AOC Warns Democrats About the Dangers of Over Promising and Under Delivering

Rising superstar AOC made a cogent and important point in her interview with the New York Times, one that Democrats should take to heart as we reach the halfway point in the legislative term, the one in which Democrats (nominally) control both sides of Congress. She said Democrats run a real risk in over-promising and under-delivering, referencing the fact that Democrats passed only $1.75 trillion of the Build Back Better program, leaving almost half of the originally proposed programs off the table (for now).

Now the reconciliation bill heads to the Senate, where conservative Democrats are sure to make even more cuts.

“I think that the worst and most vulnerable position we could be in is to over-promise and under-deliver.”

Close. The worst and most vulnerable position is to promise and not deliver at all, which – at times, is what has been on the line during these negotiations. But her point is well-taken.

“I think that if we pass the Build Back Better Act as the House passed it, that we have a shot to go back to our communities and say we delivered.

“But that’s not to say that this process has not been demoralizing for a lot of folks, because there were enormous promises made. Not just at the beginning, and not just during the election, but that continued to be made.”

AOC is certainly right in that observation. The fact that the biggest obstacle in getting this “21st Century New Deal” done has often been Democrats themselves, two – in particular, Manchin and Sinema, can be infuriating. But now that the $1.75 trillion bill is headed back to the Senate for final reconciliation, AOC worries about what might get “trimmed” further.

The possible cuts threaten the very enthusiasm that put Democrats in the position to enact such legislation in the first place:

‘Democrats have a trifecta and have been unable to pass voting-rights protections. People can wring their hands and say ‘but Manchin’ all they want, or ‘but the filibuster’ all they want, but at the end of the day, what people see are the results of their actions and the results of investing their time.”

This is especially true at this point in time when the calendar is about to flip, Congress will increasingly focus on getting reelected, and Americans – especially Democrats, will look around and wonder what it is we “got” for all the hard work put in to get those Democrats the “trifecta.”

AOC is right. Because if ‘what we got” was mostly the same except for some bridge repairs and a new airport terminal here and there, Democrats will be in real trouble next November. Many of us think we already are. But if the country sees itself transforming over the next year, with long-needed new projects finally starting? The Democrats can rightly tell Americans that they deliver.

Last, AOC overlooked one critical point. Republicans live every day believing that the government is fundamentally incapable of improving people’s lives. The Democrats have already caused significant cracks in that mindset. It is now time to shatter that type of thinking by demonstrating that it takes a government to build a nation back better.