This is epic. Pretty much no one expected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to oust 14 term Congressman Joe Crowley, who was widely seen as Speaker-in-Waiting should the Dems retake the House in November and Pelosi was challenged.
And on top of that, her margin of victory is huge.
So grassroot organizing and actually wanted to serve the members of one’s district paid off. Ocasio-Cortez has a compelling personal story, as the first college graduate in her family who wound up having to work in menial jobs in the hospitality industry as a result of graduating during the financial crisis. She became an activist and among other things worked with Standing Rock protestors. Ocasio-Cortez was discovered and put forward by Brand New Congress. She stands for a solid progressive agenda. Ocacio-Cortez went hard after Crowley for his support of PROMESA, a bill passed to stave off default by Puerto Rico. As the Atlantic noted at the time of the bill’s passage:
Compared to the options left on the table in the final hours before Friday’s default, PROMESA is certainly better than nothing. But when it comes to actually creating long-term stability for Puerto Rico’s economy, the structural problems that have brought about this crisis remain in place. “PROMESA is necessary to stave off an immediate crisis, but it will not resolve the debt situation longer term and there is no viable plan to deal with the longer term collapse of the islands,” says Barry Bosworth, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
When you’ve lost Brookings…
From The Hill:
Longtime Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), who’s been viewed as a potential House Speaker, is projected to lose the Democratic primary, a massive upset that will shake up the political world in New York and Washington.
The Associated Press called the race around 9:50 p.m. EST. With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Ocasio-Cortez was leading Crowley, 57.6 percent to 42.4 percent….
Ocasio-Cortez was one of several insurgent, millennial challengers to challenge entrenched Democratic incumbents in New York City on Tuesday. She ran on the need for new representation, criticizing Crowley for living outside the district. His family owns a home outside of Washington, D.C.
She was also heavily outspent by Crowley, who’s been a formidable fundraiser. The congressman spent $3.4 million, while Ocasio-Cortez spent just $200,000.
Needless to say, neoliberal Vox had to tut-tut her policy positions while effectively conceding that they are winners:
But here is the bigger implication, again from Vox:
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.
What was most exciting for progressives is the degree to which Ocasio-Cortez ran to Crowley’s left. As a member of the DSA, her website is a laundry list of every blue-sky progressive policy: Medicare-for-all, housing and jobs guarantees, gun control, ending private prisons, abolishing ICE, and investment in post-hurricane Puerto Rico.
I'm going to show you just who @Ocasio2018, Justice Democrats, and DSA beat tonight. it isn't @JoeCrowleyNY. It's the most powerful people in America. Here are Crowley donors Sheryl Sandberg, Sean Parker, Google NET Pac, and Facebook's PAC. pic.twitter.com/tqkKYhqSLm
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) June 27, 2018
Crowley also had the endorsement of Governor Andrew Cuomo. ‘Nuff said.