The New Blue House of Representatives: A Time of Change
Clarence Page, Pulitzer Page winning journalist and syndicated columnist for the “Chicago Tribune”, wanted to become a journalist “so I could be where the action is, where things happen.” He has lots of material to work with these days.
Filling in for Congressman Jamie Raskin, who had to cancel in order to cast his vote on the latest bill to stop the government shutdown, Page spoke about this being a time of transition and great change.
“We’re seeing new battle lines, coalitions and agendas,” he said. Some of this is due to the new freshman class in the Democratically-held House of Representatives, which is young and diverse. It’s a battle of homogeneity versus diversity.
Page specifically named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, (AOC), New York’s newly elected representative, for her outspoken remarks and tweets about Trump. “She draws fire and gives it back.” Social media has changed the landscape in politics and elections,” Page remarked. “It brings people in and uses data to target voters.”
The new “blue” freshman class is prioritizing the fight against corruption, according to Page. They’re pushing for new reforms and procedures. But he pointed out that there are some intergenerational battles within the Democratic party regarding issues such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare for all, male accountability, and college affordability.
ACA has become more popular with both parties, Page said, especially providing for preexisting conditions. But it’s also misunderstood by some. He recalled a meeting with a West Virginia woman who said, “I’m lucky to have ACA, not Obamacare.”
Page lamented that the media has a difficult role to play. It needs to cover Trump because there is interest in him and he is the president. “If we didn’t cover him there would be complaints too.”
In terms of potential candidates, Page says that “likeability is not essential for electability, but it helps.” Democrats need to balance diversity without alienating white male voters.
Regarding the shutdown, Page pointed out that both parties support border security, but the Democrats find the prospect of building a wall ineffective and immoral. He predicted that when a final decision is made, both parties will claim victory.