After being wafted by a tornado from Kansas to The Land Of Oz in the movie “The Wizard of Oz,” Dorothy said to her dog Toto:
Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.
Well…”we” are in Kansas anymore!!! And lots of other places that the Clinton-dominated DNC basically forgot about in their sterling loss to possibly the worst presidential candidate in U.S. history.
‘Just what the party needs’: Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders woo Kansas progressives.
(<https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/21/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-bernie-sanders-kansas-progressives-democrats> [Succuri is being very persnickety today. No direct links seem to be being accepted. Sorry…])
The rising New York star and the Vermont senator think leftwing politics can help Democrats win in the wheatfields.
For her national political debut, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez traded the concrete jungle of New York for the golden wheatfields of Kansas.
The bright new face of the left joined Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, a leader of the progressive movement, at rallies in support of two congressional candidates who argue that a leftwing, anti-corporate political message can galvanize Democrats in Republican-held districts crucial to their push to take back the US House.
“Oh my goodness gracious,” said Ocasio-Cortez, taking the stage at a packed hall in Wichita on Friday. “And they said [that] what we did in the Bronx no one would care about it in Kansas.”
Less than a month ago, Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old democratic socialist who was working as a bartender less than a year ago, stunned the political establishment when she beat a 10-term incumbent, Joe Crowley, in a district that includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. With general election victory in November all-but certain, she is using her star power to spotlight likeminded candidates around the country.
“What you have shown me is that working people in Kansas share the same values – the same values – as working people anywhere else,” she said. “Wherever there is working class people, there is hope for the progressive movement.”
In Wichita, Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders campaigned for James Thompson, a civil rights lawyer who in 2017 narrowly lost a special election in the fourth congressional district. In the neighboring third, they traveled to Kansas City, for Brent Welder, a labor lawyer and former Sanders delegate who is running in a six-way primary.
Both congressional candidates are running on a Sanders-style platform that includes universal healthcare, tuition-free college and a higher minimum wage. This may be a tough sell in Kansas, which is home to the billionaire Koch brothers, who have spent tens of millions of dollars to promote free-market policies. Donald Trump won the state by more than 20%.
Yet progressives see opportunities here, pointing to Philadelphia and Omaha where leftwing candidates have won competitive primaries. And, they argue, in 2016 Sanders won the Democratic caucuses here by more than 30%.
“I’m not `Republican-lite,'” Thompson said, drawing wild applause. “If our state wanted Republican-lite then we would have elected somebody in the past 20 years as a Democrat here. … If a centrist message would have worked, then Hillary Clinton would have won here in 2016.”
Kansas is not the only state that will test that theory. In the coming weeks, Ocasio-Cortez will take her populist pitch to Michigan and Missouri.
“They will see that this thing wasn’t just lightning striking,” said Cori Bush, a nurse and activist who Ocasio-Cortez will support at a rally in St Louis on Saturday. “By having her here, it will show people locally that this can happen here.”
When I read that “Oh my goodness gracious” quote from Ocasio-Lopez, I got tingles up and down my spine. Now…that might just be an overreaction to long-hoped for good news, and it might also be something I ate. But I think not. She appears to have perfect pitch in terms of how she speaks to working class audiences, no matter what their cultural makeup might be.
“Oh my goodness gracious???!!!” That could have come straight from Dorothy’s mouth in The Wizard of Oz. But it wasn’t in The Wizard of Oz, it was in today’s Kansas, and she’s a second generation Puerto Rican from the NYC area whose mother worked as a domestic so that her daughter would have a better chance in life.
I have been actively working as a musician in the mostly Puerto Rican-dominated NYC Latin music business since the late ’60s, and I have never heard anything even remotely like the phrase “Oh my goodness gracious” come out of the mouth of anyone in that culture. I’m not saying it hasn’t, but I sure as hell have never heard it. Is she a plotter? Did she rehearse it? Or does she simply have perfect people pitch? I don’t care. She has talents, and Bernie Sanders knows it.
I am having visions of Dem rallies to rival the Trump rallies.
In the heartland!!!
I really am.
Politics in the U.S. is an image business. It has been so at least since the televised debates between JFK and Nixon. JFK won. Decisively. Why? because he looked better than Nixon, really. Never mind what they said. I believe that if Nixon’s words had come out of JFK’s mouth and vice-versa, JFK would still have won.
Image, image, image.
Fast forward to the 2016 primaries and campaign. Trump successfully bullied every opponent, one way or another. Including HRC. And…by hook or by crook (probably the latter)…he won. Those screaming masses at his rallies? They were the ones who watch reality TV and pro wrestling. In both idioms, it isn’t how “good” you look or act, it’s how strong you appear to be. Many of the biggest stars in WWE have been those cast as “villains.” Trump understood that and built a reality TV empire out of it…one that reached its culmination in his presidency.
The only way that the new, more leftish wing of the Democratic Party can successfully oppose Trump…short of a deep state coup of the sort that is being waged today in the media (Not very successfully, on the evidence of almost a year and a half of constant clamor and Trump’s continuing presidency)…is by using image to attract some of the millions of voters who have not voted in the past.
Micrcosm to macrocosm…
How did Ocasio-Lopez win in her district?
People liked her act. They recognized her. They were like her. She was family!!!
I read recently that recent demographic changes in Kansas City have changed it from a mostly “white” city to as much as 45% Hispanic. I have witnessed this sort of change myself in many smallish cities in New England, NY, NJ and PA. Smaller towns, too. The official census figures may differ, but I know for a fact that many Hispanic people simply don’t trust the government enough to answer census questions truthfully…if at all. Not even legal citizens of the country. I believe that this change is nationwide, and it isn’t only Hispanic.
It is brown!!!
The browning of America.
” ‘Bout time” is all I can say.
Have you seen a picture of the Muslim who is doing very well running for Governor of Michigan?
He would not stand out as someone “not from the neighborhood” in any Hispanic area of the country.
Image, image, image!!!
Fucked over by people of European descent for generations?
Hard to trust ’em, even if they are being straight with you.
Will he win?
He’s smart; he’s certainly qualified (<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_El-Sayed>) and his leftish creds are out there for all to see.
(From the same link as above.) El-Sayed was inspired to run for governor following the Flint water crisis, saying, “I watched as Governor Snyder and his team of accountants were cutting costs and cutting corners. Their inattention to communities ultimately poisoned thousands of children – and those children were the very ones that I was serving at the helm of the health department. … And that’s something I didn’t believe in. I believe in government as something we do in this country for the people and by the people”.
El-Sayed pledged not to accept any campaign donations from corporations, and has raised over $2,000,000 from individual donations.
El-Sayed has received support from many notable public figures, including Reza Aslan, Congressman Ro Khanna,  Democratic congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Women’s March Organizer Linda Sarsour, civil rights activist Shaun King, economic justice activist Ady Barkan, and actress Piper Perabo. He is also endorsed by the organizations The People for Bernie Sanders, Justice Democrats  Our Revolution, and Democracy for America.
Will he win?
I don’t know, but the browning of the hinterlands is certainly an interesting electoral development. No more “flyover” land for the Dems.
It’s now “Get down” time!!!
How quickly will it happen?
I don’t know. Wishfully? Before November, at least to some appreciable degree.
Before the presidential primaries begin.
Let us pray.