Wall Street Couldn’t Beat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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Photo Credit AP News

The Democratic Congressional Primary showed, once again, that the country is ready to take away the privilege of the 1% and take control of national politics.

After an unexpected victory in the 2018 midterm elections, and after becoming the youngest Congressional representative, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has done it again, this time defeating not only her opponent but the Wall Street establishment.

AOC won nearly 70 percent of the vote against Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchorwoman and former Republican, who won only 18.7 percent of the vote in person, according to the Associated Press.

The only area in which Caruso-Cabrera made the race competitive was in her fundraising, getting more than $2 million obtained only “in big checks from the financiers whom Ocasio-Cortez has made a point of targeting,” according to the Washington Post.

AOC, for her part, ended up raising $10.5 million in small donations, staying true to her grassroots policy principles.

Ocasio-Cortez told CNN in March that “it’s everyone’s right to enter the race” when asked about primary challengers, but added that “anyone who poses a challenge gets kind of automatically platformed by Republican and far-right publications and they can fundraise off of it.”

However, the biggest blow of AOC’s victory was for Wall Street, an infrastructure that dominates the American economic system, and that saw in the representative a natural enemy, especially because of her role in the House Financial Services Committee.

AOC has pushed a list of proposals aimed at the industry and its executives, proposing, for example, a tax on financial transactions and an individual income tax of more than $10 million at 70 percent, the Post added.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Caruso-Cabrera obtained $23,850 from employees of the largest U.S. banks, including $5,600 from Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, according to Federal Election Commission records. It raised another $16,800 from six executives of private equity giant Blackstone Group, including CEO Steve Schwarzman.

And a parade of top Wall Street investors also donated the maximum allowed to Caruso-Cabrera. Among them are hedge fund billionaires Christopher Flowers; Paul Tudor Jones of Tudor Investment; John Paulson & Co. of Paulson; and Nelson Peltz and Peter May of Trian Fund Management. The list goes on, as she also collected checks from Interactive Brokers founder and billionaire Thomas Peterffy; Crestview Partners CEO Barry Volpert; and Key Square Group founder Scott Bessent. 

Several of her sponsors were traditional Republican Party donors: TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, Elliott Management executive and former Bush administration official Dan Senor; former Bush administration economist Larry Lindsey; Home Depot founder and billionaire investor Ken Langone; Gristedes Foods billionaire CEO John Catsimatidis; and billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller. (Druckenmiller also contributed $25,000 to a super PAC called Fight for Our Communities, which spent $28,000 on digital ads and direct mail aimed at Ocasio-Cortez; Caruso-Cabrera’s husband, Stephen Dizard, managing partner of the investment firm Wood Capital Partners, was the group’s largest donor, contributing $30,000, according to FEC records.)

Ideologically, the two candidates are also radically opposed.

While AOC is a staunch advocate of progressive proposals such as the Green New Deal and Medicare For All, Caruso-Cabrera has described herself as centrist and moderate, asserting that “Medicare for All is not the answer,” and dismissing the Green New Deal as “divisive politics,” CNN added.

Caruso-Cabrera argued that Ocasio-Cortez is “M.I.A.” and cares more about building a national profile than her constituents. In an interview with CNN, she said the congresswoman “wants to be a national star,” adding, “I want to be a congresswoman for the people of the Bronx and Queens.

Ocasio-Cortez told CNN in March in response to accusations she isn’t focused on her district: “Really, it just makes the person sound tone deaf because if you think I’m not around, the person who’s not around is you, because you don’t see us and we’re everywhere. But if they want to go out and say things that are not true and run a Trump-ian style campaign, that’s on them.”