In the Democratic Party primary held on June 26, 2018, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley by 15 percentage points, a wide margin in any election. Although she has never held any elected position, she is now considered a shoe-in for election to the House of Representatives. When she takes her place in Congress next January, she will be the youngest female ever to serve in that body.
In her June primary race, veteran Democrat Crowley had been endorsed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, both New York senators, 11 U.S. members of Congress, New York City’s mayor, 31 locally elected officials, and 31 trade unions. In addition, he had the backing of an array of leftist groups that included Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, the Working Families Party, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Moms for Gun Sense. The veteran incumbent had a $3.4 million war chest and his upstart opponent’s campaign fund showed had less than $200,000. Ocasio-Cortez gained a few endorsements from groups on the far left such as MoveOn.org, Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress, Black Lives Matter, and Democracy for America.
The result is both fairly easy to understand and fairly frightening to contemplate. Ocasio-Cortez rode to victory on the coattails of proud socialist Bernie Sanders. Most will recall that Vermont’s unabashed senator came very close to upsetting Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
While the victories of one or more Sanders-style politicians in congressional races is disturbing, the possibility of many more implementing the Karl Marx’s program is downright scary. But throwing a scare into many Americans is precisely what Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and others mean to accomplish.
The young New York City native is a graduate of Boston University, where she graduated cum laude with a degree in economics and international relations. She is proof of the claim that leftist professors teach Marxism, not classical economics, when they indoctrinate the eager young people before them. Hardly any of the collegians studying economics today are taught sound economic fundamentals. So Boston University is far from alone in laundering the brains and common sense of young people, all of whom at these institutions are led to believe that the rosy promises of government control never materialize.
In a televised interview shortly after her primary victory, veteran CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked the democratic socialist how she would finance her calls for universal healthcare, housing as a federal right, job guarantees, tuition-free public college, cancellation of student college debt, and more. He told her that the left-leaning Tax Policy Center estimated her goals would cost upwards of $40 trillion over 10 years. The somewhat befuddled Ocasio-Cortez commented fuzzily that covering their costs could be achieved by increasing taxes on both the wealthy and the corporate world. Tapper told her that her proposal would cover only about $2 trillion.
So the CNN interviewer asked where the remaining $38 trillion would be found. Her totally inadequate response mentioned something about Medicare and her certainty that increased spending by millennials would result in a surge of government revenue. Clearly, Tapper wasn’t satisfied as he ended the interview saying, “I am assuming I won’t get an answer for the other $38 trillion.” With the interview concluded, the young socialist went off to campaign elsewhere in the United States, occasionally partnering with Bernie Sanders. The certain successor to Joe Crowley as the representative in Congress for the New York City district that includes the Bronx and portions of Queens will prepare for becoming the occupant of the seat for the Empire State’s 14th congressional district.
Ocasio-Cortez is a no-holds-barred socialist. One has to wonder if she knows that her socialistic beliefs make her a disciple of Karl Marx and his 1848 Communist Manifesto. Everywhere the Marxian program has been tried — as in the Soviet Union, Cuba, a host of Latin America and African nations, et al. — it has been a miserable failure kept in place by police state terror. Ocasio-Cortez didn't learn that in college. But if she were wiling to remove her red-tingled spectacles, clear out her brain, and cease listening to fellow socialists, she could learn the certain consequences of what she proposes by looking at today’s Venezuela.
After she is sworn in as a member of Congress, she could possibly meet Republican Congressman Brad Wenstrup, who represents Ohio’s Second district. He recently summarized what socialism has done during the past decade in once happy and prosperous Venezuela. He tells his constituents and others:
At the beginning of the 21st Century, Venezuela was one of the top 20 richest countries in the world. Today it’s poverty rate is 87 percent and its inflation rate is predicted to be approaching 1,000,000 percent. Once, its capital was a tourist destination with a thriving culture. Today, it is the crime capital of the world.
What happened in Venezuela is socialism. It’s not that Marx’s program has been poorly introduced. No, the truth is that it has been faithfully implemented. It is what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders will do to America if the people here permit them to carry out their designs. It’s what should scare Americans from coast to coast into learning what socialism truly is, and what constitutes the totally opposite American system put in place by our nation’s Founders. The lesson should begin with, “America became great not because of what government did, but because of what government was prevented from doing by the Constitution.”
It is downright scary that any Americans would vote for an outright socialist. If the lesson being experienced in today’s Venezuela can be shared with Ocasio-Cortez and others, our nation can be spared the horrendous consequences of socialism. It’s an easy lesson to teach and, in just a few minutes, it can overcome even four years of college indoctrination. Let’s hope that more Americans can learn the lesson that isn’t being taught and point instead to the traditional American system that this young lady seems never have been exposed to.
John F. McManus is president emeritus of The John Birch Society.