Ocasio-Cortez beats Joe Crowley

by Henry Farrell on June 27, 2018

Talk away



A New York Jew 06.27.18 at 3:10 am

It’s a victory for “populism”.

As the Weberian conservative said, “Talk away”


bob mcmanus 06.27.18 at 3:32 am

Democratic Socialists of America

Barbara Ehrenreich is the real deal.

Bernie would have won.


shah8 06.27.18 at 6:03 am

Demonstrating a willingness and ability to primary Democratic Party incumbents is one of the most important things the base can do to salvage America.


Brett 06.27.18 at 7:18 am

The guy was a legacy politician who had never really been in a competitive race before, in a district that was half-hispanic IIRC. It’s not surprising that he was vulnerable to a challenger.


Lee A. Arnold 06.27.18 at 10:00 am

Ocasio-Cortez ran on Medicare for all. If the Democrats don’t run on Medicare for all, they are making a serious mistake. Obamacare was an attempt to compromise with the Republicans. As we have now seen repeatedly, the Republicans don’t want to compromise, on anything. Even immigration’s so-called “crisis” is because the GOP will not compromise. You don’t have to lose civility to state the obvious.


alfredlordbleep 06.27.18 at 10:01 am

Interesting matchup in Nov. with her degrees in economics and international relations versus R who teaches finance and economics.

(Maybe the celeb-demagogue/president can chime in now with some of his theory of managed trade. . . and stuff)


Lee A. Arnold 06.27.18 at 10:02 am


engels 06.27.18 at 10:48 am

It’s coming home


oldster 06.27.18 at 11:00 am

It’s a reminder that all politics is local.

I am happy this happened, but it happened because of facts about that district.

A similar candidate would not have won in more than 4 of the remaining 434 districts out there–it’s going to be a while before Montana elects its first socialist Latina.

But that’s fine. If her district can push a little to the left, and Montana’s districts can push a little to the left (whatever local form that takes there–being slightly less pro-gun?), then we can move the whole nation in the right direction.

It’s good news, and I’ll take it.


Jim Fett 06.27.18 at 11:04 am

That’s my district. Crowley acted like he wasn’t even trying. He raised over $3 million to Ocasio’s $600K, but there were no mailers or flyers or volunteers until Monday. By contrast, I got a hand written postcard from Ocasio, plus a printed mailer, 2 volunteers knocked on my door, there were flyers at lots of local businesses and volunteers at the subway entrance multiple days starting a month ago. Crowley really shot himself in the foot by blowing off two debates. Crowley is a progressive; he’s pretty good on a lot of positions. But the district has changed; it now includes part of the Bronx instead of the upper east side. It’s majority minority, half Hispanic, and it’s good to have a representative who looks like the constituents. Full disclosure: I donated to Ocasio.


Yan 06.27.18 at 12:37 pm

First Ben Jealous becomes the first African-American governor of Maryland.

Now former Sanders organizer Ocasio-Cortez.
Next Nancy Nixon.
Haven’t Bernie Bros had enough old white men yet?

If you aren’t supporting both dsausa.org and ourrevolution.com by now, you might as well be a Trump voter.


Yan 06.27.18 at 12:55 pm

“it’s going to be a while before Montana elects its first socialist Latina. Montana’s districts can push a little to the left (whatever local form that takes there–being slightly less pro-gun?)”

Snotty, simplistic half-truths and generalizations like these are one reason the Democratic Party is so widely reviled.

Yeah, it will be a while before the redder states turn. (Remember when the arrogant Hillary campaign spent its last week in Arizona hoping for a big surprise bonus win?)

But it’s no accident that many northwestern states went with Sanders in the Dem primary. Or that Our Revolution backed Jennifer Merecki recently won the primary for state Senate. Or that in neighboring Idaho, Our Revolution backed, Native American Paulette Jordan recently won the primary for governor.

In those places, the majority are hard conservatives, so we overlook the complexity of the political minority. But it also means, along with their distance from party centers of power, that many on the left are more independent than in blue states. Given how obstinate many coastal Dems have been about moving left, I wonder if they’re more amenable to change than many liberal urban centers.


Hidari 06.27.18 at 12:57 pm

Matt Stoller as usual is good on this:

‘Part of @Ocasio2018’s political economy platform is to break up the big banks, reimpose Glass-Steagall, cancel illegitimate Wall Street debt accrued by Puerto Rico, antitrust against big tech, and do mass student debt forgiveness. This is good.’

CF also what she was up against:



bob mcmanus 06.27.18 at 1:16 pm

I’m in Texas, I wasn’t paying attention. Things I learned last night:

Crowley is a progressive; he’s pretty good on a lot of positions.

Yup. A really terrific Clinton Democrat on issues. But:

1) Was a partner in a foreclosure mill? Buying people’s broken dreams on the cheap for profit?

