Earthquake in the Bronx: Ocasio-Cortez Beat 10 Term Establishment Dem Crowley in Primary

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.

Crowley also had the endorsement of Governor Andrew Cuomo. ‘Nuff said.

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    1. Lambert Strether

      Nonsense. It’s nothing to do with the so-called Blue Wave, unless the Blue Wave is socialist. Ask one of ’em; I doubt they’ll agree. This is an insurgency that wrecked a Democrat machine.

      Although I knew the usual suspects would try to hijack this; thanks for confirming.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        LOL … #BlueWave

        Congratulations to all Democratic winners tonight. NY’s Democrats turned out in extraordinary strength to be heard. We must harness this blue wave of energy to continue to move NY and the country forward and ride it over the Trump administration’s hateful agenda in November.— Andrew Cuomo (@andrewcuomo) June 27, 2018

        Someone tell Andrew there’s a difference between a wave you’re looking to ride and a tsunami that’s about to wipe out your #VichyDem resort.

          1. ChrisAtRU

            “Purple wave, Purple Wave …

            Purple wave, Purple Wave …

            Purple wave, Purple Wave …

            Love to see Dem Centrists losing in the Purple Wave …”




            1. juliania

              Bravo! to her!

              “We’ve got people; they’ve got money.”

              That’s a winning sentence, no doubt about it.

    2. ewmayer

      Blue wave? LOL, more like a pinko wave. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – quite the opposite, in fact!

  1. AstoriaBlowin

    The democratic machine in NYC does absolutely everything it can to suppress turnout to protect incumbents so I was happy to see it blow up in their face today. But still pretty grim to see only 25,000 people voting. I voted against Crowley cause he came out against installing protected bike lanes in Sunnyside which was none of his business anyway as a federal official. I wrote to him expressing my disappointment and he actually called me to talk about it! We had a nice conversation but still once you choose parking over people’s lives it’s over.

    Ocasio has some good talking points but she also comes across as a NIMBY which is not a good look in a city with a serious housing affordability and availability crisis.

    1. Big River Bandido

      still pretty grim to see only 25,000 people voting.

      Consider that in New York State:

      • Federal primaries (June 26) are held on a different date than state primaries (Sept 13)
      • This race was the only race on the ballot in this district
      • Democrat primaries are closed primaries
      • To vote in a primary, one must declare party preference 8 months before the election
      • The Board of Elections is under a consent decree for violating voters’ rights in the 2016 primary
      • Polling irregularities and voter purges are endemic
      • The entire Democrat establishment in NYS prefers to discourage voting

      In light of all these shameful factors intended to depress turnout, I’d say 25,000 for such a primary is quite high. Crowley’s vote total was probably about the same as it’s always been…the only reason he wasn’t turned out all these years is no challenger could organize 15,000 voters before.

      1. johnnygl

        Good summary of the horror show of NY state elections. 2nd lowest turnout in the nation!!!

        1. Big River Bandido

          That’s a feature, not a bug. It’s how the establishment pols prefer things. Easier for them to get re-elected and all…although it didn’t work out that way this time.

          1. Scott

            If memory serves, a few counties in NYC were covered by the Voting Rights Act before it was gutted by SCOTUS. This made the city one of the few places outside of the South that fell in that distinguished category.

          2. Code Name D

            Which insergent voters are slowly begining to learn how to navigate. Making them less effective over time.

  2. Altandmain

    It is certainly a major step forward and will hopefully be the first of many victories. Ultimately, what we desperately need are politicians that will truly fight for the common citizen to get into office and in enough numbers as to fundamentally alter the direction of government from an institution that is co-opted by the rich to one that is for the people.

    The interesting question is how the Democrats will react to this. They may try to sabotage her in some other way. The other is the top 10%ers and other upper middle class voters. I would not be surprised if many Establishment Democrats vote for the GOP over a Berniecrat.

    Bottom line – this is a step forward, but we are not out of the woods yet. There is a lot of work to do and while we should celebrate, the Establishment will fight back. There also remains the question of how this person will actually govern. The fact that the Establishment was against her though is very encouraging.

    1. SimonGirty

      Precisely… we’d joked, that we’ll doubtless awaken, only to discover that 25K votes will have been lost, mis-counted or eaten by a monster, overnight? That Putin would be seen, absconding with them on a MTA security camera?

    2. Big River Bandido

      NY-14 registration skews Democrat by at least a 70/30 ratio. No way she’s going to lose the general election. Indeed, that was part of her argument: why has such an overwhelmingly Democrat district been sending a Blue Dog to Congress for 20 years when the voters of the district are much farther to the left?

      I know exactly how the Democrat establishment will react to this. At least in public, they will simply ignore and stonewall it, will simply co-opt Ocasio-Cortez as a great Democrat hero, while completely ignoring her policy positions and all of the real reasons those voters called loudly for change. In response to a teevee anchor actor’s comment a few weeks ago that Democrat voters want change, Nancy Pelosi simply chose to ignore the premise of the question and gaslight the voters: “I don’t think people want change…”. Now, whether or not she actually believes that is irrelevant; that will continue to be her position in public. Everything is fine, #BlueWaveComing, #TheResistance is not futile, etc. etc.

      In private? Not really much they can do at this point, is there? After adopting the sideways-hippie-punching strategy years ago and then doubling down on it since the 2016 disaster, establishment Democrats are pretty much stuck. Alea iacta est and all that…

    1. hemeantwell

      Yep. And her membership in DSA was only mentioned by the Times waaaaay at the end. I guess the idea is to disassemble her into a collection of policy positions that the Dem establishment can mimic, as opposed to identifying her antagonistic organizational base.

    2. cm

      Kind of shocking the NYT permitted comments on this article (where she gets overwhelming support). Shouldn’t they be linking her to RUSSIA?

