Ocasio-Cortez's Democratic primary victory was 'shocking' -- even to her

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s defeat of Rep. Joe Crowley in Tuesday’s Democratic primary was a political stunner, an upset that sent shockwaves from New York’s 14th Congressional District to Washington, D.C., and beyond.

Crowley, the No. 4 Democrat in the House, was seen as a likely successor to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. And he’s the leader of the Queens County Democratic organization that wielded enormous influence over New York City politics. But Ocasio-Cortez beat him — and by a comfortable margin.

And it seems no one was more surprised about Ocasio-Cortez’s sound victory than the candidate herself.

“It was just so shocking,” Ocasio-Cortez said on “CBS This Morning” — one of at least four national interviews the 28-year-old former Bernie Sanders organizer gave on Wednesday morning.

“I think we’re still processing with the rest of the nation right now,” she said on MSNBC’s“Morning Joe.”

 

Ocasio-Cortez won by 15 points over Crowley, a 10-term incumbent who had not faced a primary challenger in 14 years, sending a signal to the Democratic establishment that voters want fresh blood, and reigniting talk of Pelosi’s future as the party’s leader in the House.

“I think it’d be inappropriate to commit to any one individual before we’ve even won back the House in November,” Ocasio-Cortez told NPR. “Let’s make sure we do that, and then we can have that conversation.”

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MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic Nominee for New York's 14th Congressional District, appears on 'Meet the Press' in Washington, D.C., Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Photo by: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrartes with supporters at a victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York?s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrartes with supporters at a victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrartes at a victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York?s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrartes with supporters at a victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York?s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: A banner for progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez hangs across chairs at her victory party in the Bronx after an upset against incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York?s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrartes with supporters at a victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York?s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is joined by New York gubenatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon at her victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York?s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez embraces New York gubenatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon at her victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York?s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrartes with supporters at a victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York?s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
TORNILLO, TX - JUNE 24: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is embraced at the Tornillo-Guadalupe port of entry gate on June 24, 2018 in Tornillo, Texas. She is part of a group protesting the separation of children from their parents after they were caught entering the U.S. under the administration's zero tolerance policy. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrartes with supporters at a victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York?s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 28: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and guest Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during Thursday's June 28, 2018 show. (Photo by Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is seen on June 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by MediaPunch/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
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To say Ocasio-Cortez is a political newcomer is putting it mildly. Less than a year ago, the Bronx-born community organizer was working as a bartender at a taco and tequila bar in Manhattan. Crowley’s district was altered in the latest round of redistricting to take in a big piece of the Bronx.

 

“Working class Americans and voters here have been waiting for an unapologetic champion for economic, social and racial dignity in the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said on CBS. “And we provided a very direct message, a very clear message.”

Or, as the self-described democratic socialist put it in her viral campaign ad: “It’s time we acknowledge that not all Democrats are the same.”

Conservatives were quick to stick Ocasio-Cortez with the “socialist” label and point to her far-left views on immigration — including the call to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“I don’t just question the patriotism of the ‘Abolish ICE’ movement. I question their sanity,” Michelle Malkin said on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday. “Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America … These are shrieking radicals who oppose any immigration enforcement.”

But Ocasio-Cortez has been unapologetic about her stance, telling Yahoo News earlier this week that ICE is “a moral outrage and an embarrassment to America.”

“I don’t see how anyone who learns of the terrible moral injustices that ICE has perpetrated would not call for its absolute and total abolition,” she said.

“What we’re really talking about is re-imagining immigration to be humane,” Ocasio-Cortez said on NPR. “And in a way that is transparent and accountable.”

On CBS, Ocasio-Cortez called President Trump’s administration, including its immigration policies, “a form of extremism” that should challenged.

“We shouldn’t be afraid to be very bold and very strong in our values and be very clear-cut in what those values look like,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We shouldn’t be afraid of bold policies that chart a vision for the future of America that we want.”

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