Freaking the Hell Out of Congress - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Freaking the Hell Out of Congress
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Summer Lee, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district (YouTube/Justice Democrats)

PITTSBURGH, Penn.“What we need to do is take over the Democratic Party,” insisted Cenk Uygur, co-founder of the Justice Democrats. “We’re going to primary all of the establishment Democrats…. We’re going to primary all vulnerable Democrats.” Collaborating with the Democratic Socialists of America and its members-candidates running for Congress, Uygar declared: “We want hundreds. We want to replace Congress.”

If he and his cohorts could get into Congress a dozen or two individuals like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, Uygar assured, “People would freak the hell out.”

Uygar was not shy about this. He said it explicitly on his The Young Turks television show. (Click this video. The entire video is extraordinarily revealing.)

In case you haven’t noticed, the minority aspect — a female who is an ethnic or religious minority — is a crucial component of the Justice Democrat-DSA strategy.

I’ve written about this strategy in the past for The American Spectator. Since it was first conceived in January 2017, there have been some internal fireworks among the Justice Democrats, with not all perfect in lefty la-la land. In December 2017, Uygar and colleague David Koller were expelled from the Justice Democrats for old statements (made 18 years prior) that the leadership judged “sexist and racist.” They were canceled (the left eventually eats its own). Nonetheless, their strategy lives on, and Uygar continues to support the Justice Democrats, their cause, and their candidates.

Today, the Justice Democrats is run by Alexandra Rojas, who has been a supporter of the group from the beginning and its executive director since May 2018. She picked up the Uygar mantle. Her group has teamed with the radical-left Democratic Socialists of America, which bills itself as “the largest socialist organization in the United States.” The DSA and its self-described “94,915 comrades” have had great success conspiring with the Justice Democrats in implementing a winning model to elect their candidates nationwide.

The strategy is simple and quite Machiavellian: They run Justice Democrat-endorsed candidates — most to all of them DSA members or advocates — in safe Democratic districts against traditional Democrats during Democratic primaries. Once the traditional Democrat is defeated, the moonbat Democrat secures the seat with effectively no competitive Republican opposition in the November general election.

This was how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) got elected in New York’s 14th District. The model was perfected by AOC, who in 2016 had responded to a literal casting call issued by Alexandra Rojas and her Justice Democrats: “Back in 2016, we put out a call for nominations,” explains Rojas candidly. “We got over 10,000 nominations. Out of those 10,000, we found Alexandria.” AOC was working at a restaurant. Her brother nominated her that summer. She was surprised that she was picked. (Both Rojas and AOC talk about this here.)

AOC, a member of the DSA, fit the part perfectly. Right out of central casting.

With AOC as their Manchurian candidate, the Justice Democrats and DSA targeted New York’s 14th District, a fully Democrat seat held for 20 years by Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent. On June 26, 2018, Ocasio-Cortez defeated Crowley, and in turn easily won in November, where she effectively had no meaningful Republican competition.

Behold, now she is elected Congressgirl Ocasio-Cortez.

Very importantly, most of these candidates — in keeping with the DSA’s attitudes — are very anti-Israel and often accused of anti-Semitism. That’s especially the case with two other DSA members elected to Congress: Ilhan Omar and the weeping Rashida Tlaib. They, too, pulled off stunning victories to get elected to the U.S. House as Democratic Socialists of America turned Democratic Party members.

All along, these electoral coups have further emboldened the Justice Democrats and DSA. They are highly confident, and rightly so.

In 2020, they elected another radical, Cori Bush, to Missouri’s 1st District, which includes all of the city of St. Louis. Bush’s campaign followed the template perfectly, as she ran against 10-term incumbent Lacy Clay. Her victory made her the first African American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri.

In case you haven’t noticed, the minority aspect — a female who is an ethnic or religious minority — is a crucial component of the Justice Democrat-DSA strategy. Key above all, however, is the candidate’s connection to the Democratic Socialists of America. That’s priority number one. The candidate must be to the left of Lillian Hellman. Indeed, even the more traditional Democrat legislators targeted and primaried have largely voted as liberals, dutifully toeing the Democratic Party line, but that’s not good enough for the DSA-Justice Democrat crusaders. They want the most hardened leftists in these seats. They want a revolution.

As Uygar vowed, they want a new Democratic Party.

Well, it’s time to add a new name to the roster, another incoming member of “The Squad.” In recent weeks here in the Pittsburgh area, they’ve scored another triumph with a woman named Summer Lee.

Lee likewise hails from the DSA, though she reportedly might have had a recent split with the Pittsburgh chapter and her current affiliation is unclear. Following the AOC template, Summer Lee and her comrades in 2018 targeted a Pennsylvania House seat against longtime incumbent Paul Costa. Lee ran openly and aggressively as a DSA member. Here again, once the traditional Democrat was defeated, the ultra-left Democrat secured the seat without Republican resistance in November. Lee beat Costa and won the seat.

For 2022, Lee’s backers eyed up a bigger prize: She and the Justice Democrats targeted a seat held for 14 terms by Pittsburgh Democrat Mike Doyle, a nondescript, cooker-cutter, cut-and-paste, forgettable Democrat. The Justice Democrats rallied behind Summer Lee’s candidacy, urging voters to excitedly elect the first black female to Congress from the Pittsburgh district.

