When the impossible happened on Tuesday night in New York City where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year old self-proclaimed socialist floored Rep. Joe Crowley, one of the most powerful and deeply entrenched Democrats in Congress, all hell broke loose and tongues began wagging of course.
New Energy Emerging
Just a few “blocks” away in Brooklyn Adem Bunkeddeko a young and vibrant community activist was just 1000 votes shy from unseating veteran incumbent Rep. Yvette Clarke. Another young candidate who is known as Suraj Patel also challenged another veteran, Rep. Carolyn Maloney who represents a group of affluent communities.
A new energy seems to be emerging within the party’s base according to Democratic strategists after they witnessed Ocasio-Cortez’s incredible primary victory. They further observe that if a “blue wave” comes in November, then Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other insurgent progressive candidates across the country will be the major catalyst.
Women Riding The Blue Wave
Democratic women and women of color are running for office in large numbers this year. An impressive number of 293 women have run or are running as challengers for the House of Senate. According to Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, 34 of these women are running against Democratic incumbents. Actually, most of the women of color have deep ties to their districts and state and a good number are the most promising candidates.
According to a tweet by Sean McElwee, a progressive activist, and pollster, "The way you take over the Democratic Party is you support progressive women of color who know how to f---ing organize. Everything else comes second.”
According to Amanda Litman, a former Clinton campaign staffer and an activist with an organization that helps young Democrats run for local office, Ocasio-Cortez’s win is a great example of how the party is taking the women of color seriously as voters and as candidates. Litman is also quoted saying, “Women of color are the backbone of the Democratic party and our leaders should be representative of the voters we’re trying to reach.”
Jesse Ferguson a Democratic strategist says, “candidates like Ocasio-Cortez draw a helpful contrast with President Donald Trump and his administration.” He further says, “What are the American people seeing in the last two weeks? Donald Trump saying that young women of color should be in cages on the border and Democrats saying young women of color should be in Congress.”
Demographic Shifts Key In 2018 Midterms
It has been said that the changing demographics of the voters in New York and the democratic voters across the country will be important in the 2018 midterms. New voters many of whom are new Americans aren’t loyal to the incumbent Democrats.
According to Stu Loeser, Veteran New York Democratic strategist, most current voters are new Americans consisting of 80% non-white. Jon Reinish, another Democratic strategist says that the New York upset is a clear message to all establishment Democrats that they should stay in touch with their constituents. He is quoted saying, “If you want to continue to win, you better look really, really hard at your district — and never, ever lose touch of where the energy has been for years.”
A Democratic Spring
According to many Democrats and left-wing activists a November "blue wave" will not happen without strong campaigns on the far left. Many influential observers such as Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation referred to the recent left-wing electoral victories part of a "Democratic Spring,” in a Washington Post column last month. She wrote, “Instead of bemoaning the moribund Democratic Party, progressives are increasingly moving to take it over. If there is to be a blue wave, it will build from the enthusiasm of the Democratic base demanding change."
However, others continue to push for a Clinton-esque, centrist approach. They believe that as the Democratic party won the majority of American votes back in 2016 and therefore it shouldn’t stray too far from the mainstream if it wants to maintain that majority. Still few are surprised that a socialist platform appeals to voters in New York’s 14th district.
So the question remains is a Democratic Rebellion looming? Only time will tell but from the signs, it is highly likely.