Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a community organizer from the Bronx who is challenging New York Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley for the party nomination; she's a Bernie Sanders-affiliated left-wing Democrat who raised $200,000 to challenge Crowley's $1.6m war-chest.
Ocasio-Cortez figured out how to turn that deficit into ad advantage, working with Means of Production, a group of socialist filmmakers from Detroit, to create one of the season's most viral campaign ads for less than $10K: a two-minute spot that tells the story of a working-class challenger going up against a finance-industry-backed incumbent who has been part of the process that transformed New York into a bankers' playground where people like Ocasio-Cortez have no place (her slogan: "we've got people, they've got money").
The success of the video shoot raises the question: Why do candidates spend so much money on high-priced consultants who produce boring, safe videos, when ideologically aligned, camera-savvy activists can do it quicker, cheaper, and with more vitality?
"For a lot of these political candidates, who have nothing to offer people….staging a whole thing and creating this whole, like, kind of fake world is necessary because, you know, you're working from nothing, you have nothing to work with," Hayes said, crediting Ocasio-Cortez's political vision with inspiring the themes of the video. "We're interested in working with people that are really trying to push forward working-class politics and these sort of basic social safety net programs. And they have things to offer people. So it allows us the flexibility to be a little bit more creative."
The video's crescendo is driven by Ocasio-Cortez's narration, which she also scripted.
'Women Like Me Aren't Supposed to Run': NY Candidate Releases Campaign Ad That's Actually Good [Emma Roller/Splinternews]
How a Ragtag Group of Socialist Filmmakers Produced One of the Most Viral Campaign Ads of 2018 [Zaid Jilani/The Intercept]