Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who ascended to Congress after defeating a longtime incumbent in a primary challenge, hasn’t made many friends in the political establishment since her arrival. Worse yet, though, she may have just turned some of her purported party allies into enemies.
The young congresswoman has come under fire from some of her fellow Democrats for failing to conform to the party establishment, Fox News reported — including by refusing to pay her dues to the House’s campaign organization, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
Making more enemies than friends
The unwritten rule of establishment politics is that elected members of Congress are to support their fellow incumbents for re-election — or at the very least, refrain from explicitly supporting a primary challenger.
Ocasio-Cortez has tossed that aside, however; the freshman congresswoman has publicly expressed support for a number of far-left progressives who are challenging more moderate Democrats in the coming months. But while that has been happening since AOC was first elected in 2018, her latest mishap has, for some, marked the last straw.
The New York congresswoman has said publicly that she won’t help fund the DCCC, which is focused on winning and maintaining a Democratic majority in the House. And while the group can’t require members of Congress to pay up, it is generally expected that anyone who can — and with a massive bankroll, AOC certainly fits in that category — will contribute to the cause.
For her inaction, AOC has cited a “myriad of reasons,” including the “blacklisting” of certain progressive organizations that support insurgent primary challengers like herself. “For me personally, I’m not paying ‘D-trip’ dues,” the congresswoman said, according to National Review.
“Do you want to be part of a team?”
As noted, while the “dues” aren’t exactly mandatory, they are expected to be paid in varying amounts from every member, typically based on a combination of seniority, longevity, and fundraising prowess. In the case of Ocasio-Cortez, who has reportedly raised a jaw-dropping $5 million in 2019, her expected contribution to the DCCC is about $250,000.
For refusing to pay up, Democrat Rep. Gregory Meeks (NY), says AOC isn’t being a team player.
“Sometimes the question comes: Do you want to be in a majority or do you want to be in the minority? And do you want to be part of a team?” the congressman told Fox News.
“DCCC dues are about supporting others because you want to be part of the team,” he added. “The goal is to be in the majority. And the goal is, when you are on a team, I would think, to respect individuals whose districts are different than yours.”
Another Democrat who declined to be named was far less diplomatic with their criticism.
“Deadbeat Cortez should pay her bills,” the member of Congress said, according to the Washington Examiner. “She’s always whining about people paying their fair share, and here she is, leaving her friends with the bill.”