What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Pramila Jayapal, Kamala Harris and Nikki Haley have in common


NEW YORK – So what does Dem giant killer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who, according to her mother has aspirations to be the President of the United States; Nikki Haley, touted as a potential successor to President Donald Trump, Indian American politician, Pramila Jayapal, and Sen. Kamala Harris, who of course, is a strong contender for President herself, have in common?

The answer is: all four women are on a dizzying climb up the political ladder, as they carve indelible impressions on public conscience and sentiment, for their tactic of defiance of Trump, and his outlandish policies and executive actions, regardless of party affiliation.

Strong demonstrations and rallying activism on the ground, versus championing causes through TV channels, is on the upsurge too. This trend is likely to sweep the US through the Presidential elections in 2020, going by the stunning success of the Democratic Socialist Ocasio-Cortez.

The 28-year-old Ocasio Cortez, a protégé of Bernie Sanders, got huge momentum a week before she went up in the primaries against long-time Democratic party boss Joe Crowley, and took him out easily in the polls, after she joined protestors on the southern border to lambast Trump’s policy to separate illegal immigrants from their children.

Ocasio-Cortez traveled more than 2,000 miles to an ICE detention center in Sierra Blanca, Texas, to lend support to an angry chorus of voices demanding an end to the inhuman practice of tearing children away from helpless parents.

Ocasio-Cortez traveled those miles for a cause she felt strongly about. She gave up the time-tested opportunity to knock on more doors in her district, make her case against the veteran Crowley, who was tipped to be the House Speaker if the Dems had taken control of the House.

Savvy voters in New York realized the mettle, drive, passion and potential of this young Latina-origin woman who displayed immense courage and determination to stand up for what she believed was the right thing to do. In her, voters saw somebody who could fight back against Trump, the Republican establishment, and her own party when it came to it; not sit on her laurels if she got elected. They realized she would go a long way to fight for their rights.

Jayapal, the Indian American Democrat Congresswoman from Washington state, took a leaf from Ocasio-Cortez’s notebook this week, and joined more than 2,000 women who gathered in Washington, DC, on Thursday, to protest the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy and the separation of immigrant families.

Some 600 women, including Jayapal, were arrested for sitting and chanting in an act of civil disobedience at the Hart Senate building. Among the demonstrators was Tammy Duckworth, who came with her baby, and tweeted: “What would it be like to have my breast-feeding child ripped away from me? This is deeply personal as a mother.”

In an interview to Elle magazine, Jayapal said the demonstration was “drawing attention to the tragic situation [of] children who are in cages, separated from their parents, parents who are seeking asylum, who are in prison.”

Jayapal didn’t mince any words on how she felt about Trump’s action on illegal immigration: “I’m just so proud of these women who understand what a serious moment we’re in and what a cruel and inhumane and intolerable and unAmerican thing we are doing thanks to the Trump administration,” she told Elle.

Jayapal also revealed that she has previously visited immigrant mothers who were brought to a federal prison in Seattle, some of whom have been separated from their children. She is not done with her string of protests. On Saturday, she is the lead organizer of yet another demonstration across the country to demand the end of family separation and detention.

Harris, who has a strong chance to clinch the Dem nomination ticket in the next Presidential elections – unless Michelle Obama decides to run too, praised Ocasio-Cortez for her upset over Crowley, terming it as “incredibly impressive.”

Harris, who has continued a tirade of counter-attacks against Trump, since he assumed office – with her latest outrage against potential Supreme Court picks by Trump to fill in the vacancy of Justice Kennedy, has a few things in common with Ocasio-Cortez on some left-wing policy goals.

Breitbart pointed out that both Harris and Ocasio-Cortez support Medicare for all and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Though, in Harris’ case, she wants to disband ICE, and then start it from scratch with new rules and regulations in place.

Haley is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing women in America today, with her high flying status as US Ambassador to the UN, a close confidant of Trump who never hesitates to say the President is wrong if she feels so. Somehow, unlike others who have faced the wrath of Trump for saying so, Haley seems to be treated as a favorable child by the President.

Haley also seems to assume the role of Secretary of State sometimes with her strong actions and take on the international arena, including in her trip to India this week, where she met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and asked him outright to cut off imports from Iran.

Coming from somebody else, India would have paid scant respect. But with Haley seen as a strong Presidential candidate in 2020, India is wary of adverse action, pondering on its next move.

What is also becoming clear is that what Hillary Clinton couldn’t do in the last election cycle, some other woman might do very well do so, come 2020.

For this writer, what’s emerging as an intriguing prospect – a tantalizing and dazzling ticket – is a scenario where Kamala Harris gets the Dem nod, and takes on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as her running mate, to blunt Sanders’ edge. To top the mother of all elections, they are up against Haley, who takes on a Latina-origin running mate.

Imagine that!

(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: sujeet@newsindiatimes.com Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)



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