Is AOC Too Radical? Legal Challenge Questions Her Role in Progressive Politics

Andrew Leyden /
Andrew Leyden /

A legal challenge has surfaced to boot Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez off the Working Families Party (WFP) ballot line for the upcoming November 5 general election, sparking buzz around her supposed dedication to helping families. According to the scoop from The Post, this move is the latest attempt to squash the WFP’s influence in the Bronx while subtly questioning just how ‘working family-friendly’ Ocasio-Cortez really is.

A challenge was filed with the Board of Elections to limit the influence of the Working Families Party, especially in the Bronx. The influential labor-backed organization is considering a new identity that pushes Democrats further to the left. The shift in the political landscape of the WFP is due to internal debates between labor unions that played a crucial role in establishing the party in the late 1990s and the more progressive faction of the party.

Those party leaders who are moving further left are attempting to strengthen their alliance with groups like the Democratic Socialists of America. Due to its newer left-leaning tendencies, the party has begun to show cracks. Key unions have withdrawn their support recently.

Ian Carpenter, an independent voter from Astoria, Queens, who lodged the objections against Ocasio-Cortez’s WFP voter signatures, criticized her approach, stating, “Her platform is not all helpful to working families. She’s too involved in social experimentation.”

The WFP often provides a crucial second ballot line that boosts Democratic candidates against Republicans in competitive districts and supports progressive candidates in Democratic primaries through grassroots campaigning.

It’s not the first time she been removed, in 2020, Ocasio-Cortez was removed from the WFP ballot line following a petition challenge by her then-primary opponent, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera. Recently, similar challenges have targeted nine Democratic candidates endorsed by the WFP in The Bronx, including Representative Adriano Espaillat, State Senators Robert Jackson, Gustavo Rivera, Jose Serrano, and Assembly Members Karina Reyes and Amanda Septimo.

Additionally, WFP petitions supporting Jonathan Soto, a former campaign aide of Ocasio-Cortez aiming to unseat Assemblyman Michael Benedetto in a primary, were challenged. Benedetto had previously defeated Soto in 2022.

Dion Powell, a district leader for the Bronx Conservative Party, expressed that the challenge is part of a broader effort to oppose the WFP’s tactics of endorsing left-leaning candidates in areas like The Bronx, where he claims the party lacks a genuine organizational presence. “They do zero work in our county. They have to go,” said Powell.

The WFP has dismissed these challenges as trivial distractions. Ravi Mangla, a spokesperson for the WFP, conveyed confidence that their candidates would remain on the ballot, stating, “This is a distraction meant to waste everyone’s time.”