  3. o4amuse

    Thanks so much to NC for putting up Ocasio-Cortez’s story yesterday. I read it, looked her up and immediately sent her $27USD. And we won, family blog it, we won!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      New York State is a one party state. If you don’t register as a Dem, you are effectively disenfranchised, since most races are decided in the primaries. The reason Bloomberg won as a Republican in NYC was that he’d been a Dem and switched parties.

      1. Angie Neer

        Is that true state-wide? I grew up in NY’s fly-over (actually drive-through) “southern tier”, far outside NYC, and though I was too young to vote or care, my parents said that since the R’s totally dominated local and legislative offices, they registered R just so they could have a voice (they are not and were not actually Republicans). Or has the polarity switched from R to D in the last 40 years?

        1. ACF

          NYC is a one party state and because 40% of NY voters live in NYC, it’s a one party state for state wide votes (President, Senate, Governor, AG). At the local level, including up to House races, Rs can dominate and do in various parts of the state, including where I live.

          Re my 40% NY voters are in NYC: Outside of NYC, total, there’s 7,414,230 registered voters; in NYC there’s 4,982,173; this is total registration, including “inactive” voters:

          1. Angie Neer

            Thanks for the info, A. I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember when Ed Koch ran for governor (or if you’re old enough to remember Ed Koch at all!). I wasn’t politically very aware at the time, but I recall he got a lot of negative attention among my neighbors with disparaging remarks about upstate. It’s a mark of NYC’s dominance in the state that my town would be considered “upstate” by most city folks, in spite of being only 12 miles from the southern border.

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              I grew up near Albany. Everything north of Yonkers is “upstate.” There are plenty of Republicans upstate but all the statewide offices always go blue. Which is not to say if the Rs could nominate someone competent, you couldn’t get a Repub governor, as in Mass.

    2. Nick

      The election laws in NY are indeed bonkers and designed to protect incumbents, but there’s at least a good amount of ideological diversity represented here in the primary with AOC a dem-soc and Crowley a wall street guy, and then presumably there is some Republican running too later on.

      I live in a Dem dominated area where any primary challenges seem fueled by bad blood or machine conflicts rather than policy. Would I ever love to vote (and work!) for someone like AOC.

    3. Big River Bandido

      In a district that is so heavily working class and so heavily immigrant, in the middle of the nation’s largest city, where would you expect to find many Republicans?

    4. johnnygl

      Welcome to the political landscape of the coastal citadels of the USA. MA and MD look very similar to NY’s dem party dominance and i gather CA is getting there fast.

  4. Tony of CA

    I concur with your comments. I tend to see it as a rebuttal of the Democratic Neoliberal leadership. I find it extremely exciting. I would say some of her positions could have wide crossover appeal: Medicare for All and ending for profit prisons. As more & more citizens become utterly exasperated with the current healthcare model, they are increasingly willng to look at Medicare for All type options.

        1. Joe From Boston

          And Michael Hudson. And Noam Chomsky. So many sane, uncorrupted people to choose from!

          1. Michael Hudson

            I’m from Queens. How do I reach out to her? Does anyone know contacts with her backers?

            1. UserFriendly

              You can dm her on twitter. Or I can on your behalf, or I might be able to get a message to someone on her team through Our Revolution. Get my email from Yves if you want me to.

            2. mejimenez

              Ocasio-Cortez worked as an organizer on the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign, so Stephanie Kelton may be able to find out how to contact her.

        2. Enrico Malatesta

          Mark Blyth has some interesting insights on Economics, but some very disappointing views on Foreign Policy. US Congress sets the US Policy on WAR, and there is no issue that affects our future more than the Wars we wage.

        3. Marie Parham

          I think she is already familiar with these people as she was a Bernie organizer. She handled herself well on the morning talk shows. Why would you assume she is not familiar with MMT?

      1. mejimenez

        On Morning Joe this morning, Ocasio-Cortez deftly slid around the “how are you going to pay for it” questions by referring to how the Federal government was able to do what was necessary during the New Deal. It gave me hope that she has a conscious strategy for introducing MMT ideas while avoiding the intense counter-attack that an explicit challenge to the conventional wisdom about deficits and the role of taxes would engender.

        People like Kelton, Blyth, Hudson, and Chomsky can educate the public in a fairly explicit way. A new congressperson may be able to implement some of their ideas, but needs to be careful not to be immediately marginalized. Changing an entrenched worldview (Kuhnian paradigm) is hard work, requiring a repertoire of approaches.

        1. sharonsj

          Also, Steve Schmidt slammed her for being as unrealistic as Trump and Bernie Sanders–promising us rubes pie with no money to pay for it. There are plenty of ways to pay for those issues, but the corporate media hates all of it.

        2. Pavel

          That reminds me of all the times the MSM asked “how are you going to pay for it” when the USA enters into endless, mindless, illegal wars or when the congresscritters approve a $70 billion increase in the “defence” budget.

          About zero, IIRC.

      2. Chris Jonsson

        Richard Wolff has a superior economic model that is easy to explain and understand, as opposed to MMT. Wolff is a Marxism Economist which challenges Capitalism, giving everyone a chance to participate in the decisions made about how money is invested and a share of the profits.

    1. DanB

      The other option is that they attempt to seduce her into the neoliberal orbit. You know, tell her she’s with big kids now and it’s time to “be realistic” -IOW: to cash in. I’m not predicting she’ll do this; I’m saying this is likely the strategy the Dens will use on her if she wins in Novebmer. She needs like-minded colleagues in Congress to build a subculture of progressive politics.

      1. Big River Bandido

        The danger now is that Ocasio-Cortez will have very little company in Washington. To some degree she’ll have to resist the temptation to “go along/get along”, while also showing a track record for her constituents at the next elections. Her goal will be short-term survival within a hostile party caucus — while keeping one eye on building a Democrat bench in the House that is more politically principled.

