Rep. Joe Crowley has been in Congress since 1999; he's the number four Dem in the House, representing a diverse district in the Bronx, and winning primaries in a solidly Democratic district by raising millions from his friends in the finance industry.
He just lost his job.
In yesterday's primary vote, Crowley lost to the remarkable Ms Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who raised $600,000 in small money donations and trounced Crowley, who was so certain of the power of his $3,000,000 warchest that he didn't even bother to show up to the debates.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old, card-carrying member of the Democratic Socialists. She ran on a platform of abolishing ICE, Medicare for all, a jobs guarantee, a housing guarantee, gun control, relief for Puerto Rico, and gun control.
Ocasio-Cortez's biggest surge came when she and friends from the Democratic Socialist movement produced a viral online campaign spot for less than $10,000. It led to a profile in Vogue musing that she "might just be the future of the Democratic Party.
Her win has profound implications for the future of the Dems, who are embroiled in a battle for the soul of the party between the left-leaning, young, diverse Sanders wing, and the establishment wing of Schumer and Pelosi whose survival depends on keeping the finance industry happy.
Ocasio-Cortez’s victory is a story of the complacent establishment taking voters for granted. It’s the story of how the Democratic Party is getting pulled to the left. It’s also about how it’s not just progressive policies that are reshaping the party, but also people of color.
Ocasio-Cortez ran decidedly to the left of Crowley, but she also shook up how Democrats go about getting elected. Until now, Democrats have seen big money in politics as simply a deal with the devil that had to be made. Democrats are so often outspent by Republican mega-donors that they viewed courting big-dollar donors and corporations as part of creating a level playing field.
But if one of Democrats’ top fundraisers and likely successor to Nancy Pelosi can be toppled, perhaps Democrats need to rethink that deal.
A top House Democrat lost his primary — to a socialist [Kay Steiger/Vox]