June 27, 2018
- In last minute attempt to win, Representative Joe Crowley reached out to GOP donors, according to The Intercept
- Actress Cynthia Nixon, who is running for governor, backed the winner Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
- Across the country, progressives are challenging the Democratic Party machine
The defeat of Democratic incumbent Joseph Crowley in the New York City primaries on June 26 by newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a sign that a revolt is brewing within the Democratic Party. Ocasio-Cortez received 15,897 votes to Crowley’s 11,761.
Bronx-native Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a former Bernie Sanders organizer and member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a social-democratic grassroots organization. The DSA played a significant role during the Bernie Sander’s run for president and it is one of the faster growing left-wing organizations.
The political ramifications of Ocasio-Cortez’s unprecedented victory are twofold. First, it challenges the old guard and their neglect of immigrant and working-class communities, bringing issues of social justice and class into the national agenda. Second, it opens the doors to more progressive candidates who could eventually win and confront the conservative and reactionary policies of the Republican Party and Trump.
Ocasio-Cortez’s victory—which represents a generation and political break—shocked the local and national Democratic Party establishment. For decades, the majority of Democrats have aligned themselves with Wall Street interests, abandoning the traditional labor union and working-class traditional base that gave impetus to the Democratic Party since the New Deal era. Her platform was more in alignment with the interests of ordinary New Yorkers: Medicare for all, fully funded public schools as colleges, immigration justice among others.
In the Bronx, like other places, the Democratic political machine comprises of long-time political hacks and, in some cases, family dynasties such as the Arroyo (Carmen and María del Carmen), Díaz (Rubén and Rubén, Jr.), Espada (Pedro, Pedro Gautier, and José), Rivera (José, Joel, and Naomi), and Serrano (José and Nelson) families.
In the last decades, several Bronx elected officials have had to resign from their posts. Former New York State Assemblyman Pedro Espada Jr. was indicted on six federal counts in December, 2010 and stripped of his position. Likewise, Assemblyman Efraín González was sentenced to seven years in prison, completing his sentence in 2016. The man who González replaced in the Assembly, Israel Ruíz, Jr., was sentenced to six months in jail due in 1989. However, previously convicted politicians can always return. Ex-convict Michael Grimm ran and lost at last night’s primaries, losing to Dan Donovan. Hence, even the formerly incarcerated can run for office.
The community has had enough of stale politicians who do not want to retire, continue to make false promises, get all sorts of kickbacks, and continue to hurt the communities they were elected to serve. Communities all around are realizing that the people who they elected have lost sight. Ocasio-Cortez’s victory has provided people with hope.