Steny Hoyer faces primary challenge

Seeking to follow the path blazed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, someone called Mckayla Wilkes is challenging House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in the Democratic primary in Maryland’s 5th congressional district. Wilkes doesn’t quite have Ocasio-Cortez’s credentials. As far as I can tell, she never tended bar.

Instead, Wilkes is (according to The Intercept) a 28-year-old administrative assistant, part-time student, and mother of two. Thus, even without bartending, her resume is sufficiently thin to pass muster with progressives.

Wilkes is running on the Green New Deal and Medicare for all. She also wants “affordable housing.” Apparently one recession caused by “affordable housing” wasn’t enough for her. But then, she was still a teenager when that happened.

I see no evidence that Hoyer is in serious danger of losing to Wilkes. However, Joe Crowley probably saw no evidence at this time in 2017 (or even 2018) that he might lose to Ocasio-Cortez.

Mark McLaurin, a left-wing activist and the political director of SEIU 500, says the climate is ripe for taking down veteran lawmakers in Maryland. He pointed to the 2018 cycle when leftist candidates unseated some of the most powerful politicians in the state, including state Sen. Thomas Middleton, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, who represented part of Hoyer’s district.

Hoyer has long been one of Israel’s staunchest supporters among Democrats. However, Wilkes’ challenge may cause Hoyer to become less staunch. She has already attacked him for being mean to Rep. Ilhan Omar and for criticizing the Muslim representative at the recent AIPAC policy conference.

Yesterday, Hoyer rallied to the defense of Rep. Rashida Tlaib. As I discussed here, she made a bizarre and historically inaccurate comment about the Holocaust and the formation of Israel. President Trump pounced on the statement in a tweet.

Hoyer responded by calling on Trump to apologize to Tlaib. Trump’s tweet may have been a bit over-the-top, but so were Tlaib’s comments. Trump does not owe her an apology.

Would Hoyer have demanded the apology absent Wilkes’ challenge? I don’t know, but I think it’s a fair question.

What I think I know is that, with 28 year-old lefty bartenders and administrative assistants mounting credible challenges to liberal but not hard left Democratic incumbents, there is no Democrat in the House (and maybe in all of Congress) whom Israel can trust to stand up to the increasingly anti-Israel Democratic base.