‘Cause what you see, you might not get
And we can bet, so don’t you get souped yet
Scheming on a thing, that’s a mirage
I’m trying to tell you now, it’s sabotage

–“Sabotage,” Beastie Boys, 1994

Sadly, that’s the only word that comes to mind after reading about this sleazy bit of behavior clearly designed to undermine a rising star in the party:

So will Representative Joseph Crowley remain on the ballot in November, and challenge Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as a third-party candidate on the Working Families Party?

That question, raised in an article in The New York Times about third-party politics in New York, took on a life of its own Thursday morning, as Ms. Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to complain about Mr. Crowley — with the longtime congressman quickly responding.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, 28, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Crowley “stood me up for all 3 scheduled concession calls. Now, he’s mounting a 3rd party challenge against me and the Democratic Party — and against the will of @NYWFP.”

Bill Lipton, state director of the Working Families Party, said he reached out to the Crowley campaign immediately after Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s upset victory.

The party wanted to put her on its line in November, and had asked Mr. Crowley to vacate the line by running for another office that he had no intention of occupying and little chance of winning, whether a county clerkship or state legislative post. But Mr. Lipton said the Crowley campaign declined to work with them on the maneuver.

This is nothing short of repulsive, and Rep. Crowley ought to be ashamed of himself. This is not technically a case of OCDS, as Crowley is not a Trump supporter; rather, this is a diagnosis of old-school jealously and sore-loserdom.

It’s clear that Crowley cannot stand the reality that Ocasio-Cortez represents the future of the Democratic Party; the young progressive activist was always supposed to be just a constituent, never a candidate. In his mind, Ocasio-Cortez didn’t wait her turn, and now she must be punished.

Democratic Party leaders should denounce this treacherous behavior and call on Crowley to grow up, knock it off, and have his name removed as a Working Families Party candidate for the New York 14th Congressional District seat. Crowley’s actions are unbecoming of, and unseemly for, a Democrat:

Because of New York’s complicated election laws, Crowley can’t simply vacate the ballot line, unless he dies or leaves the state. The Working Families Party would have to nominate him for another elected position on the ballot. Crowley made it clear that wasn’t something he wanted.

And Crowley’s camp also did behind the scenes damage control on Thursday, blaming Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign for their failure to connect via telephone after her upset win and accusing her of lying to boost herself politically.

A Crowley campaign staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity said three calls that were missed between Crowley and Ocasio-Cortez were due to hang-ups on her end, not the other way around.

“This is not true, she knows it’s not true,” the Crowley aide said. “They’re wrong and she’s just doing it to be politically craven.”

The aide said there are text messages between the two camps showing that Crowley’s team reached out asking for Ocasio Cortez’s phone number, and that her team waited hours to respond.

Furthermore, the staffer says that Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, called Crowley’s team Thursday to admit the information she blasted out on twitter was “a mistake.”

The Crowley campaign aide declined to share the texts with POLITICO.


Nonsense like this is why progressive millennials give the side-eye to the Democratic Party, why they’re so cynical about the party’s commitment to the values Franklin Delano Roosevelt expressed in 1936 and Bernie Sanders reaffirmed in 2016. Crowley’s tone-deafness is astounding: he doesn’t seem to realize that through his actions, he is playing into every suspicion progressive millennials have of Democrats–that deep down, they’re almost as resistant to progressive change as right-wing Republicans. (Crowley’s probably shocked that the California Democratic Party endorsed Kevin de Leon over Dianne Feinstein for the party’s US Senate nomination last night. He shouldn’t be.)

Someone needs to tell Crowley that the primary is over and he lost. Someone also needs to tell him to stop symbolically giving the middle finger to the young woman who defeated him.

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D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.