Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's upset of Democratic House leader points to party divisions

Rep. Joseph Crowley and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi following a meeting of the House Democratic caucus at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 31 2018 in Washington DC

Rep. Joseph Crowley and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi following a meeting of the House Democratic caucus at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 31 2018 in Washington DC

The young candidate, who won her Democratic primary race against establishment New York Rep. Joseph Crowley Tuesday night, strongly stands for abolishing the border-enforcement agency.

Ocasio-Cortez gained some internet attention for a campaign video called "The Courage to Change", a two-minute spot for which she wrote the script and featured footage from her own home.

He had raised over US$3 million for his campaign, 10 times the amount raised by Ocasio-Cortez, who rejected corporate sponsors and relied on small donors. Jealous, who like Ocasio worked on Sanders' campaign, defeated a crowded field of Democratic challengers, including attorney Rushern Baker, by capturing 40 percent of the vote. "She makes me think and could always see multiple sides of any issue".

Four months before her BU graduation, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke at the University's Martin Luther King Day commemoration about her generation, addressing the topic, "How can we be great?"

"These results are also a shot across the bow of the Democratic establishment in Washington: a young, diverse, and boldly progressive Resistance Movement isn't waiting to be anointed by the powers that be", said Matt Blizek, of MoveOn.

Born in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez said she chose to challenge Crowley to push a more progressive stance on economic and other issues.

"The biggest hurdle that our communities have is cynicism — saying its a done deal, who cares, theres no point to voting", Ocasio-Cortez told volunteers before one of their canvasses. -Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez " I think we need to look at the damaging legislative history of what we've done with our taxes", said Ocasio-Cortez.

None of that had stopped Crowley in the past, but Ocasio-Cortez was convinced that it could — if she met the voters who were angry about it. An early profile in the Intercept, she said, was "a game-changer", leading to more interviews and profiles that led with the audacity of her challenge, then got to her policies.

Since the defeat of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, progressives in the Democratic party - and outside it - have warned that this kind of complacency would hurt the party in the long run.

Greenwald glowingly said he rarely saw politicians speak out so strongly against the "Israeli government's aggression and militarism", and he asked the New York Democrat if she spoke out on the issue as a moral imperative and saw parallels with USA domestic problems. "Our median income is around $47,000 a year, we're about 70% people of colour".

Pelosi added that Democratic members will have a chance to choose Crowley's replacement in party leadership.

She has now taken down a man widely considered a candidate for the next Speaker should Democrats retake the House.

Some say the changing demographics of NY voters - and Democratic voters across the country - will be key in the 2018 midterms.

A millennial candidate has shaken up the US Democratic Party by defeating the incumbent congressman for his seat. Her student years, he says, revealed a "rare combination of heart, smarts, and the ability to use her voice to bring people together", along with an uncommon trait: "She listens-I mean, actually listens-when you speak".

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