Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, age 29, has to be one of the more unlikely, but nevertheless, entertaining, members of the new Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. She first came to public prominence by defeating a member of the House Democratic leadership in a surprise upset during the primaries. Since her Queens district was drawn to elect a Democrat, her victory in the midterms was assured. Now, the fiery young representative-elect is about to embark on her next political crusade – against the House Democrats.

Ocasio-Cortez wants to primary House Democrats

According to Politico, the former barmaid from Queens conducted a video conference call during which she urged young progressives, such as herself, to primary current Democratic members of the House. The theory is that the current House Democratic Caucus, including leader Nancy Pelosi, is not sufficiently left to pass the socialist agenda that she favors.

The proposed campaign goes against every unwritten rule about being a freshman member of the House. The rule is that the newly elected representative is seen but rarely heard. A new congressman or woman should cultivate the approval of their party leaders to get plum committee assignments. They do not try to lead a revolution to topple said leadership.

A left-wing version of Newt Gingrich

I think that Ocasio-Cortez’s strategy, strangely, is a left-wing version of the one followed by Newt Gingrich when he was first elected to Congress 40 years ago. Gingrich wanted to awaken the House Republicans from their permanent lethargy as part of the minority. Gingrich used the hour long special orders, broadcast by C-Span, to elevate his position and impart his ideas.

Gingrich succeeded beyond every expectation. In 1994, he led a revolution that captured the House for the Republicans for the first time in over a generation. While the House passed a lot of Gingrich’s Contract with America, a lack of discipline on the part of the first Republican Speaker in 40 years and an unexpected defeat of Republicans in the 1998 midterms, led to the end of Gingrich’s political career.

Nevertheless, the former speaker is now a respected elder statesman by Republicans and a media personality.

Gingrich had one advantage that Ocasio-Cortez lacks. He knows quite a bit about history, economics, and public policy.

A younger, female version of Bernie Sanders

I feel Ocasio-Cortez is also very much like Bernie Sanders, the elderly senator from Vermont. She is a self-confessed socialist. She supports measures such as universal healthcare and the Green New Deal, for which she joined a demonstration outside Nancy Pelosi’s office. The young representative-elect has not come off well during press interviews, however, failing, for example, to explain how she would pay for single-payer health care.

Ocasio-Cortez has demonstrated an unbecoming petulance on social media. She complained, for example, about the way she was allegedly treated by being mistaken for a spouse and then an intern.

On the other hand, Ocasio-Cortez did blast the tax breaks that Amazon won for building a headquarters in Queens, winning some grudging respect from conservatives.

Still, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is going to be a member of Congress for the next two years, at least until the Democratic establishment finds someone to primary her in 2020. Until then, she constitutes a gold mine of material for people who write about politics and tell jokes for a living.