5 reasons alexandria ocasio-cortez’s win is so important

Ocasio-Cortez won 57.5 percent of the vote in NY-14’s democratic primary, beating out longtime establishment incumbent Joe Crowley.

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Jun 27 2018, 6:57pm

Scott Heins 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t a name many people outside of New York — or, let’s be honest, many people living here — were familiar with before last night. That was before the 28-year-old democratic socialist scored a surprise win in New York’s 14th congressional district, beating out 10-time(!) establishment incumbent Joe Crowley, a.k.a. the King of Queens, who the dems already were eyeing to replace Nancy Pelosi as minority speaker. Even Crowley couldn’t contain his excitement! Or at least he did a very good job at hiding his disappointment, performing a solid rendition of “Born of Run” by neo-lib spirit animal Bruce Springsteen. Well played, sir, well played. Ocasio-Cortez’s own reaction to her win is pretty epic, because she won by a lot, scooping up 57.5 percent of the vote, while Crowley had 42.5.

If she wins in November — which is very likely, given the last time New York’s 14th went republican was never — Oscasio-Cortez will be the youngest member of congress. Here are five reasons you should keep an eye on her in the lead-up to the midterms.

Her platform is progressive AF (abolish ICE, anyone?)
Ocasio-Cortez is a former Bernie Sanders organizer who’s endorsed by a slate of progressive bodies, including Justice Democrats and the NYC Democratic Socialists. Because take a look at the issues she supports, including: Medicare for all, universal living wages, paid family and sick leave, fully funded public schools, justice system reform, immigration justice, infrastructure overhaul (including a 100% investment in renewable clean energy), housing as a human right, and ending the corrupt influence of corporate finance in public elections.

But let’s backtrack to that immigration thing — Ocasio-Cortez supports the abolishment of ICE, a stance most democrats are scared to even talk about, yet one that has come to the fore in light of the Trump administration’s horrific child-separation policy. Ocasio-Cortez traveled to the Mexican border just last weekend to protest the separations. But she won by actually talking about the issues, rather than focusing energy on the president — a very simple tactic that’s worked out in the past, shockingly.

She was a political novice until very recently
Before stumping for Sanders in 2016, and protesting the Standing Rock reservation that same year, Ocasio-Cortez dabbled in establishment politics in the office of Ted Kennedy — though had little desire to run herself. “Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office,” Ocasio-Cortez famously said in her campaign video. Then she protested the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and. Her change of mind was spurred by the 2008 recession, she recently told The Intercept, while she was a 19-year-old undergrad at Boston University. Her father passed away from cancer that year and the family became locked in a savage court battle over his will, while surviving on very little money. Which brings us to:

Her district is majorly diverse and has a large working-class population: and Ocasio-Cortez reflects that
From college until just last year, Ocasio-Cortez worked as a bartender to support the income of her Puerto Rican mother (her father was born in the Bronx), who worked as a cleaner and bus driver. Ocasio-Cortez is an accurate reflection of the diverse, working-class district she’ll likely be representing come November. One of her biggest Crowley criticisms was that she doesn’t even go here. A democrat “who doesn’t live here, doesn’t send his kids to our schools, doesn’t drink our water or breathe our air cannot possibly represent us,” Ocasio-Cortez said in that viral campaign video. And she’s still paying those student loans.

She was outraised 10-1, and received $0 from big donors
Who didn’t get Ocasio-Cortez’s vote? Wall Street, lobbyists, or companies from the for-profit real estate, healthcare, or defense industries. She raised zilch from the big donors establishment democrats rely on, while Crowley accepted n $12 million from fancy corporate backers. Ocasio-Cortez instead ran a ballsy grassroots campaign powered by the people.

She’s a Miranda!
Ocasio-Cortez and Cynthia Nixon endorsed each other for congress and governor respectively. The two female progressive primary candidates rallied together this week, with Nixon calling Ocasio-Cortez the “future of the Democratic Party,” and praising the younger woman’s vision of “a progressive New York that serves the many, not just the few who can afford to buy influence.”