Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took aim at her own party over the weekend, challenging Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over her refusal to bring the issue of impeachment to the House floor, even though Ocasio-Cortez, her colleague Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and others are pushing hard to put the president on trial.
Pelosi and others have resisted the urge to delve headfirst into impeachment, likely out of fear that President Donald Trump, who kicks off his re-election campaign this week, would use House impeachment proceedings as evidence that Democrats, threatened by the Trump agenda, are conducting a “witch hunt” against the White House and resisting any actual work on behalf of the country.
Ocasio-Cortez told ABC News’s “This Week” on Sunday that Pelosi should recognize that enforcing a “rule of law” is more important than long term strategic wins.
“I think every day that passes the pressure to impeach grows. It’s justifiable. I think the evidence continues to come in and I believe that with the president now saying that he’s willing to break the law to win re-election, that — that goes — that transcends partisanship. It transcends party lines. This is now about the rule of law in the United States of America,” Ocasio-Cortez told host Jon Karl.
Asked “how real” the rumored progressive “animus” toward Pelosi really is, Ocasio-Cortez was clear that progressives’ patience is wearing thin.
“I think it’s quite real. I believe there is a very real animus and desire to make sure that we holding this president to account,” Ocasio-Cortez responded.
As far as strategy goes, Ocasio-Cortez was quick to claim that a “moderate” Democrat like former Vice President Joe Biden would alienate much of the Democratic base, and that Americans are clamoring for “a presidential candidate that is fighting for true transformational change.”
The polls don’t pan that out. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ocasio-Cortez’s intellectual leader, is tanking fast, and Democrats looking to back a true progressive for president aren’t doing as well on the state level, where they need to win to secure the party’s nomination, as they are on a national level.
But more importantly, it seems Ocasio-Cortez is fighting a losing battle against the party’s top officials. Part of Ocasio-Cortez’s frustration isn’t that Pelosi isn’t willing to commit to impeachment, it’s that Pelosi’s unwillingess is winning out, and the Speaker of the House clearly has an iron-clad grip on her caucus, despite Ocasio-Cortez’s popularity and communication strategy.
The Washington Post reports that Pelosi’s management of the issue is rock solid, and Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign to impeach the president is looking more hopeless by the day — and Ocasio-Cortez is courting danger by continuing to press the issue.
“As pressure has mounted in recent weeks on House Democrats to move more aggressively against Trump, Pelosi has demonstrated the firm grip she wields over her caucus — quashing, at least for now, the push for impeachment,” WaPo says. “It is a command that colleagues say is drawn from a deep well of respect for the political wisdom of the most powerful woman in American politics — and fear that challenging her comes with the risk of grave cost to one’s career.”
“It’s much better to be with her than against her,” Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) told The Washington Post, speaking in reference to a short-lived effort that he was part of — an attempt to dethrone the longtime party elder, Pelosi. “She doesn’t make it easy, that’s for sure.”