The US mid-term elections are swiftly approaching, and selection votes are taking place all across the United States. One of the biggest surprises was the win in a Democratic primary in the New York 14th District. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez won the 14th District with 57.4 percent against 10 term incumbent Joe Crowley. This sent shock waves through the US politics, and signified a shift in the structure of the Democratic party not only in diversity but in policy.

Shock selection
Greg Johnson, chairman of democrats abroad Ireland, said this was a huge surprise for the Democratic party as Joe Crowley had been elected to congress since 1998. Joe Crowley was the third most powerful member of the democratic party and set to take the leadership from current minority leader of the house Nancy Pelosi.

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was a relative unknown in the Democratic party or the US political scene. Cortez was first brought into the limelight of US politics when she worked as an organiser for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Presidential campaign. Cortez grew up in the Bronx and worked as a waitress while she was getting her BA in Economic and International Relations from Boston University. Cortez is among the many political candidates within the Democratic party now emerging as Social Democrats, the new frontier of the democratic party.

Rise of democratic socialism
Johnson believes that it is because of Bernie Sanders that democratic socialism is becoming more prominent among voters. “This success hasn’t translated into major gains for democratic socialists or progressives within party leadership as of yet. We won’t know for sure how prominent this group of voters is until after the midterm elections in November”.

Johnson goes on to say that “Cortez is very likeable, and she is running on an exciting progressive platform that inspires optimism about the future. If she continues to campaign hard, I think she will do very well on election day.”

The emergence of democratic socialism has ignited a need for change in the party. Johnson comments on how there is a big need for diversity within the party. “Beyond the need for more diversity regarding race, gender, and sexual orientation, it’s important we see more young people and people from non-wealthy backgrounds running for office and taking positions in party leadership”.


Above photo: Cortez (right) in an interview. Via Wikicommons. 

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