Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s clout in the voting booth, as opposed to on social media, will get a real test June 25 in the Democratic primary for Queens District Attorney, as she’s backing Tiffany Caban, who’s become a favorite among those on the left as she tries to upset better-known candidates like Rory Lancman and Melissa Katz (who’s also better-funded) and the candidate who best fits the mold of the traditional DA, Gregory Lasak.
While we await the outcome of that race, however, a different kind of political test of AOC’s influence is taking place in California, where the state’s Building and Construction Trades Council has risen up in anger against the “Green New Deal LA” plan put forward last month by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. One feature of his proposal is a buffer zone where new oil and gas wells could not be drilled, and a large hydro project would be grounded.
The union group held what it called a “Blue Collar Revolution” demonstration at the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco, where 14 of the party’s presidential hopefuls spoke, in hope of heading off the Green New Deal resolution that grew out of a plan Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez co-wrote with Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Ed Markey that is now under consideration in Washington, D.C.
An article in Politico early this month quoted Trades Council President Robbie Hunter saying that plan could cost the Southern California oil industry thousands of jobs. “All it does is do what the Democratic Party seems to be very good at lately—which is export our jobs, while doing nothing for the end-game, which is the environmental,” he said.
Politico reporters Arla Marinucci and Ddebra Kahn also spoke to Jessica Levinson, a member of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission who teaches politics and ethics at Loyola Law School, who also expressed concern about the impact the AOC/Markey plan could have on Democrats’ chances of unseating President Trump.
She told them, “The Green New Deal may be the darling of the Democratic Party—but it really divides the Democrats on a fault line, which is more of the elites against the working-class Democrats who are concerned about losing their jobs.” She noted that many of those union members don’t want to make the transition through retraining to other, “green,” jobs, and it might not be practical even if they did. And, she cautioned, “unlike the Mueller report and impeachment and indictment, people vote on whether or not they’re going to lose their job.”
Another California political analyst, Jack Pitney, told Politico that while there was no chance Mr. Trump would win California, other western states regarded as toss-ups like Colorado and Nevada, not to mention one closer to us in Pennsylvania, might tip based on how hard Democrats push the Green New Deal.
A veteran city union leader who sent us the Politico piece noted, “Hillary promised the coal miners that she’d put them on the unemployment line. How’d that work out?”
He continued, “AOC now adds those who drill for oil, make internal combustion engines, drill for gas, work on building powerhouses and others to the promise. Do you think that will get the election-day results you might find soothing? Ignoring unions and union members may result in a massive political realignment. Blue is only Blue so long as its interests are tended to.”
Of course, if Ms. Caban’s run for DA comes up short, true believers in the gospel according to AOC may remember that she was elected last year by just 4,000 votes against a Congressman so powerful that he thought he didn’t have to campaign and was also vulnerable because he was living in Virginia.
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