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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

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.