2) Raised $3 million for his race, spent $1 million, gets to keep the other $2 million? No wonder he was gracious in concession

3) This was a safe and protected seat, and is expected to be a Democratic fund-raising set. Ocasio-Cortez was very proud of not accepting corporate donations, but there are already top Democrats telling her she needs to hit the phones and get the millions. Be interesting

4) Here’s NY-14 $25 k per capita vs $31 k nationwide, 15.2% poverty v 147 nationwide, $500k avg house price vs $250k national. A blue collar district being gradually gentrified? With pockets of poverty? Maybe Fett can help?

Democrats cannot serve two masters, cannot expect to do good, serve the people, and get filthy rich as a side benefit while inequality is this bad. Or shouldn’t, we’ll see how if we can hold them to account.


William Timberman 06.27.18 at 3:43 pm

After 50 years, the left in the U.S. has finally gotten to the point once again of striking a prince without being in a position to finish him off. If recent history is anything to go by, things will now get a lot uglier, just as they did in 1968. This time around, though, we’ve got a Supreme Court packed with religious zealots/libertarians, a jug-eared bigot and Confederate irredentist in the Attorney General’s office, and a Congress which spends almost all of its time trying to figure out if its bread is still buttered on the same side as it was in the last election.

While at the moment it may be difficult to find anything to say about all this that will comfort the average citizen, let alone anyone active on the left, we should probably avoid predictions, or anodyne encouragements such as hope springs eternal, and the DSA has 25,000 members! a pass. As most commenters here have noted at one point or other, we’re in the midst of a world-wide realignment with Sheol alone knows how many moving parts. Clarity in times like these — such clarity as is to be had, at any rate — will have to play handmaiden to events. Bullhorns are fine, if you’re an ideologue, but increasing their power output at this point seems counterproductive.


alfredlordbleep 06.27.18 at 4:30 pm

(Take a look at “the great Greenwald” interviewing her—embedded here)

Great, no?


Dr. Hilarius 06.27.18 at 5:30 pm

Jim Fett’s comments about money and campaign tactics ring true to my experience. Too many Democrats have given up on door-to-door contact with voters in favor of expensive media campaigns. The latter are increasingly being shown ineffective (apart from enriching a whole ecosystem of consultants and media producers) in influencing voters or, even more importantly, motivating them to vote.


Chetan Murthy 06.27.18 at 8:22 pm

I’m a happy constituent of Nancy Pelosi’s. Notwithstanding, this victory&defeat is how the Democratic Party moves to the left. Yes, Crowley was pretty stalwart. But hell, you don’t move to the left by taking out your weakest members (from the weakest districts, who could get taken-out in the general by the enemy). You do it by taking out your strongest members in the strongest districts, where there’s no chance of losing that seat.

I mean, otherwise, there’s no way for change to come in the Party. This is good. And again just to be clear: “s/he’s a Dem? Gimme the goddamn ballot”. I’ll think about being choosy about which Dem I vote for, when SCOTUS is 7-2 progressives and the Dems have the trifecta with an impeachment-level margin in the Senate. Until then, “s/he’s a Dem? Good enough”.


Waiting for Godot 06.27.18 at 11:53 pm

This is just the first step in getting the neo-liberals out of senior positions in the elected establishment. Now if we could get a change in the DNC leadership, establish a 50 state cover-all strategy in the Congressional races and get 100,000 new monthly contributors to the DNC at $10-$20 a pop we would have somethin’. Most importantly, cleaning the neo-libs out of New York and California by primary solidifies the base in the two largest states. What we are seeing in the special elections and primaries so far is a significant movement left everywhere including south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I am in Wisconsin and the involvement in Democratic primaries across the board has been astounding and there has been nothing from the fascist side. This summer is gunna be hot, muggy and ugly politically right up to November.


Waiting for Godot 06.28.18 at 12:13 am

What is happening nationally in the special elections and primaries so far for local, state and federal offices is a movement left from whatever the starting point was. More importantly, the primaries in California and New York were nothing if not a progressive enfranchisement of the Democratic Party base in the two largest states in the country.Now if we could get a progressive restructuring of the DNC, institute a 50 state cover-all strategy and get 100,000 new monthly contributors to the DNC at $10 to $20 a month we would really have somethin’. I am in Wisconsin and there has been incredible involvement in the Democratic Party primaries and special elections for every office from animal control to mayor to state assembly and senate to Governor and federal congress. There has been nothing goin’ on on the fascist side.


Yan 06.28.18 at 1:13 pm

The reaction to the dual good news/bad news of Ocasio-Cortez and Anthony Kennedy is particularly enlightening. It highlights that the left is working and accomplishing things, actually devoting themselves to practically fighting Trump and pulling off impressive wins like O-C’s. Meanwhile, as their response to the Kennedy news reminds us, many center liberals are just venting, mourning, blaming, and whining rather than working.

