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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Win Shocks Leaders in the Democratic Party: Will They Learn the Lesson?

July 1, 2018 in Blogs

By Andrew O’Hehir, Salon

A 28-year-old Latina socialist bested a 20-year incumbent. Does the Democratic party even see the problem?

A few weeks ago I wrote an article here about what I had learned by moving to the Bronx. A decision I made for personal and self-interested reasons turned into a valuable education. My vibrant and harmonious neighborhood east of the Bronx Zoo is by far the most diverse place I’ve ever lived, and defies every possible Donald Trump-style stereotype about the effects of immigration and what life is like in the places where immigrants live.

This week the education got more serious. What I had no way of knowing, since nobody else did either, was that this oft-neglected corner of New York City — where recent arrivals from Latin America, the Caribbean, South Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East all live in close proximity (along with, you know, other folks) — was about to make national news. Oh sure, I knew about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was running for Congress in New York’s 14th district, which includes the eastern third of the Bronx and much of northern and central Queens, across the Whitestone Bridge.

We were on it, arguably. She had been profiled by Salon’s Charlie May earlier this year, when she was a long way from being a media superstar who got booked on “Today,” CNN’s morning show and Stephen Colbert inside 24 hours. (I believe that interview process went like this: Charlie called Ocasio-Cortez on her cell phone and she answered it.) She was young and undeniably charismatic. She had been an organizer for Bernie Sanders and embraced his signature issues: single-payer health care, free college tuition and a $15 minimum wage, along with a newer one, the abolition of ICE (an agency whose name is a dirty word around here). She grew in the heart of the Puerto Rican Bronx, a mile or so west of where I live. She joked about that during the campaign: Her Spanish might sound pretty good to someone like me, but she speaks it “like a girl from the block,” not with the fluency of …read more


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