Ocasio-Cortez Expertly Uses Media Presence to Elevate Campaign Message

In an upset election on June 26, former Bernie Sanders organizer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District against Joseph Crowley by a 15 percent margin.

The 28-year-old Latina ousted New York’s most powerful Democratic representative and 10-term incumbent from the House of Representatives. An upset victory that shocked the district, media and Ocasio-Cortez herself.

Ocasio-Cortez attributes her victory to grassroots organizing and outreach to demographics less likely to vote in a midterm primary election.

“We won because I think we had a clear winning message… We spoke to a community that have never been spoken to before and they responded,” Ocasio-Cortez said to CNN Newsroom Host Poppy Harlow, criticizing New York Democrats’ lack of outreach to demographics outside of their traditional base.

In fact, it’s Ocasio-Cortez’s message that has continued to keep her relevant in the media. Her self-described Democratic-Socialist politics sparked debate over whether or not the Democrats are radicalizing too far to the left, especially with talk of her leading a potential progressive “sub-caucus” in the House.

“She has yet to offer any solutions on how to pay for her fairytale platform, of course, beyond the standard manifesto answer of taxing the rich,” commented Stephen Miller. His take is that by promoting the rising Sanders wing of the party, “Democrats reject the moderate centrist voters that could be key to winning back support in the middle of the country.”

“The truth is that members on the ideological extremes can never dictate to the rest of the House, and certainly not to the entire government, no matter how determined they are,” wrote Bloomberg Opinion columnist Jonathan Bernstein, skeptical of the Democrats need radicalism to pass legislation.

Others on the left urge the establishment to take her more seriously, especially during a radical Republican administration.

“Ocasio-Cortez’s radical socialist ideas aren’t radical anymore. They’re practical and popular.” wrote GQ contributor Jay Willis. He criticized the traditional Democratic approach “which insists on searching for common ground with opponents who have no interest in finding it.”

While pundits debate over her merits, Ocasio-Cortez is capitalizing on the media momentum to elevate her ideas, growing social media presence and fellow progressive candidates.

Now, she’s out on the campaign trail to rally for progressives across the country, working to get candidates like Abdul El-Sayed, Kaniela Ing and James Thompson for Michigan, Hawaii and Kansas respectively on the ballot.

Leading up to the August 7th primaries, will the Democrats opt for the establishment candidates or embrace what some deem as the left’s Age of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

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