Rahm Emanuel notoriously used insider access as a way to enforce a centrist control over the idealistic political supporters of then-President Barack Obama (D). 2015-03-23 Rahm Emanuel, Gesticulating CC BY 2.0 Daniel X. O'Neil

Ocasio-Cortez team arranging private meetings with activists : sources

Is the new messaging from the Ocasio-Cortez camp coming as national Democrats urge centrism ?

By Progress New York Staff

After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic Party primary on June 26, she had her staff scrub anti-war language from her Web site,  narrowed her use of the term occupation in an interview to describe Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories, and rejected using her platform to call for progressive lawyers to primary the long-serving Queens District Attorney. Some of these moves sparked an uproar on social media, but all led to a definite consternation amongst activists in Queens and the Bronx. As one boisterous faction of New York activists openly embrace electoral politics for incremental reform and another faction express disappointment at how soon Ms. Ocasio-Cortez began walking back her commitment to change, what’s emerged from the Ocasio-Cortez campaign is an effort to arrange private meetings with key influencers amongst New York’s activist community.

According to several sources, the Ocasio-Cortez campaign has invited key activists in Queens known for their autonomy and discipline to have private meetings with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. The lack of transparency to these meetings is an obvious problem for some, who expected Ocasio-Cortez to abandon the opaque politicking of the Queens Machine she took on. But there is a concern that the way that private access is being offered to key activists is part of a strategy to keep activists from publicly ridiculing the Democratic Party nominee before the November Congressional race.

Gambling that activists wouldn’t jeopardise private access by alienating the new Lawmaker

After previous, self-described progressive politicians won elected office, their chiefs of staff made certain that public expression of activists’ disappointment was curtailed, and one way that was done was by arranging for private meetings, where access to politicians or key staff or the sharing of inside information were made available to those willing to be obedient and loyal to politicians. After President Barack Obama (D) faced criticism for the tepid pace of fulfilling his campaign promises, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, exploited power dynamics to maintain a centrist’s discipline over idealistic political supporters.

For this report, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign manager did not answer a request for an interview. But after Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s hard-won primary victory over U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Queens), national Democrats have been focusing on the need for fundraising to take back the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. One challenge is that Big Money donors cannot tolerate progressive activism. Democrats also face a reactionary panic against progressivism by defenders of the political establishment, who fear that progressivism may turn away General Election voters in November.

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