Should Pramila Jayapal or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Lead House Progressives?

Marc Ash / Reader Supported News
Should Pramila Jayapal or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Lead House Progressives? Progressive lightning rod, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (photo: Remezcla)

George W. Bush’s former Communications Director Nicole Wallace hosts a prime 2 hour midday time slot on MSNBC, during a discussion of the perils of Russian state-run media she quipped, “State run media or media run state.” Chuckles followed from all guests.

The perils of state run media are painfully self-effacing. When the state controls the media the state controls all aspects and affairs of the nation. The state is free to define the truth and its ramifications.

But what happens when the media controls the state? You get a corrupt message and result for sure but you can get far worse. Let’s assume hypothetically, an aspiring authoritarian sought the powers of the US presidency and let’s say that his dark theatrical style lent itself well to television ratings. Good television ratings obviously can generate enormous revenue. And let’s say that in pursuit of those high-value theatrics for-profit commercial media companies elected to award the aspiring authoritarian around-the-clock coverage of every word he spoke at every rally, literally propelling him to a major political party presidential nomination and the presidency itself. And with the powers of the US President now in hand the aspiring authoritarian sought to cancel free and fair elections. What would happen then? Historically control of the media and all news reporting would soon follow. And that leads us full-circle to state-run-media.

Pramila Jayapal is a frequent guest on cable news, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rarely is. It tells you a great deal about how and why power flows on and off Capitol hill.

Pramila Jayapal is a good Progressive. She is passionate about Progressive positions and lends her lived experience to her vision for leadership admirably. She is also patient and non-confrontational in her approach to problem solving. Her leadership style is stateswoman like, with an air of gravitas badly needed in today’s highly polarized political atmosphere.

Pramila Jayapal also seems wholly unprepared for a knife fight. That’s inconvenient because capitol hill even in the best of times relates more like the Sharks and the Jets from West Side Story than rational adults trying to reach productive solutions.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other hand sees through the game. She understood where men like Josh Gottheimer and Joe Manchin were going and what their intentions were. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was prepared for battle and she understood fighting that battle with a strategic advantage would have a far greater probability of success than ceding responsibility to fight for Progressive priorities to Joe Biden in the Oval Office.

House Progressives entered 2021 with a historic Congressional advantage. With a caucus estimated at more than 100 members they had tremendous strength in numbers. What they lacked was commitment and leadership. 100 members is great, but not if they cut and run at the first sign of trouble. 20 Progressives who are truly prepared to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and fight might have been quite a bit more effective.

Getting the Build Back Better Act or the For the People Act across the finish line was always going to be the hardest part Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez understood that Pramila Jayapal appears not to have. House Progressives should have been prepared for the knife fight they knew or should have known was coming. Instead they settled for promises. Now they have to fight the exact same battle without the leverage they gave away.

Pramila Jayapal is a frequent guest on cable news, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rarely is. It tells you a great deal about how and why power flows on and off Capitol hill. If the process plays out on commercial news broadcasts then commercial news broadcasters will broker the result and the result will likely be what best suits parent companies of commercial news broadcasts.

Progressives fight, it’s what we do. Pramila Jayapal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are both good progressives. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have a bit more fight in her. Time to rally truly committed House Progressives and prepare to get back into the good fight.

AOC for House Progressive Chair.



Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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