Andy Li is a first-year pre-business major
In a recent editorial titled “What we need and don’t need from progressives in the age of Trump,” the Highlander Editorial Board argued that the insurgent, left-wing movement led by freshmen House Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (popularly known as AOC), Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar is both damaging to the Democratic Party as a whole and a gift to Trump and the GOP. However, there are a plethora of severe flaws with this belief, starting with the indisputable fact that, quite simply, on almost every major political issue, the vast majority of the American people side with the progressive grassroots politicians that were elected in a blue wave in the 2018 midterms, and not the corporatist, centrist, neoliberal DINOs (Democrats in Name Only) that managed to lose an election to the most unpopular candidate in American history after rigging the presidential primaries against Bernie Sanders.
The editorial begins with a false equivalency between AOC’s assertive and confident personality with President Trump’s anti-factual, divisive and endless hate-mongering on social media. The insinuation that AOC shouldn’t defend herself against a daily, Orwellian obsession by the far-right to caricature her with degrading and bigoted memes and insults – because a robust defense from a young, empowered Latina millennial is “reminiscent of Donald Trump’s aggressive behavior” – is, in and of itself, patently absurd. AOC didn’t run a campaign and win election by promoting conspiracy theories, white lies and violating campaign finance laws. AOC doesn’t legislate through division, endless attacks on the free press and juvenile insults at political rivals. Most importantly, unlike Trump, AOC doesn’t go out of her way to viciously slander and destroy the careers of people that disagree with her politics. The biggest difference between AOC’s humorous, insightful and witty comebacks on Twitter and Trump’s immature and infantile vitriol on the same app is the fact that, in every single case, AOC tweets something “controversial,” she’s responding and defending herself against baseless smears whereas Trump attacks people who haven’t even done anything to provoke his ire.
The editorial also blames AOC for focusing too much on right-wing hypocrisy and not sticking to “facts,” claiming that her policy positions are too extreme and risk alienating “moderates” from the Democratic Party. This delusional attempt to compromise between the left and right is a sorry excuse as referee for American politics. You don’t compromise with a party that promotes anti-vaccination hysteria, denies the scientific consensus on climate change, advocates for consistently disproven “voodoo economics,” and continues to push for regime change in almost every single country in the world that doesn’t blindly support America all the time. On every major issue, Republicans cannot even get a bare majority of support from the public – whether it’s taxes, foreign policy, economic policy or gun control. Therefore, there is absolutely zero equivalence between AOC correctly and courageously devoting her time thoroughly dissecting each and every one of the GOP’s destructive lies versus Republicans utilizing fake news as a weapon to counter facts and reality.
But perhaps the most infuriating aspect of the anti-progressive editorial is the elitist, snobby, judgmental obsession that the editors have with “decorum.” If any of these individuals had actually grown up in a blue collar household, they would know that the least important problem in government today is “niceness.” What real Americans, including even many Trump supporters, actually care about at the end of the day is how to grow and sustain our economy to bring prosperity to all, not just those wealthy and powerful enough to lobby and puppeteer Congress to do personal favors. The fact that the Highlander Newspaper feels that these issues – bread and butter issues that affect the heart and soul of America – are less important than AOC’s attitude is, to put it plainly, totally out of touch with reality. Quite frankly, this attitude is exactly why Americans on both the left and right have such a rising distrust and dislike of the mainstream media – because it spends endless hours screaming about Trump’s tweets rather than Trump’s actual policies.
Albert Einstein once said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same exact thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Democrats have been playing the centrist game ever since Bill Clinton – with little actual progress on key issues. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is the future. Young people are the future. Progressive ideals are the future. If we really want to get rid of Trump, let’s elect the future, not the past, for once. Let’s shift the Overton Window back to where it belongs – significantly left of the pendulum ideology of the average Congressman – where the democratic will, not politicians, decide how to actually run our country after decades of abysmal failure. America will be infinitely better off with them all.