Rep. Joe Crowley loses in New York to A newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
As President Trump’s party came together, a 28-year-old liberal activist ousted top House Democrat Joseph Crowley in the president’s hometown Tuesday night, a stunning defeat that suddenly forced Democrats to confront their own internal divisions.
Crowley, the No. 4 House Democrat and until Tuesday considered a possible candidate to replace Nancy Pelosi as leader, becomes the first Democratic incumbent to fall this primary season. He was beaten by underfunded challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former Bernie Sanders organizer who caught fire with the party’s left wing.
Crowley’s loss echoed across the political world, sending the unmistakable message that divisions between the Democratic Party’s pragmatic and more liberal wings may be widening heading into the high-stakes November midterm election. It also exposed a generational divide among Democrats still struggling with their identity in the Trump era.
— Ben Dreyfuss (@bendreyfuss) June 27, 2018
Jealous campaigned on legalizing marijuana and establishing a single-payer healthcare system in the state. He will face a tough battle in November against Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican who is nonetheless extremely popular in the blue state.
Ocasio-Cortez ran a low-budget campaign and was outspent by an 18-1 margin. She argued that Crowley had lost touch with his diverse district, both ideologically and demographically, and by spending too much time in Washington.
“This race is about people versus money. We’ve got people, they’ve got money. It’s time we acknowledge that not all Democrats are the same,” she said in a biographic video released by her campaign.
Crowley quickly conceded the race and vowed to support Ocasio-Cortez. “We will only be able to stop Donald Trump and the Republican Congress by working together, as a united Democratic Party,” he said in a statement.
President Donald Trump was quick to crow about the defeat of his political foe and fellow New Yorker.
Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place, just LOST his primary election. In other words, he’s out! That is a big one that nobody saw happening. Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2018
Crowley did not seem to sense the threat or raise the alarm and to ask for help. Neither were Ocasio-Cortez’s allies on the left anticipating victory, and she appeared stunned and speechless in an interview with NY1 immediately after she found out she won.
“This is the start of a movement. Thank you,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted shortly after midnight Tuesday.
“The community is ready for a movement of economic and social justice. That is what we tried to deliver,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with the Associated Press. She said she knew she could connect with the New York district, which includes Queens and part of the Bronx. “I live in this community. I organized in this community. I felt the absence of the incumbent. I knew he didn’t have a strong presence.”
Trump, on social media at least, seemed equally excited about Crowley’s defeat.
“Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!” Trump tweeted, oddly taking credit for a victory by a candidate more liberal than Crowley. He added: “The Democrats are in Turmoil!”
The upset is reminiscent former Republican House Minority Leader Eric Cantor’s defeat to a Tea Party challenger in 2014, which sent reverberations through the party for years.
Ocasio-Cortez has been a community organizer in the Bronx and worked on Sanders’ presidential campaign. She campaigned on progressive policies like Medicare for All and abolishing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
New York’s 14th Congressional district, which includes parts of Queens and the Bronx in New York City, is one of the most Democratic in the country, meaning Ocasio-Cortez is all but certain to make it to Congress.
It’s notoriously difficult to vote in New York primaries — it’s the only state in the country that holds its congressional and gubernatorial primaries on different days — which critics say is intended to protect incumbents. But low turnout can also amplify the impact of an enthusiasm gap between candidates.
Sanders congratulated Ocasio-Cortez in a tweet on her “extraordinary upset victory tonight!” saying she “demonstrated once again what progressive grassroots politics can do.”
Congratulations to @Ocasio2018 on her extraordinary upset victory tonight! She took on the entire local Democratic establishment in her district and won a very strong victory. She demonstrated once again what progressive grassroots politics can do.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 27, 2018
“Tonight, a star is born, and a political revolution is underway. It’s starting here in New York,” said Bill Lipton, the director of the progressive Working Families Party of New York. “Every political leader in America should be paying attention to what happened tonight in Queens and the Bronx.”
All in all, Trump had reason to celebrate Tuesday night as all three of his endorsed candidates survived primary challenges that could have embarrassed him and the party.
Those included New York Rep. Daniel Donovan, who defeated convicted felon and former congressman Michael Grimm in New York City’s only Republican stronghold, and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who once branded Trump “a fraud” but has warmed to the president in the last two years. Romney easily won his party’s primary for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah, virtually ensuring he’ll be elected in November.
Yet none of the day’s contests mattered more to Trump than the one in South Carolina.
Gov. Henry McMaster, one of the president’s earliest and strongest supporters, survived an unusually tough challenge from a political newcomer, self-made Republican millionaire John Warren.
The White House went all in for the governor in recent days, dispatching the president and the vice president to the state in an effort to prevent a political debacle.
News Source: edition.cnn.com, latimes.com, nbcnews.com