Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) is a rising star in the Democratic Party — but not everyone on the left is happy with that reality, and some would like nothing better than to see her pushed out of elected politics altogether.
One possible way to achieve that goal is through the congressional redistricting that occurs following the census every 10 years. New York state is likely to lose a seat in Congress due to a reduction in population, and the district represented by Ocasio-Cortez seems like a good one to eliminate for those who seek to rid themselves of the upstart leftist firebrand, The Daily Wire reports.
Report: NY will lose a congressional seat
After each census is completed every 10 years, there is a reapportionment of Congress to better represent shifts in population that often requires states to redraw the lines of its congressional districts to either add or remove a seat, depending upon whether or not that state’s population increased or decreased substantially over the preceding decade.
According to Business Insider, New York will almost certainly lose one of its districts as it has experienced a significant loss in population, with at least 126,000 fleeing the Empire State between July 2019 and July 2020, almost half as much as the estimated 80,000 who left the state between 2018 and 2019.
Reports indicated that joining New York in the category of states that are likely to lose one or more seats in Congress are Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. Meanwhile, states that gained population over the past ten years and are likely to receive one or more additional seats in Congress include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas.
The growing expectation that Ocasio-Cortez’s district is the one that New York will eliminate through redistricting stems from internal opposition to the young congresswoman that dates back to her 2018 upset primary victory over incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), a party leader and ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who was viewed by many as the heir apparent to the speakership, according to The Hill.
In fact, less than a month after Ocasio-Cortez was sworn into office in January 2019, there was already talk among Democratic establishment circles — both at the local and national level — of finding and supporting a viable primary challenger to take on the young progressive and stymie her efforts to disrupt business as usual in Washington, D.C.
That plan was fairly short-lived and never fully pursued, however, and The Intercept reported about a week later in February 2019 that a new plan was being formulated among Democratic power players to try to squeeze Ocasio-Cortez out by way of redistricting in 2021.
In theory, redistricting in New York is done by a purportedly independent and nonpartisan commission comprised of members appointed by leaders of the state’s General Assembly and Senate and the commission itself. In reality, however, the commission is expected to play nice with the state’s political establishment as it knows exactly where its power is derived from.
This potential plan to carve Ocasio-Cortez out of New York’s congressional representation carries a huge risk of backfiring on the Democratic establishment.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is up for re-election in 2022, and he could well face a serious primary challenge from the establishment-scorned former congresswoman.
Thus, the Democratic establishment has to decide which is worse: a disruptive member of New York’s delegation in the House, or that same disruptive member being elevated to one of that state’s two seats in the arguably more powerful and influential Senate.