Courage to Change, the far-left PAC founded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, has made its first round of endorsements for progressive congressional and Senate candidates. Not surprisingly, three out of the seven are running to oust members of their own party — some of whom have been endorsed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Perhaps the best-known candidates Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is endorsing are two women that she has already donated money to in the past.
Jessica Cisneros in Texas is working to unseat current Dem. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a moderate politician known for his support of Second Amendment rights. Rep. Cuellar has already dismissed his wannabe replacement, making it clear that while progressive values may be appreciated on the East and West Coast, they won’t fly in his conservative Texas district.
The other candidate, Marie Newman, made news two years ago when she nearly unseated Illinois Dem. Rep. Dan Lipinski — the only Democrat serving in the House of Representatives who isn’t pro-abortion. Sadly, this time around, Mrs. Newman may very well be successful.
Other endorsed congressional candidates hail from Nebraska, New York, California, and New Mexico. A seventh candidate, Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, is running for the Democratic Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate in Texas. Her opponent, MJ Hegar, has the backing of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, and thus the support of the party leadership. If Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez wins the primary, she will still need to compete against current Republican Senator John Cornyn.
Given the fact that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has alienated moderate fellow Democrats in the past, it’s not surprising that she’s willing to defy party leadership like this. She’s an outspoken supporter of Vermont senator and leading presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. She has also continually clashed with senior Democrats in the House over issues such as the Green New Deal.
The creation of AOC’s PAC and its support for hardline progressive candidates challenging incumbent Democrats is only giving the DNC even more headaches. The endorsements come at a critical time for the Democratic Party, as moderate leaders are struggling to keep the progressive wing from totally taking over. They already seem powerless as Sanders sweeps primary voting contests, and long-time moderates like former Vice President Joe Biden struggle to remain relevant.
Just a few short years ago, many considered it conspiratorial to refer to Democratic candidates as “socialist” or perhaps even “leftist.” With AOC leading the fray, and Bernie Sanders running rough shot over the primaries, this is no longer a conspiracy. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and her ilk are now wearing the labels with pride.