A slight problem, however: Though Pittsburgh is a city, it isn’t New York City. Pittsburghers are more traditional. Their Democrats are not what Jeane Kirkpatrick (a great friend of The American Spectator) described as “San Francisco Democrats.” Summer Lee would not have an easy race.

And indeed, Summer Lee’s candidacy very much upset moderate Democrats, especially Jewish voters concerned about Lee’s position on Israel. AIPAC, in fact, devoted significant resources against Lee. The Jewish press, locally and nationally, carried articles relating those fears among Jewish voters. The 14th District includes Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, which is the historic Jewish section of Pittsburgh. A wonderful place where I’ve been spent many days of my life going back to the 1980s, Squirrel Hill sickeningly became the sight of a terrible tragedy in October 2018 when the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre erupted (I wrote here at the time about my own family’s witness to that horrible event).

Importantly, Summer Lee does have supporters among Jewish voters, some of whom lashed out at AIPAC’s ads against her. Lee’s campaign manager is Jewish, and wrote a piece for the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle staunchly defending Lee against charges. The Jewish vote, of course, is hardly monolithic. Here in Pittsburgh, too, it predictably broke down largely among liberal versus conservative Jews. But even then, there was widespread Jewish opposition to Lee at a level heretofore not seen toward any Democrat frontrunner.

At the last minute, many Jewish voters rallied around local Democrat businessman Steve Irwin, including outgoing Rep. Mike Doyle, who endorsed Irwin. Lee, conversely, was endorsed by the Democratic Party’s far-left ideologues: Bernie Sanders and the “Squad”-DSA troika of Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar. Concerned moderate Democrats urged Republicans to switch party affiliations to vote for Irwin.

An organizer of that effort was Charles Saul, a Pittsburgh attorney. Saul in April had attended a public event hosted by the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, which featured public interviews with all the candidates. He said that Summer Lee came across as “bright … and likable” but that only made her “more dangerous.” A New York Post piece, aptly titled, “‘Squad’ wannabe Summer Lee spooks Jewish voters ahead of Pennsylvania primary,” reported:

But it’s not just Lee’s associations. Most alarming, Saul contends, are her views.

He pointed to a past tweet in which Lee compared Gazans, in the context of Hamas’ terrorist bombing campaign in May 2021, to black Americans in terms of oppression. Saul also objects to Lee’s defense of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to economically isolate Israel. (Lee maintains that she is “not a part of” the BDS movement.)

Andrea Chester, an English composition instructor at Allegheny Community College in Pittsburgh, fears that if Lee is elected, she will join radical forces.

“It’d be really bad to have someone else be part of the Squad,” Chester said. “They … don’t understand Israel’s need for self-defense.” Chester sent out several dozen e-mails attempting to persuade Republicans to change parties and vote for Irwin.

Cheryl Moore, 57, a nurse and research program manager at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is a Democrat who appealed to fellow Democrats to get out the vote for Irwin and also encouraged Republicans to cross party lines and support him. “This has been a grassroots effort asking for a little time to explain things,” Moore said.

The issue, for Moore, is one of extremism versus moderation.

Summer Lee so concerned Jewish voters that some Jewish organizations poured enormous funds into the race to try to defeat her. According to an analysis at RealClearPolitics:

In total, pro-Israel groups spent at least $2.5 million on the race, almost all of it attacking Lee. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s political wing, the United Democracy Project (UDP), spent more than $2 million running attack ads and a direct mail campaign. Despite being funded by a pro-Israel group, none of the UDP’s ads or mailers mentioned Middle Eastern politics, Israel or Palestine. Instead, the ads questioned Lee’s Democratic Party credentials, highlighted her 2020 criticism of then-candidate Joe Biden, and cast her as a threat to the party.

That is a huge amount of money. And that notion of a “threat” to the Democratic Party is not some novel creation. Moderate Democrats everywhere have been quietly dreading this radicalization of their party by the likes of future Squad types. Naturally, their liberal national media doesn’t make a big stink about it. CNN and MSNBC and the New York Times are too busy lighting their hair on fire over Donald Trump and foaming at the mouth about “white supremacy” in the GOP. But in reality, veteran Democrats know what’s up. The James Carville and even Nancy Pelosi types know. As Carville once raged about Bernie Sanders, “Bernie is not a Democrat!” Neither are many of these Justice Democrat-DSA plants. They are democratic socialists running as Democrats, exploiting the Democratic Party as their Trojan Horse to win elections and implement their literal socialist agenda.

They are hijacking the Democratic Party.

Thus fearing just that from Summer Lee, many Pittsburgh Democrats rallied against her. In mere weeks, Steve Irwin almost completely erased Lee’s lead. Though not by enough. Out of over 110,000 votes cast, Lee prevailed by about 700.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, meet the newest member of the ever-expanding “Squad”: Congresswoman Summer Lee.

How big will The Squad get? Cenk Uygar expressed high hopes five years ago: “It will be a new wing of the Democratic Party…. What we need to do is take over the Democratic Party…. We want hundreds. We want to replace Congress.”

“People would freak the hell out.”

Yep, they sure will. And that freak-out of Congress is underway.

Paul Kengor
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Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Pa., and senior academic fellow at the Center for Vision & Values. Dr. Kengor is author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
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