If Democrats want to recapture either house of Congress in November, former Governor Michael Dukakis is warning his party not to use Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset last month in New York as the new playbook.
“I think it’s a mistake to exaggerate the importance of what happened in the Bronx. I mean, that’s not the country,” the former Democratic nominee for president and Massachusetts governor told Jim Braude on Greater Boston.
Cortez’s primary victory in June over incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley, a powerful member of House leadership, stunned the political establishment. A first-time candidate, Cortez embraces the democratic socialist banner of progressive politics – a leftward shift not everyone in the party is entirely comfortable with.
This weekend she linked up with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for a tour of the Midwest where the two campaigned for Democratic candidates.
But Dukakis is not convinced her brand of politics will work.
“The notion that somehow you can generalize from her victory that that’s got to be the Democratic strategy here I think is a serious mistake,” he told Braude.
Instead, Dukakis suggested Pennsylvania Congressman Conor Lamb as a better campaign model. He said the democrat, who won his own upset race earlier this year with a moderate message, was “a lot closer to what has to happen in most of the country.”
Dukakis, a professor at Northeastern University, also cautioned Democrats not to get into an ideological back-and-forth. “It seems to me that we ought to make sure we don’t get into these ridiculous intramural fights at a time when the goal has to be saving American democracy. I mean, that’s what's really is going on here.”
During his interview on Greater Boston, Dukakis also weighed in on Trump’s time in office, a recent state cost assessment of an underground rail proposal to link North and South stations and his wife, Kitty Dukakis’ experience with electroshock therapy.