        She will have to stay aloof from the Blue Dog midleadership of the party, and as you say “build a subculture of progressive politics” in the middle of that swamp. Surely she’ll join the Progressive Caucus, but since fewer than half of those members are real leftists even that won’t provide strong support for her.

    2. Doug Hillman

      Rest assured, the deep-state’s NSA-Mossad is now furiously mining its vast surveillance trove for blackmail-extortion leverage. Her youth and gender make that quite challenging, compared to the Trump mother lode, but . . .

  5. ambrit

    Now, do the Establishment Dems:
    A) Sit idly by and let her campaign do it all itself?
    B) Try to steal some of the thunder by inserting itself into the general election on her side?
    C) Try to sabotage her campaign and quietly help the target demographic Republicans win?
    Seriously, though, does the Republican challenger have a chance in this district?
    If she wins, I’ll be interested as to what committees she is offered seats on.
    Still a good start.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      does the Republican challenger have a chance in this district?

      No. It’s the Bronx and north Queens. She is a shoo-in. We need a wave of young people like her to follow.

    2. DonCoyote

      Misrepresent her victory as a historic night for minority women…then marginalize her by pointing out that this does not advance the battle of winning back the house, all that money “wasted” in the primary etc

      1. bob mcmanus

        Misrepresent her victory as a historic night for minority women

        Josh Marshall was writing it up as the polls closed.

        “Whites make up only a relatively modest quarter of the population. It is overwhelming a minority district. 50% of district is Hispanic.”

          1. KLG

            And Josh wonders why I let my TPM Prime subscription expire…the hackitude, it burns.

            Anyway, great news this morning!!!

        1. Big River Bandido

          Actually, Marshall’s characterization of the racial makeup is generally correct. Queens County is the most ethnically diverse county in the nation, and NY-14 is ground zero for “food tourism” within the city. Jackson Heights, Woodside, Corona and Flushing, in particular, have high numbers of people of Colombian, Indian, Nepalese and Korean descent, along with people from many other places. I don’t know the Bronx parts of the district but I would assume it’s heavily Puerto Rican.

          It’s not at all surprising that Ocasio-Cortez did well in Astoria and Sunnyside. Those neighborhoods have very high concentrations of younger people.

  6. KimberStormer

    I’m from Connecticut and I remember Ned Lamont. It’s very important not to get comfortable now. Parties don’t actually care about primaries, that’s just a thing they say to forestall all criticism. Will they actually accept this and support her?

    1. relstprof

      Who cares what the DNC or DCCC thinks? It’s a formality at this point. A socialist is going to congress.

    2. PKMKII

      Crowley’s already said he will support Ocasio-Cortez. I suspect the establishment machines will pay lip service but provide little material support. Which isn’t really that much of a problem given how deep blue the district is, no Republican has a snowball’s chance in hell. Besides, now that Crowley’s out, I would imagine the WFP would support her.

      1. oh

        I wouldn’t be complacent. The one party with two right wings will find a way to get a Repig in that seat!

    3. grayslady

      The Dems won’t support her unless she agrees to play by their rules, including using campaign fundraising to employ Dem PR consultants, raising at least $300,000 for the general, and reporting regularly, on special forms, how much money she has raised each week as the campaign progresses. This was explained succinctly by Lee Carter, the 30-year old who won a state house seat in Virginia against the house Republican whip. Carter won without Dem financial support.

      1. Chris Jonsson

        Let’s hope Ocasio-Cortez resists Dem PR consultants, and Emily’s List. They have a way of fattening their own wallets and shoving the winning candidate to the side. Ocasio-Cortez has a winning strategy she should stick with.

    4. Enrico Malatesta

      I’m in a Connecticut town that is in both the 1st & 3rd District, represented by DeLauro from Sikorsky and Larson from UTC. I’m sure the DCCC will pit these “progressives” on Ocasio-Cortez, but I hope that she schools the CT voters on how to get some real representation in Congress.

  7. John Zelnicker

    Yves – Thanks for your quick post on this election.

    Earthquake, indeed.


  8. cripes

    All riiiiight! I knew this would work out.

    Now let’s see who doesn’t support women running for political office.

    Ocasio-Cortez and Zephyr Teachout and Tulsi Gabbard and Cynthia McKinney and Kshama Sawan for example, got nothing from the Clintonistas Dems.

    Even if a few repubs benefit from the wreckage, we’ll do better demolishing the democratic party and packing the apparatus with Socialists in name or deed.

    Let’s watch the dollar dems line up and (not) support Ocasio. And cross our fingers that she isn’t absorbed by the Borg.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina


      Even if a few repubs benefit from the wreckage, we’ll do better demolishing the democratic party and packing the apparatus with Socialists in name or deed.

      I will borrow that line in many convos to come I am sure: absolutely worth it, it’s the price of change. Past time to make my first $27 donation to her, if you haven’t already, do consider it!

      Very timely too: eff the SC. Not getting ahead of myself, I know it’s a long haul, but imagine having a legislative process working for the people again?!

      1. SpringTexan

        Crowley had a lot of power in Congress, and it’s a big win that he won’t any more be pushing the Democrats in the wrong direction. Don’t forget about that.

        He will NOT succeed Pelosi, and he would have been TERRIBLE.

        He has been gracious in the loss, which is classy.

        1. Code Name D

          HA! You wish. Crowley will just become a corpreate consultent. He may have less prestige, but he will get a big fat pay raise and will likly become even more influenchal over legisltion than even if he became speaker.

          I hate to throw cold water on such a badly needed victory. But this is mostly symbolic. One that can be built upon mind you, but symbolic none the less.

