A young socialist’s electoral success brings light to one of the darkest periods in US history

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Carole Concha Bell

Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has shaken up the US political status quo after unseating veteran Democrat Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District. She will now face Republican candidate Anthony Pappas in November’s election.

“People vs Money”

Political heavyweight Crowley had remained in his position for ten terms. But despite his seniority and access to large campaign funds, Ocasio-Cortez snatched the election with 57.5% of the final vote. It was the first time since 2004 that Crowley had been challenged.

Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Socialist Democrats of America, attributed her win to grassroots campaigning, ignoring Trump on Twitter and clever use of publicity ads. And her people-fuelled movement received a lot of the credit for her impressive victory:

“Women like me”

Ocasio-Cortez is not your usual political candidate. She is just 28, born and raised in the Bronx, New York. And she is of Puerto Rican descent. She also describes herself as a socialist, and has called for a “political revolution“.

After graduating from Boston University with an economics and international relations degree, she worked on the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, and also assisted Democratic senator Ted Kennedy.

With few resources and limited access to funds, Ocasio-Cortez ran a grassroots campaign, reaching out to communities in Queens and the Bronx. And her simple campaign video went viral thanks to its key messages:

The video kicked off with the phrase “women like me aren’t supposed to run for office”. It made reference to the under-representation of citizens of Hispanic heritage currently in US politics, in particular those who come from working-class backgrounds.

Upon learning of her victory, she said:

We meet a machine with a movement, and that is what we have done today… working-class Americans want a clear champion and there is nothing radical about moral clarity in 2018.

Anger can be power

Ocasio-Cortez’s astronomical rise through the ranks lies in her candid campaigning and policies. Mirroring Sanders’ approach of ‘people over profit’, she said:

What I want the party and people all over the country to know is that my campaign represents authentic, accountable racial and social justice

And she stressed on Twitter that the focus of her campaign was “fierce advocacy for working class Americans”. She also proposes to abolish the controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, reform the criminal justice system, and provide free university tuition and affordable universal healthcare.

Ocasio-Cortez has sent shockwaves throughout the US political spectrum. She’s breathing life into a stale system by reaching out to those alienated from mainstream politics. And she’s doing this at a time in US politics when it’s sorely needed.

Get Involved!

– Check out other progressive candidates in the US backed by Our Revolution and Justice Democrats.

– If you want to see more people choosing the best candidate over the best-funded candidate, then support anti-corruption groups like Move to AmendRepresent.US, and Wolf-PAC.

Featured image via YouTube

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed