Home Perspectives Opinions Taube: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her basket of ‘detestables’

Taube: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her basket of ‘detestables’

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Wikimedia Commons photo - US House of Representatives/Wafflepancake34 - Public Domain)

Hillary Clinton made many tactical errors against Donald Trump during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. One of her worst was suggesting that half of his supporters should be placed into “the basket of deplorables.”

Arbitrarily placing millions of Americans into a particular category was bad enough. But outrageously claiming they were “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it,” took the proverbial cake.

Clinton’s strategy backfired: she was criticized for dividing people from all walks of life and couldn’t walk it back. Meanwhile, the deplorables took her negative connotation and turned it into a badge of honour. As did her opponent, who won the election.

Interestingly, a new group emerged in last November’s midterm elections that deserves to get its own unique name, too. Deplorables, meet the detestables.

The detestables are part of the Democratic freshman class of the 116th Congress. They’re far to the left and they relish the role of political radicals and outsiders. They’re big fans of the nanny state. They’re suspicious of everything from capitalism to Israel. Their spiritual guide is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist. Their intense dislike of President Trump’s agenda often delves into fear, disgust and hatred.


The unofficial ring leader is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old former bartender and educational director of the National Hispanic Institute. She stunned Democratic caucus chair Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th district and beat Republican Anthony Pappas to become America’s youngest female congresswoman.

Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. She supports single-payer health care, tuition-free public colleges, a federal job guarantee and gun control. She also touts a radical “Green New Deal” that would tackle climate change and introduce a 100 per cent renewable energy grid by 2031. It would be paid for, in part, by a 70 per cent marginal tax rate on Americans with incomes over $10 million.

The second-in-command is Ilhan Omar, a 37-year-old Muslim political activist and former director of policy and initiatives at the Women Organizing Women Network. She won the Democratic nomination in Minnesota’s fifth congressional district and beat Republican Jennifer Zielinski with the largest vote percentage (78 per cent) of any female House candidate in state history.

Omar regards herself as a democratic socialist. She supports single-payer health care, forgiving student loans and a $15 minimum wage. She’s one of Congress’ biggest foreign policy radicals, from her support for the BDS movement, to her disgusting remark that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee was the reason why U.S. politicians are supportive of Israel. Indeed, she’s walked a fine line between criticism and anti-Semitism when it comes to the Jewish state.

The third person is Rashida Tlaib, a 42-year-old Muslim lawyer who was born to working-class Palestinian immigrant parents. She finished second in the Democratic primary for Michigan’s 13th congressional district special election to Brenda Jones last August. She avenged that defeat by beating Jones in the Democratic primary for the general election, and easily won her congressional seat.

Tlaib is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. She supports single-payer health care, a $15 minimum wage and reducing Michigan’s escalating auto insurance rates. She also supports the BDS movement, has called for a one-state solution (Palestine, not Israel) and declared that she’s opposed to giving aid to a “Netanyahu Israel.”

American Jews have overwhelmingly supported the Democrats for nearly a century. Many of them complain incessantly about Republicans, including Trump and his deplorables. I believe it’s time for left-leaning Jews to wake up and switch their focus to the detestables. They may not wield as much political power just yet, but they’re quickly gaining influence with young, impressionable voters.

If nothing is done to curtail these young left-wing radicals now, the future will be more detestable than deplorable.

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