Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez poised to become youngest congresswoman ever


The young progressive champion defied the odds, defeated the fourth most powerful Democrat in the House, and will almost certainly go on to win in November.

On Tuesday night, voters in New York City surprised the political world by choosing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the nominee for New York's 14th Congressional District.

At 28, Cortez would be the youngest woman ever to serve in the House, beating out Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who was elected at 30.

And to win, Cortez toppled Rep. Joe Crowley, the chair of the House Democratic Caucus and the Queens County Democratic Party, who has not even had a primary challenger in 14 years. In a show of unity, Crowley congratulated his successful opponent by dedicating a rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" on his guitar to her.

"I look forward to supporting her and all Democrats this November," he tweeted. "The Trump administration is a threat to everything we stand for here in Queens and the Bronx, and if we don't win back the House this November, we will lose the nation we love."

Ocasio-Cortez is the third congressional candidate this cycle to beat an incumbent in their own primary, and the first Democrat to do so.

A Bronx-born activist of Puerto Rican descent, Ocasio-Cortez was born into a working-class background and served as an aide to the legendary liberal Sen. Ted Kennedy.

She has an unapologetically progressive platform, supporting Medicare for All, the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a federal jobs guarantee, criminal justice reform, and gun safety legislation. She has been a loud voice to bring attention to the devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, calling for a Marshall Plan to help the island rebuild and recover.

Even before her win on Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez was engaged in national politics, visiting an ICE detention center in Texas amid protests against Trump's barbaric practice of ripping children from their families.

New York's 14th District, situated in New York City, is solidly blue, with the Cook Political Report rating it 29 points more Democratic than the national average. So Ocasio-Cortez is almost certain to win the general election against her Republican opponent, finance professor Anthony Pappas.

Ocasio-Cortez is one of many young activists shaping the future of the Democratic Party. On Tuesday, in winning the nomination for Congress, she secured a prominent place at the table.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.