Some primaries were held last night, and there is news. The New York Times talks about a candidate who won the Dem primary in the House 14 (notably, the Times never even mentioned her before in any article, showing how unlikely her win was):
She has never held elected office. She is still paying off her student loans. She is 28 years old. “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in a viral campaign video released last month.
They certainly weren’t supposed to win.
But in a stunning upset Tuesday night that ignited the New York and national political worlds, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx-born community organizer and member of the Democratic Socialists of America, defeated Representative Joseph Crowley, a 19-year incumbent and Queens political stalwart who had not faced a primary challenger in 14 years.
Mr. Crowley, who is twice Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s age, is the No. 4 Democrat in the House of Representatives and had been favored to ascend to the speaker’s lectern if Democrats retook the lower chamber this fall.
If Ms. Ocasio-Cortez defeats the Republican candidate, Anthony Pappas, in the predominantly Democratic district in November, she would dethrone Elise Stefanik, a Republican representative from Central New York, as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress (Ms. Stefanik was 30 when she took office in 2015).
“I never really saw myself running on my own,” she told New York magazine this month. “I counted out that possibility because I felt that possibility had counted out me. I felt like the only way to effectively run for office is if you had access to a lot of wealth, high social influence, a lot of dynastic power, and I knew that I didn’t have any of those things.”
But if Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has, overnight, become the face of progressives’ hopes for ousting not only Republicans but also moderate Democrats who they see as insufficiently outraged about President Trump, her bid against Mr. Crowley predates the anti-Trump backlash that has fueled what many see as a “blue wave” across the country.
She has credited her decision to seek office with her experience protesting at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in 2016 against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Soon after, she was contacted by Brand New Congress, a newly formed progressive organization that asked her to run.
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, who has called for Medicare for all, tuition-free public colleges and the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, made her underdog status the central pillar of her upstart campaign.
In her bid against Mr. Crowley, she was unafraid to foreground race, gender, age and class. When Mr. Crowley sent a Latina surrogate to debate Ms. Ocasio-Cortez last week, citing scheduling conflicts, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez blasted him on Twitter for sending someone with a “slight resemblance to me.” She attacked Mr. Crowley for taking corporate money, for not living in the district and for looking increasingly unlike the constituents of the Bronx and Queens he was elected to represent.
Crowley was gracious in defeat. And he didn’t seem as surprised as everyone else. He knows his district — the district where the fictional Archie Bunker lived — is very heavily non-white. Even though he outspent Ocasio-Crowley ten-to-one, he didn’t campaign, and he even sent a surrogate to debate her once.
Crowley, who has been in Congress since 1999, is the No. 4 Democrat in the House and was widely viewed as an eventual successor to minority leader Nancy Pelosi. Though he was a stalwart progressive on nearly every issue, he also had close ties to Wall Street. This made him a formidable fundraiser, something Ocasio-Cortez turned against Crowley in the primary. She eventually fundraised about $600,000 through small-dollar donors.
What does her victory mean? Ocasio-Cortez’s victory is a story of the complacent establishment taking voters for granted. It’s the story of how the Democratic Party is getting pulled to the left. It’s also about how it’s not just progressive policies that are reshaping the party, but also people of color.
Ocasio-Cortez ran decidedly to the left of Crowley, but she also shook up how Democrats go about getting elected. Until now, Democrats have seen big money in politics as simply a deal with the devil that had to be made. Democrats are so often outspent by Republican mega-donors that they viewed courting big-dollar donors and corporations as part of creating a level playing field.
But if one of Democrats’ top fundraisers and likely successor to Nancy Pelosi can be toppled, perhaps Democrats need to rethink that deal.
Best reaction comes from Trump and GOP Chairwoman Kayleigh McEnany.
That so-called blue wave? More like a red tsunami… https://t.co/cIeI1II52U
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) June 27, 2018