Incoming Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to replace Democratic incumbents with progressives in order to move the party to the left.
That’s what she did when she won her won her Democratic primary in New York City, and now she is one of the most prominent progressives in the country — and a rising star within the left wing of the Democratic Party.
Ocasio-Cortez told the over 700 attendees of a “Justice Democrats” strategy call that they should run for office. And she said they should run against not only Republicans in their home districts but also incumbent Democrats in primaries.
Justice Democrats is a group of progressive Democrats seeking to make the Democratic Party more progressive. Their goal is to change business as usual, which means unseating established office holders in order to move the party — and the country — to the left.
Ocasio-Cortez said during the Saturday call that her own journey to the House began began when she attended a similar Justice Democrats strategy call a few years ago. Based on her own experiences, she asked supporters to launch similar bids for elective in their own districts around the country.
“Long story short, I need you to run for office,” she said on the call. “All I’m asking you to do is throw your hat in the ring, say ‘what the heck.’ ”
Ocasio-Cortez was elected Tuesday after running a successful primary against long-time New York Representative Joe Crowley, who was House Democratic Caucus Chairman. When the 29 year-old waitress beat one of the most senior congressmen in the House it sent shockwaves throughout Washington, D.C. and the nation.
Ocasio-Cortez also said that she and other members of the Justice Democrats would enthusiastically support challenges to incumbent Democrats. This would especially be true, she said, if the incumbents are not sufficiently aligned with the policies of progressives in the party. She said perhaps the biggest issue that they look at when deciding whether to “primary” an incumbent is where they stand on the issue of corporate campaign donations.
“All Americans know money in politics is a huge problem, but unfortunately the way that we fix it is by demanding that our incumbents give it up or by running fierce campaigns ourselves,” she said.
“I don’t think people who are taking money from pharmaceutical companies should be drafting health care legislation. I don’t think people who are taking money from oil and gas companies should be drafting climate legislation,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez made headlines this week when a reporter from the conservative Washington Examiner newspaper, questioned her claims of financial struggles in a tweet saying that her “jacket and coat don’t look like a girl who struggles.”
“If I walked into Congress wearing a sack, they would laugh & take a picture of my backside,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response. “If I walk in with my best sale-rack clothes, they laugh & take a picture of my backside.”
“Dark hates light – that’s why you tune it out. Shine bright & keep it pushing.”
Oh, does @eScarry think he can delete his misogyny without an apology?
I don’t think so. You’re a journalist – readers should know your bias. pic.twitter.com/2KJuiPsUR2
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 16, 2018
Earlier this week we reported that the incoming Congresswoman was having trouble coming up with the money to pay her rent in Washington until she receives her first paycheck as a member of Congress.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.