Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Victory Is a Canary in the Dems' Coal Mine

His defeat marks a potential sea change in party politics - a result with implications for Democrats nationwide that would recall, as optimistic progressives routinely noted during the campaign, former GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor's loss to the insurgent, tea party-backed Dave Brat in June 2014.

All eyes are on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old democratic socialist who unseated 10-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley of New York in a major primary upset in New York City Tuesday night.

But Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform of progressive ideals such as Medicare for all, abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a "universal jobs guarantee", "housing as a human right", free rides to universities and public schools, and investing in 100 percent renewable energy.

The raucous victory party for congressional giant-killer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez featured a who's who of progressive NY politics, including actor-turned-gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon.

Ocasio-Cortez broke through the status quo in her progressive New York City district by becoming the first person of color and woman to challenge Crowley in 14 years.

Although commentators have often emphasized the candidate's appeal in one of the most diverse districts in the country - she is a third-generation Bronx woman of Puerto Rican descent - Ocasio-Cortez often leads with the language of class interests, in addition to race and gender.

"This is not an end, this is the beginning", she said to her supporters during a CNN interview on Tuesday.

To better understand what happened, I spoke to a Labour Party member who played a role in helping Ocasio win.

"I was born in a place where your zip code determined your destiny", the political newcomer said in her viral campaign video.

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Ocasio-Cortez studied economics and worldwide relations at BU and worked in Sen. "And you know, in certain seats where it's appropriate, I think that a new leaf could actually mean a lot of opportunity for the party and future".

Like Dave Brat, the upstart who beat Cantor, Ocasio-Cortez drew a sharp ideological line between herself and the incumbent, suggesting his cautious centrism and corporate ties made him a poor representative of such a heavily Democratic district.

"She answered the call", he said, adding that people who know her are "collectively beaming with pride".

"We're a district that covers the Bronx and Queens and Rikers Island", she told United States news outlet Mic during her campaign. "This is why we must come together". It was a trip to Standing Rock in 2016 that ultimately pushed her to take the chance and run in her longtime district. She will face Republican Anthony Pappas.

"I can not put this into words", Ocasio-Cortez told a reporter at the party.

"She is the flawless intersectional candidate", said Nomiki Konst, an adviser to the Sanders-backed progressive group Our Revolution.

Crowley was considered a rising star in the Democratic Party who was likely to continue to climb the leadership ladder. "I counted out that possibility because I felt that possibility had counted out me".

"I was really motivated", said Daniel Puerto, 26, who immigrated to the USA from Colombia. The 28-year-old first-time candidate toppled a US House speaker-in-waiting twice her age in New York's primary election.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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