Their big contribution to fighting Trump is yelling about Stein, Sarandon, and people who voted the wrong way two years ago. When they’re feeling especially Resistance-y, they take a break during brunch to tweet about how if Hillary had won they’d be a brunch right now.

Even the reaction to O-C’s win betrays a lot. That one should be, to any self-styled progressive, unadulterated joyous news. Instead we get: “Sure, I’m happy about it, but I’d be happy if 5 puppies standing on each others’ shoulders in a trench coat one, as long as they’re Democrats.” We get: “Gosh, I don’t think O-C could win in Iowa!”

In other words, liberals got exactly what they pretended they wanted, what they used as an excuse for opposing Sanders even in the primaries when it was safe to do so: strong principled progressives in safe positions of power and young women of color instead of old white men. And we’re all realizing it was an excuse. They never really wanted it.

If I were more optimistic, I’d be tempted to say that liberals are in the early stages of sentience, that they are beginning to become conscious of their last two years of self-deception, and that we’re seeing the beginnings of a stage denial that precedes potential recovery.

In any case, here’s another old white man victory for the Bernie bros:

Emily Sirota, an Our Revolution-backed candidate for State Rep, has won, despite having Planned Parenthood support her opponent because she supported their employee’s union:



Niroscience 06.28.18 at 4:43 pm

No discussion of the fact that a dem socialist got a lot of support from NIMBYs and anti-development types: https://twitter.com/MarketUrbanism/status/1012146729632837632

I’m happy a economics student and young charismatic woman of colour won – even if the economics education did nothing to remove the folly of dem socialism ;). Maybe economic depts are more viewpoint diverse and friendly of heterodox economics than the other left-leaning social sciences.


Antonin 06.28.18 at 9:35 pm

She’s only the first one.


Jim Fett 06.29.18 at 12:57 am

Bob @14

Crowley is pretty good for an establishment Democrat; he’s probably about as good as you could hope for in that context. Last week I was writing all my representatives about Trump’s detention of minors; Schumer’s website had nothing; Crowley had a bilingual statement on the front page—it’s symbolic but it’s something. Obviously, I still think Ocasio is better. As you note, there will be a lot of pressure on her from the party; I can only hope she sticks to her principles. But it is New York politics so I’m not naive. Patronage and grifty deals are the norm here.

As far as the demographics of the district, as I said, the boundaries have changed. It used to include the white high income upper east side; since 2013, I think, it has instead included part of the Bronx which is largely hispanic or black. Gentrification is an issue throughout NYC, but I don’t think it was a major factor in this election. I think it was more about energy and Ocasio’s campaign having people out there knocking on doors and handing out cards. I wouldn’t have donated or probably even voted in the primary if they hadn’t handed me a card and sent me a postcard. Democrats need to focus on that kind of retail politicking if they want to win. Unfortunately, there isn’t a bunch of money for consultants in that model.


LFC 06.29.18 at 4:21 am

Just to note that challengers from the left didn’t win in primaries everywhere. There were challenges to Ben Cardin in Md. from Chelsea Manning and from Jerome Segal, an academic and Mideast peace activist. Cardin won overwhelmingly. Segal tried to portray Cardin as being in AIPAC’s pocket (which afaict was a reasonably accurate charge, though I didn’t follow the campaign that closely — more than one Senator is in AIPAC’s pocket of course), but Segal’s campaign never really got off the ground.


ph 06.29.18 at 5:21 am

@21 Yan, you’re right on the details, right on the the nature of louche liberals and their nimby priorities, but wrong, if I may say so, on the nature of victory. The significance of the O-C victory belongs entirely to her supporters, even more than the candidate for reasons you explicitly and implicitly identify.

For myriad reasons folks choose to mis-understand the nature of the Trump victory – over the GOP establishment and refuse to understand how various coalitions often at loggerheads understood that Trump was a more trustworthy and reliable champion than any of the proven failures valorized by the blind and pliant right-wing media. Nowhere is this clearer, perhaps, than with evangelical voters ran their slide rules over his willingness to fight and win at all costs, rather than his id and libido. Evangelicals have the champion they need.

There’s an excellent short piece by Henry Olsen(?) on the conundrum facing the dwindling number of never-trumpers – the republican purists who have been displaced by Trump’s big-tent republicanism. The test for Trump won’t come from the Dems, at least from what we’ve seen to date, but perhaps from constituent members of the GOP unhappy with rising deficits (perhaps), or out-of-control spending. Or just cause he’s such an asshole.

But that’s unlikely.

