Progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, The Biggest Upset Victory In The 2018 Mid-Term Election Season
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On June 26, 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (born October 13, 1989) an American activist, community organizer, and social-democratic politician, won the Democratic primary in New York’s 14th congressional district, defeating the incumbent, Democratic Caucus Chair Joseph Crowley, in what has been described as the biggest upset victory in the 2018 midterm election season. Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, and has been endorsed by a variety of politically progressive organizations and individuals.
Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx, New York City. Her mother Blanca Ocasio-Cortez is from Puerto Rico and her father Sergio Ocasio was born in the Bronx. Until the age of five, she lived with her family in an apartment in the planned community of Parkchester, the Bronx. She attended Yorktown High School from 2003 to 2007, and, while there, won second prize in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, with a research project on microbiology. As a result, the Lincoln Laboratory at MIT named a small asteroid after her: 23238 Ocasio-Cortez.
While a student at Boston University, Ocasio-Cortez was an intern in the immigration office of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy. Her father died in 2008. Following his death, her family became “locked in a years-long probate battle with the Westchester County Surrogate’s Court, which processes the estates of people who died without a will.”
Ocasio-Cortez graduated from Boston University in 2011, where she majored in economics and international relations. After college, she moved back to the Bronx and supported her mother by bartending at Flats Fix taqueria in Union Square, Manhattan, and working as a waitress. She was also employed as an educator in the nonprofit National Hispanic Institute. She worked as an organizer for Bernie Sanders in his 2016 presidential campaign.
Ocasio-Cortez was endorsed by progressive and civil rights organizations such as MoveOn, Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress, Black Lives Matter, and Democracy for America. She was also endorsed by gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who is also challenging a long-time incumbent, Andrew Cuomo. Two days before the primary election, she attended a protest at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) child-detention center in Tornillo, Texas.
Ocasio-Cortez was the first Democrat to challenge Democratic Caucus Chair Joseph Crowley to a primary race since 2004. She faced a significant financial disadvantage, but said, “You can’t really beat big money with more money. You have to beat them with a totally different game.” The Ocasio-Cortez campaign spent only $300,000; her opponent spent $3 million. She won with 57.5 percent of the vote to Crowley’s 42.5 percent, defeating the 10-term incumbent with a 15-percentage-point vote advantage. Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed Crowley over Ocasio-Cortez. Crowley also received the endorsement of both of New York’s US Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as eleven US Representatives, 32 local elected officials, 27 trade unions, and progressive groups such as the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, the Working Families Party, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, among others
Time magazine called her victory “the biggest upset of the 2018 elections so far”; CNN issued similar sentiments. Crowley’s loss was described in The New York Times as “a shocking primary defeat on Tuesday, the most significant loss for a Democratic incumbent in more than a decade, and one that will reverberate across the party and the country.” The Guardian called her victory “one of the biggest upsets in recent American political history”. She has not previously held an elected office, and her campaign video began with her saying “women like me aren’t supposed to run for office.” Jonathan Martin of The New York Times cited coverage by The Intercept as a major factor in her victory.
At 28 years old, Ocasio-Cortez is one of the youngest nominees for Congress. If elected, she could become the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. That distinction is currently held by New York Republican Elise Stefanik, who was elected at age 30 in 2014. Ocasio-Cortez will be 29 at the start of the 116th Congress.
Ocasio-Cortez is a progressive social democrat and member of Democratic Socialists of America, supporting Medicare for All, a Jobs Guarantee, free college education (public colleges tuition free), ending the privatization of prisons, tuition-free public college, and enacting gun-control policies. Ocasio-Cortez has criticized Israel‘s foreign policy, calling the killing of Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border on May 14, 2018, a “massacre”. She supports abolishing ICE, and has said that ICE is running “black sites“.[
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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