A Socialist in Trump Country

After ten-term incumbent Democratic congressman Joe Crowley unexpectedly lost the primary to political newbie democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DNC chair Tom Perez anointed her "the future of the Democratic Party."  Since New York's 14th Congressional District – which spans the Bronx and Queens – is 29 percentage points more Democratic than the country as a whole, the media had Ocasio-Cortez all but sworn in, and she began jetting around the country to campaign for other democratic socialists.

A local race suddenly became nationalized, and "teevee pundits" on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC unanimously declared that socialism is on the march in CD14.  They characterized the district as largely comprising impoverished minorities who were eagerly anticipating a socialist overthrow of our capitalist system.

Well, the teevee pundits don't know jack about CD14.  The district is mixed-race, with stable middle-class neighborhoods of homeowners – including the picturesque City Island, which is often likened to a quaint Cape Cod village.  East Bronx Democrats tend to be politically moderate swing voters.  In city and state races, the same Democratic officeholders are perennially re-elected, in part because the GOP rarely fields a viable candidate – someone with name recognition, backed with money and organization.  But in presidential election years, registered Democrats have crossed party lines – virtually all the precincts Donald Trump carried in the Bronx are in CD14.

Only 14% of the roughly 194,450 Democrats in CD14 turned out to vote in the primary, and Ocasio-Cortez's margin over Crowley was just 4,136 votes (15,897 to 11,761).  Swing-voting Democrats stayed home, because they were turned off by Crowley's anti-Trump rhetoric.

The new leadership of the Queens GOP has been steadily moving to the left and had handpicked Anthony Pappas to be another in a long line of GOP sacrificial lambs who would lose to Crowley – or so they thought.  An economics professor whom nobody would have heard of were it not for his notoriously bitter divorce, even he doesn't think he has a chance.

In fact, he can't even mount a campaign against Ocasio-Cortez, who now has national name recognition thanks to fawning media coverage.  QueensCountyPolitics reports that "a court order resulting from his ongoing divorce case froze his campaign contributions [and] he is unable to access his funds until the decision is reversed."  Despite being unable to campaign, the nebbishy Pappas refused to step aside when it was still possible for the GOP to replace him on the ballot, despite the exhortations and pleas of the Bronx GOP and community leaders in both boroughs.

As his rudimentary website doesn't include policy positions, Republicans may not realize that like most GOP candidates running in New York City, Pappas isn't really far to the right of an establishment Democrat like Crowley.  The most salient difference between the two men is that Crowley is (still) viable!  He remains on the ballot on the Working Families Party line, from which he cannot step down due to obscure but binding New York election rules.  Unlike Pappas, he doesn't have to introduce himself to voters.

On several Facebook community pages, people in the East Bronx began debating whether Democrats and Republicans should unite to vote for Crowley in November in an attempt to defeat Ocasio-Cortez (now widely known by the hashtag #BronxBolshevik).  Last month, CD14 residents in the Bronx and Queens created the Block Bronx Bolshevik page on Facebook as a "water cooler" for voters thinking about voting, or planning to vote, for Crowley.

The Block Bronx Bolshevik page seeks to make the case against Ocasio-Cortez to those Democrats who sat out the primary by highlighting her shockingly uninformed and immature views and to encourage Republicans to vote for Crowley because Pappas is a zombie candidate.  To achieve these objectives, a Block Bronx Bolshevik GoFundMe campaign was launched to raise $3,000 for Facebook ads that will promote the page to increase reach and engagement.  Closer to Election Day, posts about how to vote for Crowley on the third party line will be promoted.

CD14 doesn't wish for the infamy of being the vanguard of socialism in New York City, and we invite friends, neighbors, and allies to join our rebellion against socialism.

Ruth Papazian, a health and medical writer and political junkie, lives in the Bronx portion of CD14 and is a swing voter.

A staunch conservative and mother of a Marine, Alice Lemos serves on the board of The Bridge to Life, a non-profit crisis pregnancy center that serves needy pregnant women and their children.  She lives in the Queens portion of CD14.

