With Ocasio-Cortez, NY Dems reenact Bolsheviks vs. Mensheviks

With Ocasio-Cortez, NY Dems reenact Bolsheviks vs. Mensheviks
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In the early 1900s, the Social-Democrat Workers Party was formed in Tsarist Russia. This was the beginning of what would be the Russian Revolution of 1917. The party would ultimately split into two factions. The Mensheviks, led by Julius Martov, were the more “establishment” faces of socialism; the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, were the more radical sect and ultimately prevailed, in terms of controlling post-revolution Russia.

History is written by and about the victors. Lenin and the Bolsheviks are household names; some readers just now learned of Martov.

When 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyBiden's gain is Democratic baseball's loss with Cedric Richmond Business groups breathe sigh of relief over prospect of divided government Ocasio-Cortez glides to reelection MORE in last week’s Democratic primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District (Queens and the Bronx), it sent Team Right and Team Left political analysts and politicians into a frenzy. Both sides wanted to find the closest microphone and tell everyone what it meant to have an openly socialist candidate defeat an incumbent member of the U.S. House — a man thought to be a potential House speaker.


Crowley is the consummate insider. He has been a House Member since January 1999.  He has been a party loyalist for the likes of Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama: Republican Party members believe 'white males are victims' Texas warehouse where migrants housed in 'cages' closed for humane renovation North Carolina — still purple but up for grabs MORE, Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee Bottom line MORE and Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE. He has supported every Democratic Party initiative that involved the expansion of government into every aspect of the life of every American.

He has been a good soldier. Yet, he lost.

What’s going on, and what’s really the difference between Cortez and Crowley?

If you take a look at Cortez’s campaign website, you will find a host of issues which she explicitly supports. They include:

  • Medicare for every citizen;
  • More federal jobs;
  • Free guaranteed higher education;
  • Housing as a human right.

There’s more, but you get the idea.

Here is the part that is really important: It isn’t Cortez’s website that tells the story; it’s Crowley’s. Crowley’s site is much better designed, navigates well and contains all of the conventional political pablum that’s been pureed and forced down the throat of the American voter for decades. Once you unwrap the package, however, what you find is that Crowley and Cortez are addressing the same issues with the same philosophical approach to addressing them. Crowley is just a bit more implicit.

A friend of mine once told me that his grandfather liked to say about someone who was quite direct that “they didn’t call a spade a spade. They called it a goddamn shovel.”  Crowley is saying the former, while Cortez is screaming the latter.

Democratic establishment types are attempting, in varying degrees, to distance themselves from the extreme language of Cortez. They know that what she is telling voters she plans to do cannot be mistaken or massaged into anything seemingly less harsh. She is very clear about what she wants. Her ideas aren’t revolutionary — they are ideas about revolution. Democrats fear she will cause voters to associate Democrats with a radical fringe and that it can create a voting backlash against other Democratic candidates.

But here is a fun question to consider: If all of the campaign ideas listed on Cortez’s website came up for a vote tomorrow in the U.S. House or Senate, would any Democrats vote against them?

The question is rhetorical. These are the things in which they believe, the simple substitution of collective choice for individual choice. (The only real individual choices that Democratic leaders believe in are a woman’s right to abort a child and any person’s right to use any locker room they wish.)

There are the experts on Team Right who are excited that Cortez won; they believe that, if Democrats put forward such extreme candidates, voters will easily, almost automatically, want to make the choice of the other side. Even our president thinks her victory is a good thing.

I want to agree, but I’m not so sure.

We are standing at a critical point in American history, where a choice is going to be made as to freedom or servitude. Cortez’s candidacy does give people a very clear choice. More candidates like her across the country — they are coming, and they are legion — will give more Americans the same choice.

We live in an age in which there is an “ism” for everything: communism, fascism, Nazism, totalitarianism, nationalism, etc. Many of the terms used to describe movements, ideologies and systems were created by academics attempting to label something they saw that they wanted to categorize and generalize.

There is a different “ism” that concerns me: Realism. The truth is that, for all of mankind’s history, most people have lived not under a particular “ism” but in general serfdom. Since the only universal attribute of serfdom across all centuries and continents is that there are always more serfs than there are masters, it reminds you just how hard it is to attain freedom, and how it doesn’t take much to have it taken away.

If my brethren are right, bringing the vampire of collectivism, personified in Cortez, into the light of day should be a good thing because people will see it for what it is and reject it. But we can’t take Cortez and her kind for granted. After all, it wasn’t the Mensheviks who were the real losers in 1917-1918. It was the Russian people, who lost nearly the entire 20th century.

Cortez is telling us she wants to bring an end to traditional America. Mainstream Democrats won’t tell us that they really want the exact same thing.

Charlie Kirk is founder and president of Turning Point USA, a nonprofit that promotes free-market values and limited government.