'It's Not Just One District': Ocasio-Cortez Pushes Back Against Nancy Pelosi's Dismissal of Progressive Wave
"I think that we're in the middle of a movement in this country...but that movement is going to happen from the bottom up. That movement is going to come from voters."
Arguing that her win is part of a much larger political shift in the country, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is pushing back vehemently after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed the New York Democrat's stunning victory in the state's 14th congressional district on Tuesday as an isolated incident.
"I think that we're in the middle of a movement in this country—I feel this movement—but that movement is going to happen from the bottom up. That movement is going to come from voters," Ocasio-Cortez told Erin Burnett on CNN during an interview Wednesday night.
With Ocasio-Cortez's opponent in the primary, 10-term Rep. Joseph Crowley, presiding comfortably over his district while taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from real estate developers and Wall Street, Pelosi appeared caught off-guard by Ocasio-Cortez's triumph, releasing a statement after she won by a 15-point margin that mentioned the 28-year-old Bronx native only in passing.
"There are a lot of really exciting races with extremely similar dynamics as mine. It's not just one district." —Alexandria Ocasio-CortezPelosi later dismissed the notion that Ocasio-Cortez's victory was indicative of an ascendent progressive movement that could replace establishment, more centrist Democrats like Crowley and herself.
"They made a choice in one district. So let's not get yourself carried away as an expert on demographics and the rest of that," Pelosi told one reporter at a news conference. "The fact that in a very progressive district in New York it went more progressive...is about that district. It is not to be viewed as something that stands for anything else."
"There are a lot of really exciting races with extremely similar dynamics as mine. It's not just one district," Ocasio-Cortez countered on CNN.
The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald denounced Pelosi's refusal to take seriously the nationwide enthusiasm surrounding Ocasio-Cortez and other candidates like her.
Ocasio-Cortez herself has promoted the campaigns of a number of progressive congressional candidates, including Ayanna Pressley in Massachusetts, Kaniela Ing in Hawaii, Chardo Richardson in Florida, and Cori Bush in Missouri.
Speaking to MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Ocasio-Cortez outlined the core beliefs held by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), of which she is a member, and the progressive candidates she is supporting.
"For me what it means is that in a modern and moral America—in a modern, moral, and wealthy America—where we have the capacity to ensure that every American can have healthcare and education and access to dignified housing, we should be able to try to do that as a society by whichever means we can...I don't think any person in America should die because they're too poor to live," she said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) spoke with Chris Hayes as well, highlighting Ben Jealous, Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland following his own victory on Tuesday, as another progressive promoting bold agenda items like Medicare for All and tuition-free college—both of which have the support of most Americans.
But Ocasio declined to wade into the inevitable debate about the "fracture" or "divide" within the Democratic Party, instead stating on Wednesday that her focus will remain on the issues that are central to her working-class constituents and that drove her campaign:
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