Rep. Joe Crowley Loses Seat in Major Upset

Surprise primary vote highlights rise of far left within Democratic Party
June 27, 2018 Updated: June 28, 2018

On June 26, long-serving Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) lost his seat for reelection, in a stunning upset, to 28-year-old far-left political newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Crowley, 56, who had not been challenged in a primary for 14 years, was widely believed to be a future speaker of the House who would succeed Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. His loss to Bronx-born Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, took many by surprise.

Ocasio-Cortez’s victory came as a shock even to herself. Footage from the Associated Press showed her screaming “I won!”, her face reflecting a look of complete surprise, as she watched the results come in on television.

Her win was the biggest political upset so far this year.

In a statement on Twitter, the 10-term congressman congratulated Ocasio-Cortez, saying, “I look forward to supporting her and all Democrats this November.” Crowley represented New York’s 14th Congressional District and is also the leader of the Queens Democratic party.

The high-ranking Democrat’s defeat has left no option for a successor to Pelosi as the party’s leader, while at the same time revealing major internal divisions in the party’s message and policy goals. His loss drew the attention of President Donald Trump.

“Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place, just LOST his primary election,” Trump wrote on June 26. “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!”

Ocasio-Cortez ran a low-budget campaign and was outspent by her opponent 18 to 1, according to the Associated Press. She defeated Crowly by 15 percentage points.

In a Twitter statement posted on June 26, Ocasio-Cortez thanked Crowley for his support and service to the community, adding, “I look forward to working towards a takeback of the House on a strong platform of economic, social, and racial justice for working-class New Yorkers & Americans. Let’s do this.”

According to her campaign’s website, Ocasio-Cortez was born to two working-class parents. Her mother was born in Puerto Rico. After graduating, she became a community organizer and worked for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2016 presidential campaign.

She challenged Crowley to push a more extreme left-wing stance on the economy, health care, and other issues.

Shift Further to the Left

Trump is a vocal critic of communism and socialism but cheered the fall of Crowley as a sign of chaos in the top ranks of the Democratic Party.

Ocasio-Cortez’s far-left policies include the expansion of the Medicare program to people of all ages and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Her win also represents a shift to more extreme left-wing ideas inside the Democratic Party.

During an Oct. 6 event at the White House celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, President Donald Trump said his administration is working for prosperity and freedom and is standing with the people of Cuba and Venezuela against the authoritarian systems of communism and socialism.

“The same failed communist ideology that has brought oppression to Cuba has brought nothing but suffering and misery everywhere and [in] every place it has been, anywhere in the world,” Trump said.

Communist and socialist regimes have killed more than 100 million people over the last century, according to “The Black Book of Communism,” published by Harvard University Press in 1999.

“The radicalization of the Democratic Party, epitomized by the rise of Bernie Sanders and yesterday’s nomination of socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in NY, is not good for the country,” former chair of the California Republican Party and commentator, Ron Nehring, said on Twitter. “Cheering this trend, believing it somehow helps us at the polls, is dangerous and delusional.”

Ocasio-Cortez first gained attention online over her campaign video.

Meanwhile, the Republican candidate for the office, Anthony Pappas, is running unopposed and had no primary. He teaches economics at St. John’s University.


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