America and the Democratic Party. It doesn’t have to,” begins former Democrat and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman in an endorsement of Crowley published today by the Wall Street Journal.

“Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a proud member of the Democratic Socialists of America, whose platform, like hers, is more Socialist than Democratic. Her dreams of new federal spending would bankrupt the country or require very large tax increases, including on the working class,” continues Lieberman. “She has received the most attention for calling to Abolish ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This makes no sense unless you no longer want any rules on immigration or customs to be enforced.”

Crowley says he’s not running for Congress, but Ocasio-Cortez claims that by not removing his name from the November ballot, he’s “mounting a 3rd party challenge against me and the Democratic Party – and against the will of the [Working Families Party].” Crowley countered that New York’s “fusion voting” election rules don’t allow him to remove his name from the ballot unless he were to move out of state or accept a nomination for another elected office.

Former Democratic Senator from Connecticut and Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman. photo: CNN

The New York Working Families Party proclaims its focus as “tackling the political, economic, and educational inequality that deprive working and middle class families of opportunity” and promotes a vision to “to build a New York that is fair for all of us, not just the wealthy and well-connected.” The party’s endorsement of Crowley in the June 26 primary was therefore a betrayal of the party’s members given that challenger Ocasio-Cortez’s progressive platform is much more closely aligned to their own than Crowley’s centrist and establishment track record in Congress.

When Ocasio-Cortez defeated Crowley on June 26 for the Democratic Party’s nomination, WFP switched their support to the new winner. WFP not only abandoned Crowley after his loss, the party is now even calling for Crowley to move from New York to Virginia. “The only remaining way for Crowley to do the right thing is to switch his residency to Virginia, where his family resides and his children already go to school,” said WFP Director Bill Lipton.

While refusing to move out of state to appease a minor political party that betrayed him immediately after losing the primary election, Crowley has reiterated his support for Ocasio-Cortez multiple times and insists he is not running for Congress.

“I respect the outcome of this election,” stated Crowley on June 26 in his concession speech. “In the debates that we had I said that if I was not successful in this election that I would support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her venture to become the next member of Congress from [New York’s] 14th congressional district.” Then Crowley dedicated the song “Born to Run” to Ocasio-Cortez which he played on his guitar for the attendees of his election night party.

Ocasio-Cortez mocked the song dedication during a July 12 Twitter spat with Crowley. “So much for ‘Born to Run’,” posted Ocasio-Cortez. “If you want to see me in Congress, we need your help now more than ever. We cannot underestimate the power of dark money.”

Given former Senator Lieberman’s glowing Wall Street Journal endorsement of Crowley today, maybe it’s not far-fetched that corporate forces are still hoping to defend Crowley’s seat in Congress, even though Ocasio-Cortez thumped Crowley in the June 26 primary election, garnering 57.5 percent of votes to Crowley’s 42.5 percent of votes, and Crowley furthermore insists he isn’t “really” a candidate.

Are Lieberman and his corrupt establishment ilk trying to convince enough conservatives to vote for Crowley rather than Republican nominee Anthony Pappas in order to block Ocasio-Cortez’s progressive revolution from reaching Congress on November 6? We will see.