A Progressive Insurgent Just Pulled Off the Biggest Democratic Primary Upset in Years

Meet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, democratic primary winner who defeated powerful US Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) in the New York democratic primary on 26th. June, 2018 was a crowd favorite at the #FamiliesBelongTogether rally and march. The End Family Separation NYC Rally and March is one of several similar #FamiliesBelongTogether protest events taking place across the U.S. this weekend, 30th. June, 2018. This Queens, New York march and rally, took place in the most ethnically diverse neighborhood of the city in Jackson Heights and drew hundreds of passionate activist and protesters. (Credit Image: © G. Ronald Lopez/ZUMA Wire)G. Ronald Lopez/Zuma

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The Democratic Party just had its Eric Cantor moment. In Tuesday’s New York Democratic primary, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former Bernie Sanders organizer, knocked off incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley—the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. Crowley was considered by many to be second in line to be speaker of the House if Democrats capture the chamber in the November elections.

Crowley, who is chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, had never faced a serious primary challenge in any of his 10 previous elections. But Ocasio-Cortez picked up steam in the 14th Congressional District by channeling progressive dissatisfaction with New York’s Democratic establishment. She tied Crowley (not unfairly) to Wall Street and real estate interests and argued that it was time for the overwhelmingly nonwhite district to be represented by someone like her, a Puerto Rican from the Bronx. That was a theme of her viral campaign ad:

Although Crowley was a reliable progressive vote in Congress, Ocasio-Cortez offered a platform that was substantially to the left. A member of the Democratic Socialists of America, she was one of the first congressional candidates to call for the abolition of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, better known as ICE. With her victory, Ocasio-Cortez is all but assured of becoming the youngest woman ever elected to the House, and she becomes the first Democratic primary challenger to knock off an incumbent member of Congress this year.

Watch the moment Ocasio-Cortez found out she’d won, courtesy of NY1:

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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