Chuck Todd had a fascinating conversation yesterday with Alexandria Casio-Cortez. They touched on Medicare for All, and the Green New Deal, and the freshman congresswoman showed she knows exactly what she's doing, and how she's going to get there.
"Are there specific red lines for you? Medicare for All -- do you have to say you'll do it or is aspiring to it in the future enough for you?" he asked.
"I think that we need commitments with teeth. I don't want to be placated as a progressive. And I know the progressive movement does not want to be placated in 2020," she said.
"What's the definition? For instance, Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown -- they both are arguing they love Medicare for All, but they say it's unrealistic. Let's fix Obamacare, let's do Medicare 50. Would that a nonstarter for you?"
"For me, I reject that outright. I reject the rationale of saying adopting the same or similar insurance models is unrealistic. I reject that. I reject the idea that single payer is impossible. I reject the idea that universal health care is impossible. All of these things are possible," she said.
"When I talk about what I want in a 2020 candidate, I want a candidate that says we can do these things, we can be audacious. To overcome this moment, we need to return to our FDR roots as a party."
Todd said he was talking to his producer yesterday, who said FDR had a "massive majority" when he went to push his deal through. "You don't have a massive majority. You don't have a majority at all on the other side of the capital. So how do you do it?"
"So this is a big part of when you break down our strategy on the Green New Deal. When you go back to our requests in the fall, we spoke about the need to draft a blueprint by 2020. So what this really is, is an organizing play. It is so that by 2020 we can get all of those chess pieces in order. We can get a majority in the House, the Senate, we can capture the presidency and get things done."
"You may have to compromise to get your 60," Todd said. "Joe Manchin, a very influential Democratic senator, he used the word coal nine times on Tuesday, and at the end of the day, Chuck Schumer, your senior senator there, he wants to find 51 senators to get the majority."
"I think when it comes to making the compromises it's all about the landscape when we get there. There are some compromises that I think are on the table if we have just 51, but I think some of those are off of the stable if we have 60. I can't speculate to what it would be for any variable makeup in 2020. But the thing we can control is starting our organizing."
It feels weird, doesn't it? A Democrat who understands if you start from a position of compromise, all you're going to get is weak tea -- we haven't seen one of those for a while. Being under Republican majorities for so much of this era has trained Democrats to always start with the middle, which is a hostage mentality. But if you want audacious things, you have to help Democrats get a commanding majority. An FDR-size majority.
You have to see the forest, not the trees. AOC is an organizer. She gets it.