AOC isn't very well liked by corporate donors or the billionaire class but she is beloved by grassroots donors-- and she rakes in huge amounts of money. She shares it with her colleagues, not through the DCCC which she detests but directly. Most campaigns are thrilled and grateful to get her $5,000 checks. Most. Late yesterday, Politico reported that some conservative Democrats are fretting over the association with her, even to the point of returning the money. GOP-lite conservatives Conor Lamb, who fancies himself a candidate for the open Pennsylvania Senate seat, and New Dems Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, all from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party, were reported to have rejected the contributions.
When I mentioned this to former Orlando Congressman Alan Grayson, who is considering challenging Marco Rubio next year from the Florida Senate seat, he noted that "Yes, conservative Democrats must be very confused, if they think that there is a problem taking a campaign contribution from AOC, but no problem taking a campaign contribution from DC lobbyist bottom-feeders looking for a tax break, a no-bid contract, a subsidy or 'deregulation.' That’s not just hypocrisy, that’s hyperventilating hypocrisy."
Politico reported that "The New York Democrat sent the contributions to her colleagues to help keep the House majority ahead of a tough cycle without directly contributing to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with which she’s publicly clashed. But Ocasio-Cortez's largesse-- and an oversight at the campaign headquarters-- has instead raised awkward questions among her colleagues as some swing-district Democrats fret over whether to return her money before the GOP can turn it into an attack ad.
Normally, swing-district Democrats are scrounging for every last dollar to help them secure their reelections, particularly in a first quarter that has been tougher than usual for candidates across the board. But the Ocasio-Cortez donation, these Democrats said, was unsolicited and came without warning. Many of their campaigns did not receive a heads-up from the DCCC about the donation until after it hit members’ accounts-- a move that surprised senior aides and campaign consultants.
“The GOP has spent four years saying the frontliners are all socialists. Now they’ve got the receipts to prove it. Anyone telling themselves this won’t be in campaign ads is in denial,” said one Democratic consultant who works for swing-seat members.
...[Some] Democrats said they saw Ocasio-Cortez’s interest in helping endangered incumbents as a positive sign for party unity... [a]nd privately, the liberal star already is personally close with some of the frontliners, many of whom were elected in the same blue wave that helped Democrats recapture the House in 2018.
She offered to make similar donations to frontline Democrats during the 2020 election cycle but only contributed to those who took her up on the offer, according to two sources familiar with her political operation.
The sophomore New York Democrat spent years at loggerheads with the campaign arm and is among several progressives who have refused to pay member dues to DCCC, in part because of its treatment of liberal primary challengers
Her current round of donations alone-- an intended total of $160,000-- amount to more than half of Ocasio-Cortez’s entire dues goal for the 2020 cycle, according to a dues report obtained by Politico.
Politico also noted that some of the real rotgut conservatives like Jared Golden of Maine "have sought to distance themselves from the left wing of the caucus." It's hard to imagine why AOC would contribute to assholes like that anyway. Golden is a knee-jerk opponent of everything she stands for. "Many of the Democratic frontliners," according to Politico, "are particularly anxious this cycle after their party’s down-ballot disaster last November, which wiped out 13 incumbents. Even Democrats who clung onto their seats saw victory margins much closer than expected and remain shocked by inaccurate polling." No Democrats supporting progressive causes were defeated, just conservatives who deserved to lose their seats. Leave it to Politico to conveniently forget that fact.
Now Republican campaigns have obvious fodder for attacks on many of those Democrats as “funded by” or “taking money from” Ocasio-Cortez. Past GOP attempts to elevate Ocasio-Cortez and other younger Democrats of color into bogeywomen haven't paid huge dividends with independent voters, but their effectiveness in motivating the Republican base means they're likely to continue-- particularly as President Joe Biden looks to incorporate some of her priorities into his agenda.
Still, several Democratic operatives said they are expecting GOP candidates to run attacks yoking their members to Ocasio-Cortez and democratic socialist policies whether or not her contributions get returned.
“If the Republicans are going to hit us on AOC, they’re going to do it anyways,” said one Democratic source close to the process. “They don't care about the truth.”
If AOC is interested in contributing to candidates who will fight on her side for the issues most important to all of us, I would suggest this site, instead of giving money to people like Slotkin, Bourdeaux, Lamb-- who's not even going to stay in the House-- and Golden. I wonder if any Republicans are discouraging contributions from Marjorie Taylor Greene (Q-GA), Lauren Boebert (Q-CO), Mad Cawthorn (Nazi-NC) or from any of the supporters of domestic terrorism like Paul Gosar (AZ), Andy Biggs (AZ), Mo Brooks (AL), Louie Gohmert (TX), Gym Jordan and... oh, speaking of child molesters, what about Matt Gaetz? I don't recall hearing about Brian Mast or Lauren Boebert sending back their Matt Gaetz campaign contributions.
Jason Call, our progressive candidate in northwest Washington, is reading between the lines. He said he applaud's AOC's "masterful chess move here. She is clearly drawing lines for the rank and file Democratic voters to see, while taking the high road and offering an olive branch. She is subtlely asking voters to weigh the establishment response and start defining in their own minds what kind of Democratic Party they want representing them in Congress. It's embarrassing to see the establishment of the party run so hard away from her. Let's be clear, politics is such a money-driven enterprise that Lamb and Slotkin each raised closed to $9 million dollars in their seat-winning races in 2018. They don't need Courage to Change's money, and they'd rather appeal to a centrist middle than show any hint of association with the progressive wing of the party. If voters are paying attention, they'll see that as a rejection of policies like Medicare For All and the Green New Deal. They'll see it as adherence to corporate profit driven austerity economics, a hallmark of neoliberalism. It would be great if DCCC Democrats took Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's lead and fought hard for working people. There's nothing that earns a vote better than good public policy."