The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Trump will never be stopped by being cautious

(Tom Toles)

Is this another media-created, made-up controversy, or are the Democrats genuinely flummoxed and fearful of the big tent and a full-court press against President Trump this November?

The idea that the primary victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez represents some dangerous existential identity crisis for Democrats is kind of astonishing, really. Here we have a candidate who looks and sounds like today instead of the-day-before-yesterday, and the Democratic Party is getting the vapors about her?

Let’s take a look at some of the supposedly alarming ideas Ocasio-Cortez has advocated. “No person in America should be too poor to live.” Whoa, catch me!

Some others: “Ending the corrupting influence of corporate finance in public elections.” Pass the smelling salts! “Invest in 100% renewable green industry.” So now what we should have been doing for the past 50 years is radical? Even her supposedly off-the-charts outlandish ideas, such as Medicare-for-all and a job for anyone who needs work, are what? Too crazy to even be part of the discussion? Universal health care is, or ought to be, a human right, and if you’ve got a better plan than single-payer, let’s have that debate. We certainly haven’t had one so far. And a job for someone who wants to work? The Democratic Party doesn’t have room in its ranks for someone to fight for this dignity-based concept?

How about looking at this another way, Democrats? An all-patriots, broad-based, unified repudiation of what Trump is doing to America? What do you think — maybe that’s the most important thing right now? And the energy and enthusiasm of younger, female, ethnic, more progressive voters is something you think you can do without?

How about this instead? A Democratic Party that once again makes room for the kind of progressive ideas that used to fuel the party and its success before the GOP noise machine cowed it into an ever-less-ambitious, compromising and now potentially fatal defensive crouch?

You can’t beat something with nothing, and you can’t beat Trump if you’re unwilling to gather and enthusiastically welcome every possible ally.