          As others have noted else where, the establishment will claim victory, and try to use her to reabilitate the DNC imiage. To put voters back to sleep while they contiue to run things from smoke filled rooms, where they will do everything in their power to undermine her.

          As Lambert says, kill it with fire!

      2. mle detroit

        Already made my $27 long-distance donation a month ago; time for another. Her platform is not a laundry list. It’s a litmus test.

    2. Sid Finster

      Don’t you know that “there’s a special place in hell”?

      And Team D is doubtless working hard to figure out how to use and co-opt the events in the Bronx and elsewhere last night, without giving up anything other than some token concessions.

  9. Kurt Sperry

    The Democrats, whose sole actual function appears to be to stymie, suppress and co-opt the Left, has suffered an unexpected setback. Losing to Republicans is normal and acceptable; losing to socialists within their own organization is potentially catastrophic. There has been a disturbance in the force. Expect panic to ensue if this becomes a trend. If the Democratic Party cannot contain this and prevent further contagion, it may become necessary to take drastic measures. What those measures might be I cannot guess, but it will be driven by sweaty palmed desperation. I’d be concerned about what that desperation could manifest as.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Here’s what I’m not getting. Russia! Russia! Russia! is obviously a critical issue, especially to the Democrat base. And a winning one. So why didn’t Ocasio-Cortez run on it?

      1. ambrit

        My take. Assume that “All Politics is Local.” Conservatives have done just that, with good (for them) results. The lady ran a grassroots game. She stuck, as far as I can see, to local and generally humanistic themes. ‘Russia Russia Russia’ is no where near being a local concern. If you want to play an effective ‘Demonize the Other’ campaign strategy, wrap it up in basic fears and yearnings. The (in)famous Johnson “Little Girl With Flowers” attack ad against Goldwater is how you do that. Indeed, Goldwater is nowhere mentioned in the ad at all. But, that was the glory days of politics. Todays’ crew of enablers and politicos are but a sad shadow of their forebears.
        This is how you do it. See:

      2. DanB

        The only logical explanation I can conceive of is that Ocasio-Cortez is a Putin plant. He was prescient enough to “interfere” in our electoral process on behalf of Trump, so too with Ocasio-Cortez, I bet! All we need is some good conjecture and innuendo to prove this. Maybe Rachel Maddow is working on it now. That Putin is something else.

      3. ChiGal in Carolina

        Ha ha! Be nice. Seriously though, this point is worth driving home and will probably NOT be made in the corporate media.


      4. Doug Hillman

        Zuckerborg is now researching ads placed on FaceBorg by Russian caterers who might have once met Putin, and the DNC is trying to discover who hacked the primary rigging.

    2. XXYY

      One obvious “drastic measure” would be to realize that it’s better to lose a few apples than upset the whole applecart and begin pushing some concrete material benefits (to use Lambert’s phrasing) for the population to appease the political anger.

      I’m amazed this has not happened before now. Since elites don’t pay much in taxes, and are paying less every year, social programs don’t impact them directly and would go a long way to keep their astoundingly profitable system humming along. Free college could be had for $70 billion: chump change. Single Payer would actually *save* $300 billion a year and make most large corporations more profitable. Big infrastructure bills would actually send money their way if done right. Modest pay raises by the private sector, and $15/hour minimum wage, would cost much less than what’s now being spent on stock buybacks.

      The only obstacle seems to be reflexive determination by certain elites (looking at you, Koch bros and your ilk) to grind in the faces of the poor even if it does no good or causes plenty of harm. This seems like a reflex that could crumple quickly once survival is at stake.

      The Left has done a good job of seeding the soil with a doable policy agenda the last few years. Time for these seeds to sprout.

  10. makedoanmend

    Congratulations Ms. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on a hard fought and won election. If you get to Congress, the second (and much bigger) fight begins. May you succeed.

    I’d dearly like to know the details of how her election organisation was able to win so substantially against a much better funded election machine. I imagine unpaid volunteers were the backbone, but how to keep people engaged and organised efficiently is no easy task. Who knows, maybe the USAians will be coming to Europe to give us a few pointers in the very near future. I believe Jeremy Corbyn (Labour UK) received some aide from that quarter.

    1. Lambert Strether

      He did. Sanders operatives came over and trained Momentum people in canvassing. I met some of the Momentum people at the London meetup last year. This mutual aid concept is a thing, maybe.

      1. ambrit

        “This mutual aid concept is a thing, maybe.”
        Basic Solidarity politics. The United Front on the International scene.
        Will we start hearing about Sanders and the ‘Demintern’ plotting to take over the world?
        Is Bernie pondering what we’re pondering?

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you for this sub-thread.

          The cross-border collaboration is great news. If only that could be extended to the rest of Europe and beyond.

          Having worked with and for the 1% and their 10% support and observed the international dimension to their network, the response from the left has to be local and international.

          Speaking to elderly relatives in Mauritius, this cross-border support was prevalent either side of WW2 when the British colonies were getting restive, especially when service men and women returned home from the mother country in the late 1940s and had met their peers from the other colonies. The Fabians and other Labour activists also helped.

    2. Big River Bandido

      In a district that is essentially “local”, which bears resemblance to a city ward, and which can be canvassed almost entirely on foot, money becomes much less important. And in fact, none of it did Crowley any good, and he didn’t raise all that campaign money in order to spend it on his own races, anyway. He intended to (and probably still will) spend it in Washington, handing out political favors as campaign contributions to others in Congress, and playing the game by the rules of the national party machine.

      All these years, the Queens political machine has been able to suppress election turnout enough so that their 10,000 supporters (and in many years, less) were still always enough to win this district. The challenge for an outsider, then, has always been to go around the machine, and mobilize more supporters with enough of a margin to guarantee victory.

      That’s what Ocasio-Cortez did. And in a district like this, having dedicated people behind you means far more than money.

