Cortez Shocks The Establishment
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-D) had the support of numerous national progressive organizations Justice Democrats and Our Revolution, while also receiving support from Brand New Congress, MoveOn, and other groups that felt she was the candidate best suited to serve New York’s 14th District.
Despite incumbent Joe Crowley (NY-D) serving in the United States House of Representatives for two decades; gaining a significant amount of power within Congress, serving as the chair of the Democratic caucus. Within the past few months showed ambitions to one day become the Speaker of the House if Democrats were to regain control of the House.
However, Cortez’s resounding primary victory last night has sent shockwaves through the political landscape, shocking pundits, and journalists who ignored the long and efficient grassroots campaign of Ocasio-Cortez.
How Cortez Won
National political analysts have attempted to minimize the effectiveness of the Cortez campaign by reducing her victory to her ethnic and gender identity.
Again, it's probably not any one thing that allowed Ocasio-Cortez to win. It was some combo of running to the left, being a woman, being a minority (in a majority-minority district), running a very good campaign, and Crowley dismissing her at points.
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) June 27, 2018
Politico, which has misrepresented the electoral success of Our Revolution during this election cycle used a similar talking point to explain the Cortez victory.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, challenged Joe Crowley on ideological and racial grounds, arguing that the 10-term congressman was not in step with his majority-minority district and was too cozy with corporate donorshttps://t.co/K0wwYn6frN
— POLITICO (@politico) June 27, 2018
In reality, the strong progressive platform Alexandria Ocasio Cortez ran on was far more of a factor than the demographic makeup of the district or her gender. Crowley was able to easily maintain his seat for nearly a decade with a similar constituent base.
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) June 27, 2018
Cortez made her “abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)” along with ending private prisons key parts of her justice reform plan. Cortez also supports Medicare for All, campaign finance reform, and viewing housing as a human rights concern.
If Ocasio-Cortez ran on a similar Third Way platform as Crowley, it’s highly unlikely that she would have defeated the incumbent in such sweeping fashion.
According to an interview with The Young Turks (TYT) after her primary victory, Ocasio-Cortez credits the Justice Democrats organization for supporting her campaign from the very beginning. During the interview, she also stated that her campaign highlighted registering independent and unregistered voters as Democrats prior to the registration deadline to ensure they would be able to vote during the primary.
She made several appearances on TYT’s Rebel Headquarters program during her campaign, which was the only major outlet covering the Cortez campaign until Crowley asked to debate Cortez late in the campaign. After the first televised debate on June 15th, Crowley dismissed Alexandria by sending a surrogate in his place to a planned debate against his then-challenger.
Emma Vigeland and Ryan Grim of TYT were at Ocasio-Cortez’s headquarters as the race was called. Emma was able to interview Cortez after the candidate expressed her gratitude to supporters.
Our Revolution President Nina Turner released a statement soon after the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez victory was announced:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran a bold campaign built on substance. She ran in the interest of the people, not corporate developers — Medicare for All, the abolition of ICE, affordable housing, a federal jobs guarantee, wages working families can live and thrive on — these are the needs of the working people of New York’s 14th, and Alexandria presented a bold set of proposals to serve those needs. Our Revolution is proud to have endorsed and worked on her behalf.
Ocasio-Cortez was at a major financial disadvantage, yet was able to make the best use of resources while knocking on as many doors as possible. Her model of beginning a grassroots campaign over a year prior to the election may provide a future model for progressive campaigns.
Is This A Sign Of Future Election Results
In the post-World War II era, the red rose has been a symbol for Social Democratic and Democratic Socialist parties around the world. The British Labour Party, Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP), The Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSD), and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) are among those who use rose imagery in their party logo.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory over Joe Crowley, along with national polling detailing support for Social Democratic policies (Universal Healthcare, tuition-free public college, raising of the minimum wage, etc) could signify a ‘Wave Of Roses’ in upcoming election cycles.
Groups like Justice Democrats, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and Our Revolution are likely to become larger influences in the Democratic primary process as they continue finding electoral success against Third Way Democrats attached to the corporate establishment.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will face Republican Anthony Pappas on the November 6th general election. Cooks Partisan Voter Index rates the seat as ‘D+29’ making a Pappas victory highly unlikely.
If victorious, Ocasio-Cortez (28) will become the youngest woman ever elected to the United States House of Representatives.