Jessica Cisneros is being referred to as “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Number 2,” and it’s not hard to see why.
Like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Cisneros is young, Hispanic, and enamored with far-left ideas such as the Green New Deal and free college for everyone. Furthermore, Jessica Cisneros is aiming to oust a long-term Democrat congressman who doesn’t embrace a far-left, progressive agenda, just as Rep. Ocasio-Cortez did in New York in 2018. Not surprisingly, Ms. Cisneros, like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, is backed by Justice Democrats, a radical progressive group that promotes even more government involvement in the lives of businesses and ordinary citizens alike.
The man that Jessica Cisneros is aiming to oust, Rep. Henry Cuellar, is inarguably a moderate Democrat. He is opposed to gun control and using taxpayer money to fund abortions. Statistics show that, in 2018, his votes aligned with President Trump’s position over 50% of the time. However, it’s also not hard to see that Rep. Cuellar is doing his best to represent what he feels are the wishes of his district.
As Cuellar’s campaign accurately notes, South Texas isn’t the same as New York, and the people in his community aren’t interested in embracing a far-left platform that precludes politicians from reaching across the aisle to get things done. A closer look at Rep. Cuellar’s voting record makes it clear that he favors business creation and growth as well as medical assistance for those in need.
Ms. Cisneros and the Justice Democrats believe that Rep. Cuellar is not only too moderate, but also vulnerable. They note that the district is known for favoring Democrats, as is evidenced by the fact that no serious Republican challenger has emerged to take on Rep. Cuellar since the incumbent won his first election back in 2004. They also note that Ms. Cisneros appeals to young voters as well as Hispanic ones; both demographics are plentiful in the district.
This might go as smoothly for this young, hip progressive as they did for her prime inspiration, AOC. Ms. Cisneros’ efforts to oust Rep. Cuellar could be met with opposition from the DNC itself. Party leadership has made it clear that it will not tolerate efforts to get rid of incumbent lawmakers. In fact, the party recently moved to ensure that challengers aren’t provided with logistical and financial assistance. However, the fact that leftist activists are gaining more popularity in the party may make it difficult for the DNC to maintain support for incumbents that aren’t willing to move in that direction.
The DNC is already ambivalent about its support for Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the few anti-abortion Democrat politicians in Washington, who is being challenged in his district in Illinois. Only time will tell if senior Democratic Party leaders will attempt to maintain some sort of unity within the party or if they will allow the party to be overrun by left-leaning activists.
Jessica Cisneros’ candidacy is one that deserves attention even if the odds of her actually winning are slim. While Justice Democrats doesn’t have a great record for winning congressional races, it has been successful in pressuring politicians into embracing far-left positions on a wide range of issues.
The continual push to oust experienced, incumbent Democrats and replace them with young, inexperienced newbies is a dangerous one — for Democrats themselves. Putting a far-left candidate up for election in a moderate district could very well lead to a successful GOP challenge.