Why is the establishment Democrat I beat in the primary still running against me in the general election?

Why is the establishment Democrat I beat in the primary still running against me in the general election?


Just doing my tiny part here to try to midwife a vicious Democratic civil war.

“NYWFP” stands for New York Working Families Party. Joe Crowley, the high-ranking House Democrat whom Ocasio-Cortez upset last month in the NY-14 primary, earned that party’s nomination for the general election on the assumption that he’d surely be the Democratic nominee too. Oops. Ocasio-Cortez is the Dem nominee — but Crowley, a name many local voters will recognize, will now be on the ballot this fall anyway. Which raises a nightmarish possibility for Democrats: What if a bunch of low-information Democrats turn out for the general election in November and reflexively pull the lever for Crowley, not realizing that he’s no longer the choice of their party?

Don’t think it could happen? Well … you’re probably right. If there’s any inkling this fall that Crowley might win as a third-party candidate, I’d expect Dem leaders to get involved and publicize the fact that Ocasio-Cortez is their choice. As much as they might personally prefer Crowley, any shenanigans that snatched a sure House seat away from the great socialist hope would be a declaration of war on the party’s far-left base. But, going strictly by the numbers, it’s at least conceivable that Crowley would have the votes to beat her. She won the primary by 15 points, true, but that 15 points translates into a margin of just 4,000 votes. Overall, a bit more than 27,000 people voted last month; in 2014, the last midterm, *67,000* people voted in the general election in November. Having Crowley on the ballot is a risk to Ocasio-Cortez, however small.

The good news for her is that he’s said he isn’t running. He conceded the election to her and endorsed her:

The bad news is that his signals to others seem a little … mixed:

Even in Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s district, the Working Families Party line was won by Mr. Crowley, who had secured that party’s endorsement. Bill Lipton, state director of the Working Families Party, said he immediately reached out to Mr. Crowley’s campaign to request that he vacate the line.

To Mr. Lipton’s chagrin, his campaign declined; Mr. Crowley will remain on the ballot in November. “You’d think that given the moment we’re in,” said Mr. Lipton, “that Democratic leaders would want to help progressive forces to unite.”

Lefties are pounding him on Twitter but Crowley is continuing his two-step, insisting that he’s 100 percent behind the nominee and also that, ah, there’s nothing he can do about opposing her this fall:

I’m not sure that fourth point is true. Per the NYT, “There are no residency requirements … for some offices, and election lawyers say Mr. Crowley could put his name in nomination for any number of positions.” That is, if Crowley agreed to be the WFP’s nominee for some other political office, they could drop him as nominee for the House seat and give Ocasio-Cortez a clear path. So why won’t he do it?

Hmmmm. The party’s stuck for now, but they’re doing what little they can to remedy the situation:

You may ask, why would a minor party with a very outside but still precious chance of actually winning a House seat this fall want to waste that opportunity by aligning with the Democrat? Presumably they fear it would be a pyrrhic victory: A Crowley upset of Ocasio-Cortez would give the WFP a seat in Congress but render it a curse word among leftists for years to come, incinerating what little interest there is in it locally. Better to just follow the Democratic lead.

Exit question: Is there any “Operation Chaos” potential here for Republicans? NY-14 is a very, very blue district: In 2014, Crowley pulled 75 percent of the vote with the Conservative Party candidate finishing third behind, er, blank ballot. (There wasn’t even a Republican nominee.) You’d need a shockingly tight race between Ocasio-Cortez and Crowley to make Republican votes matter despite the best efforts of local Democrats and the WFP itself over the next three months to sideline Crowley or even oust him from the ballot. So, no, no chaos in the offing, almost certainly. But vote Crowley anyway just in case.





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