"The establishment" didn't deny AOC a prized committee seat. PROGRESSIVES did.

Photo: nrkbeta (Lic. CC BY-SA 2.0)

There is a lot of alt-left media outrage right now about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (commonly referred to as 'AOC' in a nod to her enviable branding success) being passed up for a plum seat in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The oldest standing committee of the House, the powerful E&C Committee, as it's known, has legislative and oversight jurisdiction over a broad range of important issues, including health care, nuclear facilities, trade policy, energy policy, and climate policy.

The seat was assigned to Ocasio-Cortez's competitor and fellow New York Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice. In a vote of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee - the panel in charge of assigning all Democratic committee seats - Rice badly beat Ocasio-Cortez in a 46-13 vote, after numerous members called out Ocasio-Cortez for targeting fellow Democrats and her pointed refusal to use her considerable fundraising prowess to help the party.  The humiliating defeat came after the Steering Committee voted by secret ballot, as is the committee's rule and practice.

Of course, the fact that members could vote by secret ballot meant that they were able to consider who would actually be a better fit rather than whose fans will threaten and intimidate them. It also sets up a little problem for the socialists in the party, who are having trouble determining which deep-blue district Democrat to primary based on their disloyalty dear deputy (I'd say 'dear leader', but that spot is still occupied by Bernie Sanders). Allow me to help.

First, a news flash for the media's peacock progressives: Progressive members of Congress do serve on the Steering Committee. Shocker from The Establishment (TM), I know, but they do. I have reviewed a partial list of Steering Committee members who served in the current Congress, and I assume that the steering committee for the next Congress will largely remain the same. I then reviewed the updated list of members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which in the next Congress will have two fewer members than they did this Congress.

Here's what I found: at least 26 House Progressives serve on the 59-member Steering Committee. They are: Reps. Barbara Lee, Dan Kildee, Darren Soto, David Cicilline, Deb Haaland, Debbie Dingell, Donald Norcross, Frank Pallone, Frederica Wilson, Grace Meng, Hakeem Jeffries, James McGovern, Jamie Raskin, Jan Schakowsky, John Yarmuth, Judy Chu, Katherine Clark, Linda Sanchez, Matt Cartwright, Maxine Waters, Peter Welch, Rosa DeLauro, Sheila Jackson Lee, Steve Cohen, Ted Lieu, and Veronica Escobar.

Put another way, House progressives control almost half of the Steering Committee Seats.

Now recall that Ocasio-Cortez got just 13 votes to Rice's 46. Let's assume all 13 of AOC's votes came from members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. That means that at least 13 other (rounding out the 26 progressive members of the Steering Committee) Progressive Caucus members rejected her. In AOC's best-case scenario, half of the progressives on the panel backed her rival. If all members of the Progressive Caucus who serve on the Steering Committee had voted as a bloc for Ocasio-Cortez, and only they voted for her, she would have still lost, but by a much closer 33-26 margin.

It's not the "establishment" or the "centrists" striking back, as some at an influential leftwing magazine complained, but more than likely a majority of the people who represent House Progressives could not live with the idea of elevating someone who is more interested in being a social media phenomenon than a real and effective legislator.

That is what you call a stinging rebuke.

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