HomeCandidates 2018Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez1/7 News Roundup & Open Thread
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On the eighth day of the government shutdown, the Trump Administration was dogged by reports of yet another investigation. New Jersey’s attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, was looking into whether Donald Trump’s golf club in Bedminster had hired undocumented housekeepers—including a Guatemalan woman who told the Times that she had illegally entered the United States from Mexico and often made the President’s bed.

Trump’s troubles with New York’s legal authorities are well publicized. Less well known are the dozens of legal actions against the Administration in which its neighbor across the Hudson has participated, “everything from the travel bans to daca to family separations,” Grewal said not long ago. New Jersey has one of the largest populations of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., an estimated five hundred thousand.

Grewal, who took office a year ago, is the nation’s first Sikh attorney general. On a recent Thursday, he was in his Newark office, wearing a trim suit, a navy turban, and an Apple Watch. He tugged his tie loose. “Since this is not on camera, I can relax for a second,” he said. One of Grewal’s advisers, Andrew Bruck, put a box of Italian cookies on a table and sat down to study his phone.

A few hours earlier, Grewal had held a press conference to announce new rules for the state police, which would limit their coöperation with federal immigration authorities. Under the rules, New Jersey police can no longer detain people based solely on their immigration status or participate in raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Grewal, who is forty-five, lives in Glen Rock with his wife and three daughters, and attends a Sikh temple. Born in Jersey City to Indian immigrants, he learned early on that his fellow-citizens, unfamiliar with Sikhism, might associate him with America’s foreign adversaries. “I remember when the hostage crisis happened, we were all Iranian,” he recalled. After September 11th, he’d experience “just general nastiness,” he said. “Driving on the highway, people would sort of look at you, give you the finger.” Then came Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign. “What we’re seeing—and I think it’s very much a result of the tenor at the top—is a normalization of hate speech,” he said. This past summer, two local radio hosts were suspended for calling Grewal “turban man” on the air. Then the sheriff of the county where he lives—“I thought, a friend,” Grewal said—resigned after he was caught on tape opining that Grewal was appointed because of “the turban.”



But the newcomers’ mix of bold policy proposals and lighthearted personas has caught the nation’s attention — on Friday, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, 29, the youngest lawmaker in the chamber, surpassed Ms. Pelosi in Twitter followers. Their savvy, almost Trumpian use of social media may not pass a national health plan or a 70 percent income tax bracket, but it has helped muscle the policy conversation into the national discourse, and has nudged the party to the left.

Representative Jackie Speier of California, one of the more senior women in the House, praised the new women for “invigorating the Congress” and “having the guts to say these rules don’t make any sense.” Nodding toward their tools of communication, she added, “I think what we’ve learned from President Trump is that people like authenticity.”

The comparison to Mr. Trump may rankle, but their policy proposals bring to mind the Tea Party class of 2011, whose hard-right positions moved the Republican Party by making traditionally conservative proposals seem more moderate.

“In many ways, the positions that very progressive caucus members take help provide space for us to get to yes on some hard issues for folks,” said Representative Dan Kildee, Democrat of Michigan.



The Green New Dealers are taking their movement on the road.

It’s been a whirlwind two months since the youth activists of the Sunrise Movement staged protests in Democratic leaders’ offices, bringing into the mainstream calls for a Green New Deal ― a sweeping federal policy that would mandate 100 percent renewable energy and provide good-paying sustainable jobs to millions of Americans.

Now the Sunrise Movement, likely the nation’s fastest-growing climate advocacy group, is planning a 14-stop tour meant to drum up grassroots support for a Green New Deal across multiple states, HuffPost has learned. It’s the first leg of the group’s effort to make the policy the defining issue of the 2020 election.

“We’re launching the Road to a Green New Deal Tour to activate the millions of Americans who are ready to fight for a Green New Deal but haven’t heard of it yet,” Varshini Prakash, co-founder of Sunrise Movement, said by email. “When you come out to a tour stop, we’ll give you all the tools you need to spread the word within your own community, build support, and pressure your elected officials to take a stand.”



While world leaders converge in Poland for the UN climate change summit, we look at the Indigenous-led fight against destructive oil pipelines and the revolutionary potential of the Green New Deal with Winona LaDuke, Ojibwe environmental leader and executive director of the group Honor the Earth. She lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.



Connie Schultz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist married to Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, said her husband won’t launch a 2020 presidential campaign without her consent.

“Think of any big decision you’ve made in life, you know? Unless you’re forced to make it instantly, it’s something you have to get used to thinking about. I am lucky and burdened to be married to a man who will not do this if I don’t wholeheartedly want to be a part of it all. He just won’t,” Schultz, 61, told CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday of the couple’s thought process. “So, there it is. I’m blaming him and thanking him at the same time.”

Schultz — who wed Brown in 2005 in what was both of their second marriages — said her husband would announce his 2020 plans “within the next two months.”

“There’s a lot of moving parts there,” she said. “There are a lot of lives that are going to be affected and changed. Considering running for the presidency is an earthquake in a marriage, in the best of marriages, and we have a great one. It’s an earthquake for the entire family.”

One of their considerations were “the horrible dirty tactics, particularly of the Trump campaign” that Schultz anticipates should Brown seek the White House, she said.



Where AOC goes, others follow. Bernie and now AOC are dragging that Overton window to the left.


But left-leaning economists note the proposal is hardly radical, given rates that high — and higher — were on the books for for the top income bracket amid the prosperous middle decades of the last century. And some recent research (including from Nobel-winning economist Peter Diamond) argues a top rate slightly north of 70 percent is optimal for the ultra-rich. (The idea also drew praise from at least one figure on the right, with Ann Coulter tweeting she agrees.) Julián Castro, the former Obama administration housing chief moving toward a presidential bid, pointed to history in endorsing Ocasio-Cortez’s idea during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

As my colleague Dave Weigel noted, Castro’s breezy co-signing signals just how quickly the tax policy discussion within the party can leap to the left.

Expect other Democratic 2020 hopefuls to go there soon, too. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), for example, has said she wants to roll back Republican tax cuts passed in 2017. Though she has eschewed naming a number she would favor for a top marginal rate, she has pointed out it was “well above 50 percent” in the post-World War II era. And in her kickoff tour through Iowa this weekend, she said Washington needs to embrace “big structural change” to restore economic fairness.


Right on


Joe Biden is the most popular possible presidential candidate among Democrats so far. He shouldn’t be.

Setting aside his awful political history, let’s give a fair shake to his political views, which he outlined in detail in a speech at the Brookings Institution last year. His remarks demonstrate that while Biden is not quite the grotesque Big Finance stooge he was in his early career, his ideas about political economy are badly mistaken and out of date. He just is not a good fit for the United States in 2020.

All in all, its a bleary recognition of some of the problems besetting America, with a lot of quarter- and eighth-measure solutions that are plainly inadequate to the task, coupled to some abysmal ideas like cutting social insurance programs. So where does he get these ideas? Let Biden speak for himself: “I traveled the country meeting with major CEOs. Between Penny Pritzker and I, we interviewed over 340 CEOs in the top 500 corporations … And the overwhelming message we received from the business community is the same one you’ve received: We need a better educated workforce.”

They would say that, wouldn’t they? Because the plainly obvious fact is that 500 billionaires (and the rest of the top 1 percent) are a huge part of why we’re in trouble. They constitute an oligarchy, which dominates politics and uses their control over the levers of policy to enrich themselves and keep the working class down. Biden can’t see this, perhaps because he has been ideologically indoctrinated, or perhaps because he is personally too close to the oligarchs.

America must do better than heavily compromised, penny-ante liberalism in 2020.