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.
Dem Girl Wonder Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says we can pay for all the "free" stuff she proposes and BSNBC's Chris Hayes defends her saying "we're rich country & can figure it out." These are the SMART people? Do YOU believe in unicorns? https://t.co/NKO6Ef2tNZ
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) July 31, 2018
“Socialists” like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who are neither anti-imperialist nor anti-capitalist represent the Democratic Party’s idea of a revolutionary shift to the left.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The Democratic Party’s favourite “socialist”
— Sameera Khan (@SameeraKhan) August 1, 2018
Forms of torture:
2. Electric Chair
3. Forced to watch 'The View'
4. Listening to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez try to explain literally anything
— Evan Proksell (@_7thEvan) July 31, 2018
“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.
When did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez become head of the Democratic Party? The media treat her as if her views are held by all Democrats.
— Bruce Bartlett (@BruceBartlett) August 2, 2018
Others on the left urge the establishment to take her more seriously, especially during a radical Republican administration.
https://t.co/c7HamXlicu A sold-out house for Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in San Francisco proves she’s touched a national nerve – Whether or not you call her “radical,” her popularity shows how millennial politics are now everyone’s politics #feelthebern pic.twitter.com/Kw6sgifzm7
— bernie sanders (@BernieSNewschan) August 3, 2018
“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.”
.@Ocasio2018, you make me proud. I can’t run for office because of my immigration status but hearing a powerful, Brown, democratic socialist young woman like you, it makes me wanna change that faster. I can only imagine how many more young Latinas you’re inspiring to lead #NN18
— Erika Andiola (@ErikaAndiola) August 5, 2018
So impressed with the intelligence, practicality, and values of @Ocasio2018. She gives me hope for the future of democracy in America. "Big money can only win against other big money. Everything changes when you can out-organize big money." pic.twitter.com/ny8wTw1r74
— Tim O'Reilly (@timoreilly) August 1, 2018
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.
.@ZephyrTeachout speaking out on Abolish ICE, *while running for NY Attorney General,* while PREGNANT (!!), definitely puts her in the Top 10 bold & inspiring progressive women running for office in 2018.
NY: Vote for Zephyr Sept. 13.
She’s going to make us so proud as NY AG. https://t.co/unKFNjzHoW
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) August 2, 2018
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.
We’ve got about ONE WEEK LEFT until a whole slew of elections come up across the country.
From @KanielaIng & @SaadforCongress to @AbdulElSayed & @CoriBush, it’s time to leave it all on the field.
Check your state primary date & VOTE August 7th + 11th.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) July 31, 2018
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?