  11. The Rev Kev

    Rumour has it that even though she is a Bronx girl, Ocasio-Cortez has Duchy of Grand Fenwick ancestry behind her. She is a perfect demonstration of Mao’s maxim: “You fight your way and I’ll fight my way” and is quoted as saying “You can’t really beat big money with more money. You have to beat them with a totally different game.”
    You wonder how many progressives are out there right now who are saying ‘Hey, if she can do it, why can’t I?’ Anyone know if it is too late for more people to sign up as candidates for the 2018 mid-terms? That last thought makes me wonder.
    You say progressives and you think Democrats but I see no reason why down the track you could not have progressive Republicans. Want to know what they would look like? They would have similar policies to those Republicans from before the 1980s but they would be multiracial and far more inclusive.

    1. john c. halasz

      She’s obviously not going to get very far in D.C., no matter how qualified a staff she might recruit to help her out at 28 years old. The question is how she can use her position in D.C. to build up the politics of base communities in Queens and the Bronx, that she was elected to represent.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I beg to differ. She is the most charismatic political figure I have ever seen by a large margin. She’s astonishingly good on TV with barely any experience. She will get media attention way way out of proportion to her formal standing in Congress. She has a built in huge bully pulpit by virtue of how she won, and I think she’s smart enough to know how to use it.

        Napoleon was the First Counsul of the Republic at age 30. He created and institutionalized the framework of the modern French bureaucracy before he was 40. You underestimate what a young person at a leverage point can do.

        1. Pavel

          And let’s remember whom she vanquished! Per the @matthewstoller twitter feed linked to above:

          Capitol One
          TD Bank
          H&R Block
          Salesforce dot com
          United Technology
          Covington and Burling
          American Bankers Association
          Altria (Phillip Morris)
          ERNST & YOUNG
          Florida Sugar Cane
          Constellation Brands
          The Options Clearinghouse
          Cisco Systems
          State Street Bank
          JP Morgan
          Real Estate Roundtable
          Kathryn Wylde (who is a terrible corporate goon in New York)
          the American Hospital Association
          BNSF Railway
          Mortgage Bankers Association
          Charles Schwab
          Lockheed Martin
          Major League Baseball
          Liberty Mutual
          BAE Systems
          American Crystal
          Holland and Knight
          Regeron Pharma
          Pricewaterhouse Coopers
          United Health Group
          National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
          Ally Financial
          Union Pacific
          News Corp

          Look at those names! Among them the most evil corporations on earth–the banksters (HSBC among them, noted money launderer and drug trafficking enabler) and endless war merchants (Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems…). Based on his donors Crowley represents the worst people on the planet. Remind me again how the Dems are better than the Repubs?

          And he was going to be Speaker of the House!

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            A thrilling instead of chilling list under the circumstances. Dare we hope? Thanks for posting!

            1. Pavel

              You’re welcome.

              I am absolutely as jaded and cynical as anyone (after following US and UK and French politics for decades) but seeing that list of donors shocked even me. It’s pretty much what I’d expect for someone like Dick Cheney. If the bankers and military industrial and Big Media (Viacom, News Corp!!!!) aren’t bad enough, there is Big Sugar (Florida Sugar Cane and Pepsico) and even tobacco merchants of death Philip Morris to warm your heart.

              These are all the scum of the earth — killing people and the planet — and this man is number four in the Dem hierarchy. Just think about that for a minute.

        2. Knifecatcher

          I agree with Yves on this one. AOC has an innate sense of the moment and an undeniable charisma that will give her a far bigger pulpit than the typical freshman in Congress. The MSM has ignored her so far but now that she’s broken through I expect they’ll jump on board the bandwagon. Think Tulsi Gabbard but to a far greater degree.

          Keep in mind that Bernie Sanders is just the junior senator from Vermont. When was the last time you heard from Patrick Leahy – or even thought him, for that matter?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            ” Leahy also appeared in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, playing Senator Purrington, in a scene set during a Senate hearing which is subsequently destroyed by an explosion.[108]”


            Where was Bernie Sanders when Gotham City needed him? I didn’t see Sanders when Bruce Wayne’s parents were murdered despite Sanders claim they were fictional characters!

            If Leahy wasn’t so useless, these cameos would be awesome.

        3. john c. halasz


          I agree that she has a fluent articulate media presentation, but the worst thing that could happen to her is that she becomes a media “star” with manufactured “charisma” and gets sucked into the blandishments of sound bite debates over “policy” that will never be allowed any chance. Politics ain’t bean bag and there will be plenty of conflicts in her path if she’s to hold true to her promise. Bringing home whatever bacon she can and working to develop and strengthen the local coalitions that elected her, including local offices and community campaigns should be her first priority. Remember Crowley is still the head of the Queens Dembot machine, (and there’s still an outside chance she might get Liebermaned) and one election does not make for meaningful victory. And if she does get to D.C. then she will need to give close consideration to her staffing, since it’s a public office not just a personality, and having some knowledgeable experienced old hands who know the ropes would be crucial to whatever effectiveness she could muster. (To drift off into fantasy, say, Cynthia McKinny as chief of staff…)

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            Napoleon understood that trying to operate as a republican head of state on a continent where the only acceptable symbol of office was a crown and scepter. So, he created one for himself. It didn’t help, because his commoner background was just as unacceptable as his politics.

            We have no idea if Napoleon would have acted as he did if he’d been permitted to simply govern France as a democratic republic, because goal of the elites of the time was the destruction of that republic.

            One could argue that Bernie Sanders did what you fear—allowed himself to become a “star.” Except we know he didn’t; he just used that tool as a way of accomplishing his goals.

