From insurgent to establishment: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez prepares for second term after firing top challengers

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won a stunning primary victory two years ago and quickly rose to national political stardom, appears poised to win a second term in Congress.

The 30-year-old progressive defeated several centrist primary challengers from her own party, paving the way for reelection in New York’s 14th district, a Democratic seat that it covers the Bronx and the queens.

An increase in postal ballots due to the coronavirus means that many thousands of votes will not be counted until next week. But with the first results showing Ms. Ocasio-Cortez with a lead of more than 50 percent, the Associated Press called the race on Tuesday night.

“Winning with that kind of mandate is transformative,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in a video message to her followers when the results came.

It tells us that our political positions are not an accident, it is exactly what our community has been waiting for. And it is the kind of leadership that our states and our country have been waiting for, “he added.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s easy transition from insurgency to establishment comes at a time of intense speculation about her future. In the past two years, she has named hundreds of laws, including the co-sponsorship of a major climate change bill, and has built a formidable political operation that places her among the top fundraisers in Washington.

Greeting the voters on the campaign trail near a school in Astoria, Queens, on Tuesday afternoon, she was very quiet about her plans beyond 2020.

“I am focused on being reelected today,” she laughed, when asked. The independent.

“I am eager to take advantage of the experience of my first term and begin to apply it in the internal game, being more sophisticated in the way we implement the legislation. Like any job, one improves more and more, “he added.

But speculation is unlikely to go away anytime soon, especially since many see her and the kind of politics she represents as the future of the Democratic Party. There is already talk of a race for the Senate and, in the future, perhaps an opportunity for the White House.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez meets a young woman on the campaign trail in Queens

His own primary victory in 2018 against 10-period starting incumbent Joe Cowley, then the fourth-Democrat in the House, was one of the few to come. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, a Boston University graduate, was working behind the bar at a restaurant in New York’s Union Square when she launched her career. She took office at age 29, making her the youngest woman to serve in Congress.

She was not alone. The Bronx native was part of a wave of progressive Democrats that toppled centrist headlines for the long haul. The arrival in Washington of AOC and “The Squad” – Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib – it marked a shift to the left in the politics of the Democratic parties. Each of them called for more radical solutions to America’s ills and the excesses of Donald Trump’s presidency.

The question waiting to be answered by many of the top races in New York on Tuesday was whether AOC’s arrival on the national stage was a harbinger of what’s to come, or an anomaly. And if progressives could continue to push the Democratic Party to the left in a time of national crisis and in a presidential election year that saw the establishment’s archetypal politician, former Vice President Joe Biden, easily win the nomination.

This year, several races in New York have set long-term challenges for long-term headlines that reflect AOC’s great campaign. One, in particular, could serve as a measure of the strength of progressive Democrats.

Jamaal Bowman, a former Bronx high school principal who has been described as “the next AOC,” poses a serious threat to Eliot Engel, 73, a 16-term congressman who was first elected in 1988. The Elders of the Democratic Party closed tightly around Engel: Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo backed him.

Bowman, however, secured AOC’s assent: “Jamaal is not only a profound community leader, but I think he would be a fantastic colleague in the United States House of Representatives,” he said.

Due to the large number of absentee ballots issued in the New York primaries as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the results of nearby races may not be known for another week. But early results showed Bowman well ahead of Engel. A victory for him would suggest that the progressive wave is not over.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez greets voters in Astoria, Queens on Tuesday. (Richard Hall / The Independent)

Leaving political power aside, AOC has already proven itself to be a formidable political operator and a fundraising giant. She raised more than $ 10.5 million in the past 18 months, according to data compiled by the Federal Election Commission.

Her main serious rival in these elections was a former television presenter and former Republican Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who has received substantial donor support from large dollar amounts.

AOC, by contrast, raised most of its money from grassroots campaigns: small donations from supporters across the country. Small dollar donations are responsible for almost 80 percent of the money the congresswoman has raised this cycle, according to her candidate. profile about open secrets.

He also began using his national profile to jumpstart progressive candidates by starting a political action committee to help win a progressive majority in the House.

Back in Queens, he has played a balancing act between the national stage and local issues. The district that AOC represents is one of the most diverse in New York State. Of its 650,000 residents, 50 percent are Hispanic, 17 percent Asian, and 23 percent white, according to 2016 census figures. It also has the fifth highest percentage of service sector workers in all congressional districts.

Cierra Johnson, 34, was passing when AOC pulled into Astoria on Tuesday. She had spent the morning volunteering for the campaign, handing out flyers. Her husband is Bolivian and recently lost the opportunity to obtain a Green Card due to a ban by the Trump administration. She said she was attracted to AOC because “she was willing to stand up and fight.”

“In situations like this, people wait until there is a crowd, but she has been talking before she was popular and that takes a lot. You have to reconcile a lot with yourself to be brave enough to do that, “he added.

Rumors abound that AOC may try to repeat its giant takedown debut with a primary run against Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader. It was even endorsed by an unlikely source in Trump, who has tried to include the AOC and a handful of other democratic socialists in Congress as the mainstream of the Democratic party as a means of convincing independent voters that the party is too radical.

“Actually, that would be a great improvement, and she would win!” Trump tweeted in response to a Washington Times article suggesting that she would challenge Mr. Schumer.