Fake News: Democrats Did NOT Reveal Plan To Fire Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Democrats Did NOT Reveal Plan To Fire Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Did Democrats reveal a plan to fire Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after there was quite some criticism surrounding the launch of her "Green New Deal"? No, that's not true: a hyperpartisan site twisted a report from The Intercept into something that contradicted what the report was actually saying and added a headline that was not true at all.

The story originated from an article published by GOP Daily Brief on February 14, 2019 titled "After Alexandria's Green Deal Fails - Democrats Reveal Plan To Fire Her" (archived here) which opened:

Democrats are turning against AOC - she's going to pay for her mistake.

The media helped Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez win her congressional race. The woman had no experience and was clearly ill-equipped to be a leader.

Now everyone knows it, after she put forward a Green New Deal that was utterly pathetic. It could not have gone worse for her or her party.

She tried to take it back. Her staff lied about it. Top 2020 candidates endorsed it, only to be embarrassed and shamed.

Now the party is seeking to erase this massive mistake, by making sure AOC never runs again.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail, leading them to think there actually was a plan to fire her which was somehow revealed by the Democrats:

After Alexandria's Green Deal Fails - Democrats Reveal Plan To Fire Her

Democrats are turning against AOC - she's going to pay for her mistake.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a U.S. Representative and you don't just "fire" them. Unless voted out by a two-thirds majority in the House (which only happens for very serious reasons) a member serves a two-year term (which Ocasio-Cortez just started last month). It is higly unlikely the Democrats would attempt to eject one of their more popular and nationally known politicians with help from the Republicans. What the story suggests instead is that by redrawing district boundaries Ocasio-Cortez could somehow see her home district removed from the map so she would be prevented from running for re-election in 2020. There is indeed a legally required process to redraw district lines after each census, so theoretically this is possible if she doesn't run in whatever new district she ends up in:

Redistricting in New York - Ballotpedia

Redistricting is the process by which new congressional and state legislative district boundaries are drawn. Each of New York's 27 United States Representatives and 213 state legislators are elected from political divisions called districts. United States Senators are not elected by districts, but by the states at large.

The story claimed the source for the news about the plan to fire her was this story at The Intercept:

New York Democrats Could Eliminate Ocasio-Cortez's District After 2020

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is prepared for the possibility that Democrats in New York could redraw her district after the 2020 election, she told The Intercept in an interview. Following the 2020 census, every state will draw new district boundaries to reflect changes in the population, the political implications of which will stretch for at least the next decade.

That story indeed says there is some internal opposition to Ocasio-Cortez in her own party and that it was indeed possible her district would substantially change. She even said so herself according to The Intercept:

The 29-year-old congressperson noted (accurately) that it's generally expected that New York will likely lose a seat, despite the city itself growing at a consistent pace. "I don't know if that means that all of our districts are going to be redrawn dramatically, because they have been historically gerrymandered, or what will happen, but there's certainly a possibility, if not a guarantee, that my district in the coming years will not look like my district today," Ocasio-Cortez said. "So I think it's entirely possible, and New York politics being what it is, we have no idea where things are going to go."

But the story also notes:

Indeed, Ocasio-Cortez could just run, and probably win, in any nearby New York City district the party may try to draw for her. She noted that when it comes to future redistricting, she's in a unique situation because her name recognition is so strong "that even when I won my primary in New York [District] 14, we won like a third ballot, a third-party primary in a different congressional district the same day." And that was in November 2018, before an endless media cycle that has been all Ocasio-Cortez, all the time.

Moving her into a different district would pit her against another incumbent Democrat, and that Democrat has an incentive to avoid that race. "Maybe some people wouldn't want trouble for themselves," she noted.

The Intercept even lists potential names being floated as challengers:

So far, the effort to primary Ocasio-Cortez, however, isn't going well. The Daily Caller followed up on the article in The Hill and spoke to New York Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf, who said three names were floating around as potential challengers to Ocasio-Cortez: New York City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Sen. Julia Salazar, and Assembly Member Catalina Cruz.

It then noted all three of them are on record as supporting Ocasio-Cortez.

So this "plan" that was supposedly "revealed" seems to consist of waiting until the next election and hoping somebody from her own party will challenge her and win (in her current or in a new district, with all likely candidates currently on record as saying they support her). Not really a plan then, more like wishful thinking by a hyperpartisan headline writer...

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  Maarten Schenk

Maarten Schenk is the co-founder and COO/CTO of Lead Stories and an expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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