Jun 27, 2018

The big picture: What Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's win means

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at her victory party. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

Rep. Joe Crowley hadn't faced a primary challenger in 14 years until 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez came along. Timing is everything, and 2018 couldn't have been a better year for her to run.

The big picture: Her victory wasn't just an isolated incident. It reflects the Democratic Party's fight for their identity under President Trump.

Why it matters: For the first time in more than a decade these voters had a chance to elect a representative who actually looks like them. “Why is it that the congressman can proudly discuss his Irish heritage on the campaign trail, but I am somehow barred from mentioning my Puerto Rican family?” she told The Intercept.

By the numbers:

  • Crowley spent $1.02 million to Ocasio-Cortez's $127,000 between April and June in the Democratic primary, per CBS. The national party campaign arms will have to recognize that money might not be everything.
  • From Stacey Abrams in Georgia to Jared Polis in Colorado to the diverse candidates who took over Virginia's state legislature in 2017, Ocasio-Cortez is certainly not the last insurgent newcomer to shake up the Democratic Party.

Be smart: Democrats need to figure out how to meld the two factions of the party — progressives who are ready to fight Trump at every step and "establishment" Dems — into a cohesive, winning coalition.

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