            Furthermore, the argument that people who have never filled a public office aren’t as qualified as those who’ve worked their way up the political scale is specious. There are numerous examples of successful members of Congress who went from a totally different career into the House or Senate and did well. Indeed, the myth that being a member of Congress requires some esoteric skills one can only absorb by experience is what has kept the DNC/DCCC/DSCC triumvirate in place. Smart people can learn on the fly, and smart people usually know a lot of other smart people they can hire as staff.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Don’t straw man what I said. She HAS charisma. No media coach could ever train her to have what she already has.

            How do you think Elizabeth Warren or Bernie got where they are? Politicians are performers. Bernie has almost anti-charisma, he’s got the charm of a Jewish uncle lecturing you about putting your feet on the coffee table, but his message is so clear and compelling that his dour persona underscores how serious he is about it.

            And I am not entirely kidding re Napoleon. It’s annoying to see people dismiss young people. Napoleon was a nobody from the sticks. I don’t have the time to Google other historical figures who had an impact by 30 or younger.

        4. EoH

          Indeed. It’s a historical theme establishment Dems as well as the GOP and their pet media want to erase.

  12. kj1313

    Epic win tonight, really great work from all the organizers including DSA, Brand new Congress, et al. Icing on the cake was Emily Sirota & Ben Jealous winning also.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, KJ and Lambert. As the song, English and French versions, oh, what a night!

    1. Liberal Mole

      Wow! I contributed to those three. Jealous because of an email from Bernie, Emily because the DNC threw trash talk at her. I’m on a roll!

      1. Liberal Mole

        My bad, I gave after Planned Parenthood Colorado endorsed her opponent after Sirota slammed their anti-union activities.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Wow, great news to wake up to. I’m no expert on NY politics, but I know enough to know what a huge achievement it is to beat an incumbent machine pol like Crowley.

    Lets hope she has enough guile and strength to stand up to the shitstorm the establishment will throw at her.

  14. elissa3

    Fun fact from Wikipedia entry on Tulsi Gabbard:

    As the Democratic nominee, Gabbard traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina and spoke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.[42] There she credited grassroots support as the reason for her come-from-behind win in the primary.[43] Gabbard won the general election on November 6, 2012, defeating Republican Kawika Crowley 81% to 19%.[44]

    Them Crowleys seem to have a tough time with insurgent women candidates. . .

    1. The Rev Kev

      Fun fact from Wikipedia entry on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez:

      ‘As a high school student, she won second prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, with a microbiology research project. As a result, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory named a large asteroid after her, 23238 Ocasio-Cortez’

      That’s right. She actually has a minor planet named after her. And the icing on the cake? She is also a Trekkie.

  15. Nell

    Keep on pushing for representation in your government, my american friends. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Things can change. For example, here in the UK, no-one predicted that one member one vote in the Labour Party would shoo-in a left wing leader. And now Labour Party rules are up for change at Congress. One of the moves is to give party members (ie us ordinary people) some power over who gets selected to represent us. This would stop our ‘betters’ taking over the Party. All good. But we are not the government, yet. And the full weight of the Establishment is against us. We continue to push, challenge ideas, challenge policies, and extend solidarity to all of those resisting the iniquities of the 1%.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Nell.

      There are many Labour activists in this community.

      Fingers crossed for the conference. One has the impression that the internal battles are harder and more numerous than taking on the Tories.

  16. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you to Yves and the community for the coverage and insight into this upset, hopefully one of many, many.

    It was interesting to hear the BBC World Service (radio) this morning report AOC being an immigrant (er…) and anti-Trump activist (er… is that all?) and make no mention of her anti-Democrat establishment positions and lack of support from said establishment, including the identity politics promoters.

  17. timotheus

    Typical in most of the gee-whiz coverage:

    – little mention of policy positions
    – no discussion of Crowley’s Wall Street gravy train
    – no mention of the millions funneled to his campaign coffers that he never needed (until now) & his role as Daddy Warbucks for other members
    – blame laid at low turnout, as if machine Dems didn’t benefit from (and prefer) that all this time
    – emphasis on racial composition of the district
    – no reporting on what Crowley ever did for his district, among the poorest in the U.S.
    – vague if any references to her army of unpaid vols

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The bad/self serving reporting might just lead the Dems to convince themselves that her win was a fluke, which is all to the benefit of the insurgents, since the corporate Dems will keep using their predictable money-driven playbook. Now if Ocasio-Cortez throws some effort into campaigning for Cynthia Nixon and Zephyr Teachout, she gets more media exposure in state (nevah hurts) and if either one wins, she’ll get some credit, making her seem more formidable before she’s sworn into office.

      1. Adam Hill

        Cuomo is loathed by many/most Upstate Democrats. If Ocasio-Cortez can help peel off downstate votes for Nixon, Cuomo might be vulnerable especially with Teachout running for attorney general. I’d expect a lot of campaign messaging about corruption in Albany and that will mean anti-Cuomo messaging without even mentioning his name directly.

        1. Liberal Mole

          Correct. Last Gov election, the counties closest to Albany voted for Teachout. I doubt they’ve changed their minds about his Corruptness. In fact in the Dem 2016 primary all the upstate districts went to Sanders, and only the NYC areas, with fraud and disenfranchisement, made Clinton the sure winner.

        2. M-S

          It would be delicious if the NY vote-suppression strategy of separating out primaries for federal elections and primaries for state elections came back to bite the machine.

    2. ambrit

      About that money. Doesn’t Crowley get to keep all unspent funds from his campaign? The dreaded “Campaign Cashout.” (On a related note. Will Crowley have functional knees this time next week?)

        1. ambrit

          “…should we start a pool?”
          Nah. Who knows what sort of abomination would slither up on out of it.
          I’d imagine we’d have to call it: “Politico de la Laguna Negra.”

  18. ChiGal in Carolina

    Fabulous news to wake up to!! Hope the right people take heart and the wrong people don’t double down on derailing her. Will Gillibrand et al now embrace her? We shall see.

