'I Want Us to Be That Party Again'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she's "just the canary in the coal mine."

'I Want Us to Be That Party Again'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks about her win and what inspires her going forward

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she is "just the canary in the coal mine." The twenty-eight-year-old activist and educator from the Bronx became a national phenomenon after she defeated Congressman Joe Crowley, the fourth-highest ranking House Democrat, in a June 26 New York primary.

Pundits and politicians raced to portray Ocasio-Cortez, whose proudly progressive campaign was backed by groups that seek to turn the Democratic Party to the left (including Democratic Socialists of America and Justice Democrats), as an outlier. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was especially dismissive, saying, "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."

But, by the end of the summer, there had been many more primary upsets by progressives who challenged the party's caution--including Ayanna Pressley's defeat of entrenched Democratic Congressman Mike Capuano in Massachusetts and Florida gubernatorial contender Andrew Gillum's win over establishment Democrats.

In a number of cases, the progressives who prevailed in those primaries had gotten a boost from Ocasio-Cortez, who hit the campaign trail nationwide following her primary win. Along the way, she made time to talk with me about how she believes movement politics can and will transform the Democratic Party. Here's some of what she had to say.

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