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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:

  • 61% of residents in New York's 14th district, which includes the Bronx and Queens, are minorities, including nearly 50% Hispanic or Latino. 45% are millennials.
  • 75% of Americans say immigration is a good thing for the country — the highest share of people who think that since 2001. And 51% of voters blame President Trump and the GOP for the state of immigration in the U.S.
    • One of her campaign planks was to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  • For the first time ever, Americans are evenly split on whether they would like a health insurance system paid for by the government or through private companies, per Gallup.
  • 62% of Americans have a positive reaction to a "Medicare-for-All" campaign slogan, which Ocasio-Cortez supported, but that's a policy position that establishment Democrats shy away from.
  • 54 of the 293 women who are running for House or Senate in 2018 are challenging incumbents in their own parties, per the Center for American Women and Politics. That includes 34 Democratic women.
  • 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.

Go deeper

Cuomo asks New York AG and chief judge to choose "independent" investigator into sexual harassment claims

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on Feb. 24. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

A special counselor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a statement on Sunday asking the state's attorney general and chief judge to jointly pick an "independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation" to investigate claims of sexual harassment against the governor.

The state of play: The statement is an about-face from Cuomo, who had previously selected a former judge close to a top aide to lead the investigation, the New York Times reported, a move that was widely criticized.

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.