Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory yesterday was a major win for the struggling Democratic party. It was also a slap in the face for her opponent, Joe Crowley. Crowley, the Dem’s golden boy, was publicly campaigning to replace the tepid, complacent Pelosi as the speaker of the House. The party has been held back for years due to political fence riding at the expense of their constituents and Crowley was a part of that club. The uber-liberal Ocasio-Cortez focused on Medicare for all and other super liberal issues that mainstream Democrats were afraid to touch.
Ocasio-Cortez comes from humble beginnings. Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the Bronx with Puerto Rican parents, she understands the needs of low- and working-class people. Touted as a socialist Democrat, she graduated from Boston University where she studied economics and international relations. A doting daughter, she worked as a bartender after graduation to help supplement her mother’s income after her dad passed away from cancer in 2008.
For someone who grew up with no connections to politics, she has an impressive rsum. The 28-year-old has worked for Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy on immigration issues, and as an organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. Her campaign demands criminal justice reform, revisions on failing immigration policies, Medicaid for everyone and a universal jobs guarantee. Ocasio-Cortez’s views on Israel are commendable and courageous. She could be an incredible gamechanger in the political arena.
She could be…
Aesthetically and superficially, her campaign was perfect. Her campaign video highlighted Muslims (woman wearing a hijab), Latinos and immigration, and people of color like Asians, Central and South Americans and her son were well-represented. However, there was not one Black person in this video. That’s a huge red flag. She can’t be “progressive” and NOT include Black people even in the aesthetics. I’m sure if asked, she’d have the perfect response for the oversight. Given her background, which she used as a means to reach people, how was she not conscious of that How could a Latina of Caribbean descent not include Black Latinos in her campaign, especially when we have been more vocal about being represented
It’s understood and unspoken that Central and South Americans have been the faces of the immigration battle. However, African diasporans such as Haitians, even if they have American-born children, will be deported after July 2019. Diasporans have been denied reentry to a country where they have lived for decades. Continental Africans are being deported at alarming rates as well, and they have a significant population in New York.
Ocasio-Cortez outright ignored this. It is imperative for us to hold her accountable for the inclusion of everyone. Black people voted for her. With her victory still fresh in the minds of her supporters, it would appear that mentioning these points now wouldn’t make people feel good. With that being said, it’s time to stop voting for candidates because they make us feel good and start voting for them based off what we, actually, see being done.
I’m rooting for her. If she does this right, she can change the world. If not, she will be just like everyone else who has dropped the ball.