In June 2018, young 28-year-old “Socialist Democrat” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term Democrat Joe Crowley in what was considered a major upset. Crowley – a tried-and-true Democratic congressman with 20 years of loyal party service, proved no match for Ocasio-Cortez and her embodiment of the new brand of über-liberal progressivism. In the new paradigm of Democratic Party politics, there is no such thing as social policies that are too liberal, no education, healthcare, or assistance initiatives that are too generous with government-funded payouts, no position on illegal immigration or gender identity that is too lenient or accommodating.
Now in Massachusetts, it has happened again. Ayanna Pressley, a Democratic African-American woman, decisively defeated 10-term Congressman Mike Capuano 59-41% in a primary contest on September 4. Since there is no Republican candidate in the MA 7th Congressional District, this was the de facto election for that seat and Pressley – who holds views essentially identical to Ocasio-Cortez – will be the officeholder come January 2019. Like Joe Crowley, Mike Capuano was a 50-something white male. “Old white guys” – with the somewhat ironic, humorous exception of Bernie Sanders – seem to be falling out of favor in the Democratic Party these days. Pressley’s acceptance speech was characterized by such lines as “We ran a campaign for those who were told their priorities can wait,” and “These times demand more from our leaders… change can’t wait.” This, of course, is merely liberal code-speak for the promise that new government giveaway programs to her constituency are on the way, financed by new taxes on the “rich.” Like Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley is seen as a Democratic rising star – female, non-Caucasian, solidly in the “Big Government Solves All Problems” camp.
It’s all in keeping with the idea of Democratic Socialism, in whose curious reality the playing field is leveled, differences in incomes are eliminated (or at least minimized) and wealth is redistributed to the deserving. The “deserving” according to the arbitrary whims of these new Democratic Socialists, where the ordinary rules of a market economy can be ignored as needed and Government funding is not generated by modest income taxes on a continually-expanding economic base, but instead by targeted, ever-increasing punitive taxation on a restricted, over-regulated economic base.
The “Ocasio” name has some interesting connotations. Boxing aficionados will undoubtedly remember Osvaldo “Ossie” Ocasio, a Puerto Rican-born heavyweight boxer who was active in the 1970s. He scored two big wins over highly-regarded contender Jimmy Young (who had given Muhammad Ali a very hard time in 1976 and then upset George Foreman in 1977), which catapulted Ocasio into the upper echelon of heavyweight contenders. On the strength of these wins, Ocasio was awarded a title fight against champion Larry Holmes in 1979.
Alas, Ocasio’s time in the limelight was short-lived and his lasting importance in heavyweight boxing ultimately proved to be both illusory and fleeting. Holmes dominated Ocasio for six rounds before dropping him four times in the 7th, en route to a devastating knockout victory. Ocasio was never heard from again.
The Ocasio-Cortez/Pressley contingent of the new Democratic Socialist movement may well score some impressive wins in the near term, upsetting a lot of long-standing Democratic incumbents and perhaps wresting a significant degree of national power as well. However, if they achieve a dominant position nationally and begin to implement their socialist agenda, they will be unpleasantly surprised and eventually suffer major disappointments.
This country is based on a market economy. It is capitalistic, driven by the profit motive. Virtually all economic activity in the private sector – whether it’s retail or pharmaceutical/healthcare or energy or manufacturing or entertainment or communications/information services and devices or transportation or real estate/construction or law – is predicated on generating a profit. Government policies that discourage profit-oriented activity – indeed, punish it – will serve only to slow the growth of the national economic pie – the very pie that Democratic Socialists intend on cutting into slices and giving away to those they’ve deemed “deserving” or “underserved” or “disadvantaged.”
Diminishing private sector profits will result in a continually-contracting downward spiral, in which economic activity is restricted, companies shrink, hiring decreases, and the general standard of living – across all demographic sectors, including the “deserving” – is reduced.
Democratic Socialism – a fraudulent idea based on fraudulent assumptions, foisted either by callous hypocrites like Sanders and Warren (who already have “theirs” and therefore can easily weather any economic downturn) or stunningly ignorant neophytes like Ocasio-Cortez (who simply don’t know any better) – will collapse from the illegitimacy of its own weight, as did Ossie Ocasio from the unapologetic power of champion Holmes’ inescapably real punches.
The country will suffer in the short run for having fallen prey to the false seduction of the promises of a Socialist free lunch. Perhaps we will be better off in the long run if we learn our lessons the hard way – with the Ocasio-Cortez/Pressley faction actually in office and making policy – and then we surgically remove the fantasy of government-supported Nirvana-for-all from our national consciousness once and for all.
Ultimately, if Ossie Ocasio had never been given the chance to climb into the ring in the first place, Holmes couldn’t have knocked him out and sent him into oblivion forever.