    Meanwhile a moment to savor: Ocasio is a pistol, smart as a whip and full of energy.

    The Force is strong in that one!

  19. chuck roast

    Barry Bosworth…hmmmmmm.
    Well, there’s a blast from the past. He was an olde URPE guy who made the long, sordid journey from the light into the darkness. I checked his bio. Michigan and Harvard – late sixties early seventies. We were all finding Marx, Kalecki, Polanyi and the rest in the dark and dusty stacks and allowing our brains to explode.
    I keep kicking myself in the butt for not keeping my URPE newsletters from those days. I know he was an occasional contributor. Not a peep in his bio.
    He must have forgotten…

  20. voteforno6

    This made me chuckle:

    A senior Democratic aide downplayed the threat to Pelosi, suggesting instead that the rest of leadership should start raising more money, which was always one of Crowley’s strengths. “Real question is which younger Members of leadership will step up in their leadership roles,” said the aide. “One real way to do that now is to raise money now. We literally are in a position of where we cannot afford the opportunity that exists on the map.” Not that $3.5 million, for his own campaign, did much for Joe Crowley.

    Joe Crowley’s Loss Is an Earthquake in Democratic Politics

    It’s nice to see that the Bourbon wing of the Democratic Party is still alive and kicking.

  21. Spring Texan

    Check out this Intercept article from earlier:

    Particularly interesting is how her family was affected by corrupt probate courts that in essence funneled money from the intestate.
    “Her family became locked in a years-long probate battle with the Westchester County Surrogate’s Court, which processes the estates of people who died without a will, as Ocasio-Cortez’s father had. She witnessed firsthand how attorneys appointed by the court to administer an estate can enrich themselves at the expense of the families struggling to make sense of the bureaucracy. …Ocasio-Cortez had only a faint impression that something was off in the Westchester Surrogate Court where her family did battle for four years. The more she learned about the Queens one, the more convinced she was that her hunch about the lawyers who profited off of probate proceedings had been correct. ”

    This is someone with a real education in how things work and knows what things are for regular people – because she is one.

    Agree with Yves that some of these comments are way overly cynical about her.

    1. Spring Texan

      from the same article, she knows what it is to fear foreclosure:

      she was fighting to stave off the banks, which were eyeing the family home.

      “We just couldn’t afford to keep our home, and we had bankers going up to the curb of our home and taking photos of our house,” she recalled.

      This makes for someone who has real passion and conviction and understanding.

  22. Lee

    Alexandria had factual and moral clarity. She offered bold and inspirational directions. And…she had a great campaign…knocked on doors for a year and a half. There was nothing NOTHING mushy or evasive about her. Marvelous people make marvelous candidates.

  23. PressGaneyMustDie

    She will evenetually be co-opted by the New Yawk political machine, but it is wonderful to see such a vile sellout as Crowley get kicked to the curb.

      1. JohnnyGL

        What are they going to do?
        Foreclose on her house? They did that.
        Cut off her funding? They never gave her any and her opponent raised $3.5M

        Establishment basically can’t touch her at this point. Maybe freeze her out of committee assignments, but can’t get her out of office.

        NY machine has been taught a stern lesson that it’s the votes that matter, not the money. Will they heed it? Prob not, they’ve built careers on raising money.

  24. Edward

    Great news. Is Occupy still alive and did they help? I am curious to know the age breakdown of the voters. Was this revenge of the Millenials?

  25. Steve

    It is interesting taking quick look at many supposedly “progressive sites” and seeing how many are barely touching this story. All the ones I quickly checked playing down the great win by Ocasio-Cortez were all very pro-HRC. What a surprise.

  26. upstater

    Don’t overlook NY-24 in central NYS, around Syracuse.

    Primary had a turnout of 30,000. The handpicked DCCC candidate Juanita Perez Williams was trounced 62-38 margin. She lost the mayoral race in November against a scion of a Republican family.

    The winner Dana Balter supports Medicare for All and had local party endorsements.

    Local voters rejected DCCC…

  27. linrom1

    Is a person running as ‘identity politician’ based on giving away freebies to people of same color a progressive or an ethnic Socialist?

    As a young person I supported people like John Anderson and Jerry Brown because I saw them as progressives for all, I don’t see this person Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez anything more than a person who is running on platform that promises to give away stuff to specific racial constituency at the expense of tax paying constituency? And I am not the only one. News comment sections are full of same sentiment as mine.

    1. ambrit

      Well, use the same political strategy that conservative politicians have successfully been using for some decades now: “All Politics Is Local.” The lady comes from a district that is majority “non-white.” The tendencies you decry are basic political tactics. Contrast that with the base politicians she is working against. They give away lots of treasure, properly the publics’, to big money entities. Said entities return the favour with a largesse of campaign contributions, plus under the desk perks. (Such as free trips on private jets equipped with hot and cold running underage boys and girls for the politicians carnal pleasures.)
      As for the contents of news site comment sections, well, let’s just say; don’t take advice from those sorts of people. You’ll probably wake up in the morning with a terrible hangover and an empty wallet.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If we accept that AOC’s ethnic identity was the deciding factor, isn’t that an indictment of the Democratic Party’s leadership and strategerists who didn’t demand Crowley step aside instead of pissing away millions? Who is giving freebies away in this case? It sounds like Democratic strategerists are once again pilfering the donors.

    2. Nick

      Don’t worry, although AOC is latina most socialists are still white and male. I’m sure when one runs with the exact platform as hers you’ll be able to get behind them as a true progressive for all.

