Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Joe Crowley who was the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. He represented the 14th congressional district in New York. Crowley spent $3.4 million on his campaign, while Ocasio-Cortez only spent $194,000. Sure, Crowley raised a ton more money then Ocasio-Cortez but that didn’t seem to be the deciding factor. Crowley clearly underestimated Ocasio-Cortez. During the campaign, Crowley didn’t bother to attend any of the debates that were scheduled with Ocasio-Cortez. Instead he sent a surrogate to argue for him. Still, Ocasio-Cortez’s victory shocked politicians who were not expecting a democrat to unseat another democrat. “This is not an end, this is the beginning. This is the beginning because the message that we sent the world tonight is that it’s not OK to put donors before your community,” she said to her supporters after her win.
Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old woman of Puerto Rican descent, born in the Bronx. In her younger years, she was interested in science. When attending Yorktown High School she won second place in the 2007 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and got an asteroid named after her. She graduated from Boston University where she double majored in economics and international relations showing excellent analytical skills in her studies. When her father passed in her second year of university, she threw herself even more into academics. Throughout her career she has been a waitress for her mother’s restaurant, a organizer for Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and a children’s book publisher among others. She now wants to represent Bronx and Queens which is 50% immigrant in population. She built her campaign within her community and plans to improve from within as well. In a New York times interview she talks about having little parties in the living rooms of her neighbors and using social media to garner supporters.
In an interview with NPR, Ocasio-Cortez speaks on her aspirations of abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The government agency has long been unnecessarily militant in its enforcement of immigration law by tearing families apart. “What we’re basically saying is that the structure of ICE — in a similar manner as the structure of the Patriot Act — is kind of built on a scaffolding of questionable civil liberties infringement and abuse,” she said. “So what we’re really talking about is reimagining immigration to be humane, and in a way that is transparent and accountable.” Ocasio-Cortez says she also wants to work toward establishing higher education and healthcare for all people. She has opinions on the state of private prisons, gun control, and the idea of political revolution. Her win may spark a turning point towards educated women of color changing the political game.