CENTER STAGE

A Political Thriller

“An entertaining political thriller—smart and engrossing. No shortage of political intrigue depicted with astuteness and emotional drama.”
—Kirkus Reviews

BILL CLINTON IS YESTERDAY—IS OCASIO-CORTEZ DEM’S FUTURE?

Being anti-Trump is the greatest motivator for Democrats.  However, winning in 2020 will require policies to persuade moderates and independents.  Where are the Dems after the self-described, Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is poised to capture a Congressional seat and re-write Democratic policies?

To show how far Dems have travelled since the 1992 election of Bill Clinton, let’s compare a couple of Ms. Cortez’s policies with that of former President Clinton.

An old political saying is that six months is a lifetime in politics—it’s twenty-six years since Clinton’s election and Democrats are fleeing for the exits from his policies.

In 1992 Clinton was the antidote to Democratic national candidates such as George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and Michael Dukakis, all of whom failed at the national level due to a perception they were either too liberal or not competent. Clinton was a “Blue Dog” Democrat who sought the middle ground.  He skillfully “triangulated” policies between Republicans and the most liberal Democrats.  Those days are long past.

Cortez disdains any touch of moderate.  She has an interesting personal story. She prevailed despite being outspent 18-1 by an incumbent Congressman. At 28 years old she will be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.  Only one year ago she was tending bar at Manhattan’s Flats Fix restaurant which still displays a photo of her on its webpage.

Clinton never proposed a border wall; but advocated for secure borders and to deport those entering the country illegally. The Cortez position, adopted by presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Bill de Blasio and at least eight Congressmembers, is to abolish ICE, (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

What follows if you eliminate ICE?  Does any agency enforce security at the border? Does that expose Dems to charges that this action would logically result in open borders?

Clinton described himself as “not a class warrior.” Cortez states how, “capitalism will not always exist,” and the economic and social benefits of capitalism are due to “human evolution.”  Will that play in the battleground states Trump barely carried—Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania?  Cortez, a former organizer for Bernie Sanders, is writing new chapters in Bernie’s playbook.

It was a small but telling moment when Cortez visited Washington this month.  She met with members of the Congressional progressive caucus—but not Nancy Pelosi.  Cortez’s message to Pelosi—you’re not receiving my vote for Speaker if Dems win a majority in the House.

The Cortez platform includes Medicare for all, tuition-free public colleges, and guaranteed jobs and housing.  A prudent progressive would single out one issue, Medicare for all is the most popular, and run on that platform.  I hate to spoil a party, but who pays for this largess?

Does the Cortez criticism of Israel, describing its military as “guilty of massacre,” take hold? Or does it alienate the decades long, bi-partisan support of Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East?

The Dems are long past Bill Clinton.  But is the Cortez model the best chance to capture the White House?

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Center Stage Cover
$19.95
January 12, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-64543-794-9