After ten-term incumbent Democratic congressman Joe Crowley unexpectedly lost the primary to political newbie democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DNC chair Tom Perez anointed her "the future of the Democratic Party."  Since New York's 14th Congressional District – which spans the Bronx and Queens – is 29 percentage points more Democratic than the country as a whole, the media had Ocasio-Cortez all but sworn in, and she began jetting around the country to campaign for other democratic socialists.

A local race suddenly became nationalized, and "teevee pundits" on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC unanimously declared that socialism is on the march in CD14.  They characterized the district as largely comprising impoverished minorities who were eagerly anticipating a socialist overthrow of our capitalist system.

Well, the teevee pundits don't know jack about CD14.  The district is mixed-race, with stable middle-class neighborhoods of homeowners – including the picturesque City Island, which is often likened to a quaint Cape Cod village.  East Bronx Democrats tend to be politically moderate swing voters.  In city and state races, the same Democratic officeholders are perennially re-elected, in part because the GOP rarely fields a viable candidate – someone with name recognition, backed with money and organization.  But in presidential election years, registered Democrats have crossed party lines – virtually all the precincts Donald Trump carried in the Bronx are in CD14.

Only 14% of the roughly 194,450 Democrats in CD14 turned out to vote in the primary, and Ocasio-Cortez's margin over Crowley was just 4,136 votes (15,897 to 11,761).  Swing-voting Democrats stayed home, because they were turned off by Crowley's anti-Trump rhetoric.

The new leadership of the Queens GOP has been steadily moving to the left and had handpicked Anthony Pappas to be another in a long line of GOP sacrificial lambs who would lose to Crowley – or so they thought.  An economics professor whom nobody would have heard of were it not for his notoriously bitter divorce, even he doesn't think he has a chance.

In fact, he can't even mount a campaign against Ocasio-Cortez, who now has national name recognition thanks to fawning media coverage.  QueensCountyPolitics reports that "a court order resulting from his ongoing divorce case froze his campaign contributions [and] he is unable to access his funds until the decision is reversed."  Despite being unable to campaign, the nebbishy Pappas refused to step aside when it was still possible for the GOP to replace him on the ballot, despite the exhortations and pleas of the Bronx GOP and community leaders in both boroughs.

As his rudimentary website doesn't include policy positions, Republicans may not realize that like most GOP candidates running in New York City, Pappas isn't really far to the right of an establishment Democrat like Crowley.  The most salient difference between the two men is that Crowley is (still) viable!  He remains on the ballot on the Working Families Party line, from which he cannot step down due to obscure but binding New York election rules.  Unlike Pappas, he doesn't have to introduce himself to voters.

On several Facebook community pages, people in the East Bronx began debating whether Democrats and Republicans should unite to vote for Crowley in November in an attempt to defeat Ocasio-Cortez (now widely known by the hashtag #BronxBolshevik).  Last month, CD14 residents in the Bronx and Queens created the Block Bronx Bolshevik page on Facebook as a "water cooler" for voters thinking about voting, or planning to vote, for Crowley.

The Block Bronx Bolshevik page seeks to make the case against Ocasio-Cortez to those Democrats who sat out the primary by highlighting her shockingly uninformed and immature views and to encourage Republicans to vote for Crowley because Pappas is a zombie candidate.  To achieve these objectives, a Block Bronx Bolshevik GoFundMe campaign was launched to raise $3,000 for Facebook ads that will promote the page to increase reach and engagement.  Closer to Election Day, posts about how to vote for Crowley on the third party line will be promoted.

CD14 doesn't wish for the infamy of being the vanguard of socialism in New York City, and we invite friends, neighbors, and allies to join our rebellion against socialism.

Ruth Papazian, a health and medical writer and political junkie, lives in the Bronx portion of CD14 and is a swing voter.

A staunch conservative and mother of a Marine, Alice Lemos serves on the board of The Bridge to Life, a non-profit crisis pregnancy center that serves needy pregnant women and their children.  She lives in the Queens portion of CD14.