Democratic Socialist Takes Down an Establishment Democrat 🤼

Photo: Marco Ugarte / AP

Photo: Marco Ugarte / AP

Surprise victory

In an unexpected upset, political newcomer Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Joe Crowley (D) in New York’s 14th congressional district primaries. Crowley has represented the district since 1999 and was touted as a potential future House speaker. Approximately half of the residents in NY's 14th district are immigrants. 

Who is she?

28-year-old Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez is a self-described Democratic Socialist. She was a former organizer for Bernie Sanders’ campaign and was working as a bartender a year ago. Some are worried that socialism is taking over left-leaning politics, while others view that as an exaggeration. 


The right claims that the core of the Democratic Party is changing. They assert that Oscasio-Cortez’s victory indicates the party is shifting more towards its radical wing – highlighting her affiliation to the Democratic Socialists of America. They refer to Oscasio-Cortez as a younger Bernie that her comrades can rally behind. They draw parallels to the rise of the Tea Party, arguing that it is now difficult to differentiate a Democrat from a Socialist. 

The left downplays the effect of Oscasio-Cortez’s victory on the identity of the Democratic Party. They break down her platform and claim that, with regard to economic issues, her ideas are akin to those of a progressive Democrat, rather than a socialist. Furthermore, they contend that the Democratic Party is not having an identity crisis and that Oscasio-Cortez’s victory represents an evolution, not a revolution.

Is the Democratic Party Becoming Socialist?

Unlikely. As a result of the Cold War and the Soviet Union, the term socialist remains disliked and misunderstood - especially in politics. While there are differences between a socialist and a democratic socialist, the Democratic Party does not espouse either ideology. The party establishment as a whole has not shifted in political ideology. However, certain ideas promoted by democratic socialists have gained traction in recent years – specifically the idea of universal healthcare.

When people hear "socialism"



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