Graham Vyse, an editor at The New Republic, shows how Betsy DeVos has created a fissure within the Democratic party over school choice.

By her passionate advocacy for charters, vouchers, and every other alternative to public schools, she has put pro-school choice Democrats like Cory Booker into a bind. Booker has vociferously supported both charters and vouchers, yet as a Democrat with hopes for the future, felt compelled to vote against DeVos. It is somewhat amusing to watch him and others try to put distance between themselves and DeVos when she is carrying out the same ideas they have publicly espoused. Any Democrat who is aligned with DeVos on any part of her repugnant agenda should change parties.

“The ground definitely is more fertile,” said Preston Green, an education professor at the University of Connecticut. “I think President Trump’s support of choice does make it difficult. It might make people think twice about it, and especially DeVos’s selling of it…. You’re definitely starting to see a shift.” Meanwhile, the Trump administration’s education agenda and criticism from civil rights groups “might have made it easier for those who oppose charters to oppose them more vociferously.”

Brookings Institution fellow Jon Valant made a similar case in February, writing that “the Trump administration’s support of charters and choice may be distracting from—and contributing to—an emerging political threat to school choice programs, especially charter schools: renewed skepticism from Democrats.” In other words, with her extremist position on school choice, DeVos may be harming the very movement she helped build.

The recent report by the NAACP calling for regulation of charter schools is another straw in the wind, a very large straw, suggesting that the Democrats’ embrace of school choice is politically hazardous.

DeVos is a gift to those of us who have warned for years that privately managed charters is a decisive victory for privatization and a significant step away from democratically controlled public education.

The message of her tenure in office is that school choice is a radical rightwing strategy that defunds public schools.

She gives Democrats a new opportunity to separate themselves from the favorite cause of the Walton family, the Koch brothers, and the Republican party.

As the recent Democratic gubernatorial primary in Virginia showed, candidates who support public schools without qualification can energize their base of teachers and parents. Democrats who favor any form of privatization will be unable to call upon that base.

If Democrats hope to win back a significant share of House seats in the 2018 election, they must put support for public schools at the top of their agenda. That’s where the voters are.