    3. Zzzz Andrew


      I’m sure it’s deliberate, but you’re uninformed. Here is her platform, copied from the campaign (link):

      Medicare for All
      – medicine, vision, dental & mental health care
      Universal Jobs Guarantee
      – serve our communities with living wages
      Fully Funded Public Schools & Universities
      – plus taxing Wall Street to support tuition-free public universities and trade schools
      Paid Family & Sick Leave
      – giving everyone the right to choose care
      Housing as a Human Right
      – safe, secure, habitable, & affordable homes
      Justice System Reform
      – end the War on Drugs, demilitarize our police and abolish for-profit incarceration
      Immigration Justice
      – protect DREAMers & TPS recipients, simplify the paths to citizenship and abolish ICE
      Infrastructural Overhaul
      – invest in 100% renewable green industry
      Clean Campaign Finance
      – ending the corrupting influence of corporate finance in public elections
      An Economy of Peace
      – that supports our veterans and actively values all humanity

      This is a no-apologies demand for racial justice and economic justice, both. That’s what “for all” looks like.

  28. Carolinian

    The Intercept and Greenwald decline taking a victory lap and offer this today

    Crowley, long spoken of as an heir apparent to California’s House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — should she be ousted or step aside — had been planning for years to run as a progressive alternative to Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Pelosi’s longtime No. 2 and a more conservative Democrat.
    Ocasio-Cortez was screwing that plan up by showing just how little support Crowley had with national progressive groups. She had drawn endorsements from a host of them in the run-up to the vote, including MoveOn and Democracy for America, which joined Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, and Democratic Socialists of America.
    So Crowley didn’t need Ocasio-Cortez for his general election in the district: He needed her in his presumed upcoming bid for speaker of the House, hoping that he could point to her endorsement and say, Yes, we faced off in a primary, we debated, but we came away allies

    Crowley was already counting his chickens….perhaps the reason the low turnout was able to defeat him.

  29. precariat

    Good news.

    The Democrats can’t be told that they will lose their grip by selling out their constitiuents, info-op-ing them with Russia and cynically employing identity politics while their potential voters are in a seemingly permanent state of economic struggle, and some suffering and dying. They have to be shown.

    The downside is Ocasio-Cortez won in a Dem silo, where the focus was on the misleadership of the Dems. Can this happen in a more purple district? The Dems are *banking* on no.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I’d say results that we’ve seen so far indicated that the purple-ish areas are much more open to outsider candidates which can gather grass-roots momentum.

      It’s been the more wealthy Dem Party strongholds along the coasts that have thus far appeared so impenetrable. Which is why this is such a shocker.

  30. djrichard

    Just a heads up. Seeing a majority of comments in Yahoo news on Ocasio-Cortez’s victory that the path of socialism is doomed: witness Venezuela. If Bernie runs again and wins the primary, expect more of the same. We’re going to need a simple and effective way to communicate what went wrong in Venezuela. And for that matter, we’re going to need a simple and effective way to communicate that deficit’s don’t matter. And show how the two aren’t in conflict.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      That whole “socialism is doomed” lament is no longer effective. More and more non-Boomers have no problem with socialism at all, and plan to vote accordingly. What we need to communicate is what socialism really is to those who grew up during the constant barrage of anti-communist rhetoric during the Cold War. For them, socialism is all about dictatorial government and slavery, because that’s how it was portrayed.

      I’m finding that action goes a long way to encouraging people to step back and take a harder look at the messages they’re being handed.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Taking a harder look at the messages they’re being handed? Well, people, there’s this blog called Naked Capitalism. It will weaponize your critical thinking skills!

    2. IguanaBowtie

      Seconded. Republicans and neoliberal democrats are going to sing the Venezuela song in perfect harmony come 2020, the left needs a succinct and powerful response.

  31. saylor

    When the internet first started it was lionized for the eventual dissemination of knowledge and events. The great leveler.

    It has since become ‘demonized’ by bots, spam, trolls and shills.

    With this refreshing woman, it is time to truly support someone who is good to the core by using the ‘new tools’ of communication to by-pass the ‘bought and paid for’ media that has become so fossilized.

    As she rises up through the depts. to the consciousness of the general public, the very traits she shows will try to be used to tarnish her. This is where good people must fight back.

  32. Carey

    Pelosi on AOC’s Primary win: “…It is not to be viewed as something that stands for anything else.”

    I say she’s wrong…

  33. EoH

    The Democrats should be running to the left – not let themselves be “pulled to the left” – if they want to retake both houses of Congress.

    Leaning left, dancing with the left, just leaves more room for Trump to pick off the wounded and hurt with clever merchandising, while giving them nothing once he and his party are returned to office.

  34. EoH

    Justice Kennedy’s Trumpian timing in announcing his retirement is as distinctive a retirement gift as any justice has given the American people since the Supreme Court gave us Lochner and a later Court voided much of FDR’s early social and labor legislation.

  35. precariat

    @ JohnnyGL
    (‘reply’ is broken)
    My point being that Dems are unlikely to internalize the lessons of Ocasio-Cortez’s win.
    The Dems rationalize to their members/voters that the bribes they take/extract are necessary to win in more ‘competitive’ districts, fight fire with fire sort of thing. This *precludes* (by design) any real economic progressive stances. A corrupt pas de deux between the Dems and Repubs.

    1. JohnnyGL

      “The debate underscored the lack of any genuine, substantive differences between the two candidates. Crowley is an uninspired and uninspiring political hack who may prevail in the primary by sheer financial and organizational muscle. Ocasio-Cortez offers youth, ethnicity, and the label “democratic socialist,” but like Bernie Sanders she does not actually offer a single policy that could legitimately be called socialist. She is merely a new coat of paint on a dilapidated signboard.”

      — I’m not sure there’s a better response to this than: “Haters gonna hate”

      Ocasio-Cortez, by virtue of getting elected, has already accomplished more than the “Socialist Equality Party” which hasn’t accomplished much that I’m aware of.

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