11 Things To Know About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Who Toppled A 10-Term Congressman
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Latina running in her first political campaign, defeated political veteran Joe Crowley on Tuesday in the Democratic Party’s congressional primary in New York City.
Running on a socialist platform, Ocasio-Cortez is an activist and former Bernie Sanders volunteer. She won with 57.5 percent of the vote and will now face Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in the November mid-terms in a heavily Democrat area.
Ocasio-Cortez won over voters in New York’s minority-majority 14th congressional district “with a ruthlessly efficient grassroots bid, even as Crowley — the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House — outraised her by a 10-to-1 margin,” CNN reported.
The win sent shock waves through the Democratic Party.
Here are 11 things to know about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who toppled a 10-term white male congressman.
1. The NRA is scared of socialists
NRA leaders are terrified of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Daily News reported. On NRATV, the gun lobbying group issued “a panic-stricken call to arms”:
“Left-wing socialists have infiltrated our nation and want to fundamentally change the country we love,” NRATV host Grant Stinchfield said in a video clip posted Wednesday on Twitter. “The socialist movement in America is real. It is dangerous. And it is more powerful than you may think.”
"The socialist movement in America is real, it's dangerous… The election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who openly despises the very system that makes America the greatest country in the world proves we must take every election seriously." —@stinchfield1776 #WednesdayWisdom pic.twitter.com/C25QwWsgRv
— NRATV (@NRATV) June 27, 2018
Stinchfield described Ocasio-Cortez as a threat to America without any evidence to support his claim, other than because he said so.
Ocasio-Cortez “openly despises the very system that makes America the greatest country in the world,” the NRATV host said, which sounds a lot like non-MAGA dogma. Because if America is already great, how can it simultaneously be in a state of being made great again?
Sounds really dangerous, who knows where this could … possibly even with free healthcare!
— Rory Wainer (@RoryWainer) June 27, 2018
Like these countries… pic.twitter.com/FwnOSCE7cb
— Hannah R. (@hannahlaylah) June 27, 2018
2.The Movement For Black Lives @BLMGreaterNY was one of the first activist groups that supported her, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.
2. The earliest activist groups that were brave enough to sit with me over a year ago, even if it risked their own opportunity:
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) June 28, 2018
3. She’s a critic of Israel
A young progressive Democrat, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that the Palestinian protesters who died on the Gaza border in May were victims of a “massacre,” according to the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz.
This is a massacre.
I hope my peers have the moral courage to call it such.
No state or entity is absolved of mass shootings of protesters. There is no justification. Palestinian people deserve basic human dignity, as anyone else.
Democrats can’t be silent about this anymore. https://t.co/wJGATOtDsR
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) May 14, 2018
She later said he was compelled to tweet “massacre” because the Gaza protesters were comparable to civil rights activists in the U.S., according to Haaretz.
“I think I was primarily compelled on moral grounds because I could only imagine if 60 people were shot and killed in Ferguson. Or if 60 people were shot and killed in the West Virginia teachers’ strikes.”
4. She has Puerto Rican roots
The daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and a Bronx-born father, Ocasio-Cortez earned a degree in economics and international relations from Boston University. She worked as a waitress and bartender after graduating in 2011 to supplement her mother’s income as a house cleaner and bus driver, according to The Intercept. Her father, a small-business owner, had died three years earlier of cancer. After his death, her family fought foreclosure. Her mother and grandmother eventually moved to Florida, according to the New York Times.
5. She was the first Democrat in 14 years to try and unseat her opponent
This was the first time in 14 years that a fellow Democrat attempted to unseat Rep. Joe Crowley, a 10-term, 19-year incumbent in New York’s 14th congressional district. He was chairman of the Queens County Democrats and his defeat marks a potential sea change in the broader sphere of liberal politics with implications for Democrats nationwide, CNN reported.
6. She’s half the age of the man she beat
Ocasio-Cortez is 28. Crowley is 56.
7. She’s on track to be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress
If Ocasio-Cortez defeats Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in the predominantly Democratic district in November, she will be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Elise Stefanik, a Republican representative from Central New York, was 30 when she took office in 2015, according to the New York Times.
8. Crowley was a top Democrat
He was the fourth-ranking House Democrat and was possibly in line to succeed California Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the Democrats’ house speaker next term. His defeat has opened the door to a new generation of leadership and represents a “push to the left.” It has thrown Democratic Party leadership into turmoil, a New York Times headline announced.
9. Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘ultra-liberal pitch’ won with first-time voters
Ocasio-Cortez promised paid family leave, Medicare for All, justice reform to “demilitarize our police,” abolishing ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement office), and a universal government jobs guarantee, USAToday reported.
“I was the only candidate in the race that did not take corporate money in a time when economic marginalization is really increasing in New York City,” Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” “So I think that created a lot of trust in our community and our message really inspired a lot of folks that don’t usually turn out in an off-year midterm primary.”
10. Trump took credit for Crowley’s loss
In a tweet, President Donald Trump gloated about Crowley’s loss and said Crowley should’ve been nicer to his president.”
Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place, just LOST his primary election. In other words, he’s out! That is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!”
Oh yea, you’re gonna love this 28 year-old Latina – and I hear she has big plans for you ; )
— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) June 27, 2018
Yeah, god forbid we stop giving multi-trillion dollar tax handouts to massive corporations and use the money to help Americans get better jobs and have healthcare. That’s just crazy socialist mumbo-jumbo!!!
— Mike Rundle (@flyosity) June 27, 2018
Does flint have clean drinking water yet? How’s Puerto Rico? Are our kids safe in school come September? Focus.
— Mrs.B (@Mrs_Baldwin1) June 27, 2018
I’ve been anti-trump tweeting pretty since November of 2016, never really used my twitter acct before then. I LOVE the trend of less and less and less Trump supporters/defenders in the comments section of Trump posts. I don’t know what it means, hopefully something.
— Carlos Gonzalez (@realcarlosglz) June 27, 2018
11. She’s being described as a kind of ground zero for the Democratic Party getting its act together
Many of Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign workers were new to the process, inspired by Trump to get involved through grass-roots organizing efforts such as the Indivisible Project, USAToday reported.
“They were new to the political system, and that mindset is really important to this moment. They knocked on doors, they made phone calls. They reached out to people who are often dismissed as infrequent voters,” said Ezra Levin, co-executive director of the Indivisible Project.
“The future of the Democratic Party isn’t old white men, it’s people of color, it’s youth,” Levin said.