On Tuesday, in a shocking upset that reveals the hard-left turn the Democratic Party is taking, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), who had been seen as the heir-apparent to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, lost in the Democratic primary to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, a first-time candidate and open socialist.
Crowley has been in Congress since 1999 and hadn’t run against an opponent since 2004.
Ocasio-Cortez’s positions reflect her hard-left socialist leanings; she favors Medicare for All as well as abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As Buzzfeed reports, “She’s backed by the Democratic Socialists of America and by Our Revolution, the group backed by Bernie Sanders. She spent the last weekend of the campaign in Texas, protesting President Donald Trump’s border policy.” Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Ocasio-Cortez had told BuzzFeed, “When it comes to power, we can’t just be tempted by power and money alone. What we need to do is be bold enough and courageous enough to choose leadership that takes no corporate money and advances health care, education, and housing for all.”
The general perception had been that Ocasio-Cortes had no chance, as exemplified by these statements:
New York Democratic strategist and former aide to Kirsten Gillibrand Jon Reinish: “He’s the heavy favorite in the race and she’s gotten some attention from some media outlets, but it’s not sticking well enough. People in that district have been represented by Crowley for a long time. They know who he is and I think that her assertion that he’s not progressive enough falls on deaf ears.”
Hank Sheinkopf, a New York Democratic operative: “In this era of Democratic politics, it’s wise for an incumbent to take any primary challenge seriously. No one believes Joe Crowley’s gonna lose but with the changing demographics in that district this could be an attempt to soften him up to take on more progressive positions.”