The Biggest Lesson From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Win? Run On Democratic Socialism.

The energy in the party lies squarely with its left wing. 

By Miles Kampf-Lassin
In These Times (6/28/18)

On Tuesday morning, just hours after unseating one of the most powerful Democrats in U.S. Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe in which she offered a succinct, yet compelling, rundown of her insurgent campaign’s “laser-focused” message:

“Economic, social and racial dignity for working-class Americans, especially those in Queens and the Bronx. We were very clear about our message, we were very clear about our priorities and very clear about the fact that, even if you’ve never voted before, we are talking to you.”

Clocking in just around 16 seconds, Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old democratic socialist, was able to articulate a clearer and more captivating message than the entirety of the Democratic Party establishment could come up with over the course of the 2016 election. Host Mika Brzezinski acknowledged how refreshing it was to hear a Democrat speak in such straightforward terms, yet warned other candidates not to “steal her message” and to come up with their own.

She was initially recruited by Brand New Congress to jump in the race after returning from an encampment at Standing Rock in late 2016, where she was demonstrating to protect Native rights and stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.  

However, if Democrats want to win in 2018 and beyond, then cribbing from what Ocasio-Cortez ran on in New York’s 14th District is exactly what they should be doing.

Her campaign essentially rewrote the rules of Democratic Party politics, tossing out the window the previously accepted orthodoxy that big money is the path to victory, and that outspoken socialists are too far left to win election to the U.S. Congress. And as a millennial, working-class Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez proved that, in 2018, challengers from the most unlikely backgrounds are capable of toppling entrenched, machine-backed Democrats.

Her opponent, Rep. Joe Crowley, was an embodiment of a career politician, having been handed his seat in 1998 by a predecessor and for years serving as a party boss detached from the communities he was elected to represent.

He outraised Ocasio-Cortez 10-to-1, spending more than $3 million on the race, much of which came from big banks and tech giants. He had the support of dozens of elected officials including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He was seen as a contender to become the next Speaker of the House. And yet he was drubbed, losing 57-42 to an avowed democratic socialist who had never before run for office.

No more weak tea democratic positions

So what can other candidates learn from Ocasio-Cortez’s shocking victory?

First off, rather than offering tepid, weak tea solutions to the torrent of crises facing working-class families, as has been many Democrats’ preferred strategy, Ocasio-Cortez veered left, putting forward transformational proposals built out of movement demands: Medicare for all, a federal jobs guarantee, a Green New Deal, a Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico, the human right to housing, an end to for-profit incarceration, free public college, demilitarizing the police and abolishing ICE.

As a candidate propelled by social movements—and backed by such groups as the Justice Democrats, Our Revolution and the Democratic Socialists of America—she was able to attract an army of volunteers who helped make her improbable win a reality through their tireless efforts.

And movements didn’t just jump on board her campaign …

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Interview

[Editor’s Note: This interview was taken before last week’s victory. Those thinking of running against corporate-owned democrats like Rep. Ron Kind should watch this. Will Ron Kind swear off the Wall Street corporate funding he suckles off? He’s vulnerable in 2020, folks! — Mark L. Taylor]

NowThis News (6/27/18)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has won the Democratic primary against veteran incumbent Joe Crowley for her district in Queens, New York. Here’s what she has to say about her campaign and the future of politics. » Subscribe to NowThis: A former Bernie Sanders organizer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of Queens, New York City won the democrats spot in the 2018 primary elections over incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley. A 28-year-old Latina woman, Ocasio-Cortez may also be one of the youngest elected to House, at age 28. Check out our extended interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Link to 13-Minute Video


Democratic Socialists of America Report Membership Boost Since Ocasio-Cortez Victory

The Young Turks: According to Lawrence Dreyfuss, a program associate for DSA, the organization saw a surge of 1,152 new memberships on Wednesday—about 35 times more sign-ups than on an average day.” Link to 9-Minute Video

Link To Democratic Socialists Of America, HERE.