To the point, Trump understands the key to his coalition isn’t either/or it isn’t pushing the GOP to the right, or the left, but rather to the center and towards common sense, however odd that may sound to anti-GOP bigots. (I don’t include you in that group)

In effect, Trump is running on a robust and fecund America, open to the world, but wary of a political class that benefited only the elites. And this is argument that has a great deal of traction given past disasters such as Iraq.

The victory of O-C (Pelosi is too dumb to see it as such, of course) is one of ‘big-tent Democrats.’ The dunces at the top of DNC for the most part are so hobbled and blinded by self-interest that they fail to recognize that the victory of O-C is a victory and vindication of a sort for them, as well. O-C can’t win in Iowa – she doesn’t need to in 2020. She just needs to be there to help whatever decent more capable candidate takes the field.

Dems need to sideline the donors, but not pretend that idealism alone will win. The fight in 2020 will be ugly. The Democrats ran on ugly in 2016 and lost. The only possible way for the centrist Dems to win anything is to have people like O-C competing and winning in fairly run and fought primaries. Voters need a reason to vote for Democrats, and not just to stop Trump.

O-C gives the Democrats something to hope for – a big-tent where all voices are heard and respected – communists, socialists, and even conservatives.

The GOP has corruption, money and Trump. O-C and new Dems make Trump beatable.


Cian 06.29.18 at 12:42 pm

Niroscience – NIMBY is a meaningless term used by developers to attack any criticism of their plan. Those NIMBYs preventing us from paving over Central Park and building a shopping center…

Ocasio-Cortez was part of a campaign resisting inappropriate development. They are resisting developments that will either damage local resources (e.g. large skyscrapers that will literally overshadow local parks and playgrounds), or which will build homes that are inaccessible to locals. They don’t need luxury housing, they need affordable housing. And affordable housing (by which I mean housing affordable by the locals, rather than an arbitrary administrative definition) is not what’s on offer.

I mean everyone’s a NIMBY, right. Unless you’re saying that you support all development anywhere, no matter how inappropriate or destructive.


Cian 06.29.18 at 12:47 pm

Just to note that challengers from the left didn’t win in primaries everywhere. There were challenges to Ben Cardin in Md. from Chelsea Manning and from Jerome Segal, an academic and Mideast peace activist. Cardin won overwhelmingly.

Well yeah. I seriously doubt that many people on the left expected a protest campaign to be very successful.


Cian 06.29.18 at 12:57 pm

I think it was more about energy and Ocasio’s campaign having people out there knocking on doors and handing out cards. I wouldn’t have donated or probably even voted in the primary if they hadn’t handed me a card and sent me a postcard. Democrats need to focus on that kind of retail politicking if they want to win. Unfortunately, there isn’t a bunch of money for consultants in that model.

This, This and this. The thing about most of the money in politics is that it’s completely ineffective. You need enough money to build an infrastructure to sustain volunteers, print mailers and posters. That’s it. Volunteers going out, talking to people, driving them to the polling station and being enthusiastic. Nothing beats that.

There are huge numbers of people in this country who don’t vote. The way for the left to win is to get those people to the polling stations. Give them a reason to vote, educate them on how to vote (this is a bigger hurdle than many middle class people realize) and get them to the polling station.

I get very frustrated when people in blue states talk about how the solution to winning in red states is to be centrist, because I don’t think it’s true. I live in South Carolina – with the right candidate and THE RIGHT CAMPAIGN MODEL, this state could go Democrat. It’s not going to happen because the local party is an unholy alliance between corrupt black politicos and white urban lawyers, but it could happen.

But a centrist will only ever win here if the Republicans **** up because there are not enough white, urban, professionals, and everyone else when given a choice between two identikit politicos will either choose the Repub, or won’t bother voting at all. Give them a choice between a wealthy entitled white guy, and someone campaigning on social and economic issues – you might be surprised.


bob mcmanus 06.30.18 at 10:09 am

Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Won …there are obviously a lot of articles our there, this is short and by an organizer in Brooklyn

But I’m here about Gillibrand, who actively worked to ensure AOC would lose. She wanted AOC to lose, as evidenced by her endorsement of Crowley. Never forget this, because they will try to help you forget. Gillibrand firmly established herself as a loyal and enthusiastic part of the corrupt neoliberal machine in NY. AOC is not in a position to complain.

Is this a person we want on the top of the ticket in 2020? Someone we want making cabinet appointments and picking judges? Do we want her opposition to the left of the Democratic Party to be normalized?

As I said, I think Gillibrand is working the money primary hard now with NY Dem contacts on Wall Street, and will be hard to resist when Clinton and Obama endorse her early in primary season.

But we can do better. And she will lose, as usual, very profitably.


Raven Onthill 07.01.18 at 3:55 pm

I described her before I even knew her name. I gloat.

(A gloating raven is a very strange thing.)

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