Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY) was a top Democrat, one who could have taken the helm after Nancy Pelosi left or was forced out. Then, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a knockout blow to his political career. It was the Left’s Eric Cantor moment. Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist who wants to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is being portrayed as the future of the Democratic Party. While she’s a shoo-in for Congress, she may have an ally to represent the cause in New York proper. Julia Salazar, who is also an anti-ICE democratic socialist, is running for state senate. After Ocasio-Cortez won her primary, she soon began promoting Salazar, who is challenging incumbent Democrat state Senator Martin Dilan (via The Intercept):
The 27-year-old community organizer has become a recognizable name and face in the neighborhood thanks to an aggressive ground game in her challenge to eight-term incumbent Democratic state Sen. Martin Dilan. Salazar and scores of volunteers have blanketed the district collecting signatures to get her name on the ballot for the September 13 primary. Salazar, her campaign told The Intercept, plans to submit many times more than the requisite 1,000 signatures from registered Democrats in the district by the July 9 filing deadline.
Dilan, a vestige of the corrupt patronage machine of former Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez, has held the North Brooklyn seat since Salazar, a working-class Colombian immigrant, was 11 years old.
Interest in Salazar’s insurgent campaign spiked last week when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, another millennial Latina, shook the political world by trouncing Queens Democratic Party boss Rep. Joe Crowley in a congressional primary. As news of Ocasio-Cortez’s upset spread, Salazar tweeted, “This is the most inspiring campaign victory I have ever witnessed.” Over the past few months, Ocasio-Cortez and Salazar have shared stages, knocked doors together, and endorsed each others’ campaigns. “Alexandria, mi hermana, mi heroína,” Salazar wrote on election night, “I am so grateful to be in this movement with you.”
Ocasio-Cortez followed up with a tweet …encouraging her followers to help gather signatures on Salazar’s behalf: “@SalazarSenate18 isn’t the next me, she’s the first HER.”
A win by Salazar would help solidify the gains made by Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated, but did not vanquish, the party machines. The similarities between the candidates are more than superficial. Both are committed socialists endorsed by Democratic Socialists of America. Both support abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a once-fringe rallying cry that has seeped into mainstream liberal discourse in recent weeks. Both were raised by working-class parents and threw themselves into community organizing as teenagers. And, tragically, both endured the deaths of their fathers before their 20th birthdays. Most of all, Salazar and Ocasio-Cortez represent a new generation of young, diverse, unapologetically radical women poised to take over the Democratic Party.
The night of Ocasio-Cortez’s win, Salazar, who was at the victory party, felt the earth shift beneath her feet. “At first, I was shocked,” she told me last week. “I’m less shocked now. When you do this kind of work, you’re constantly managing expectations. You have a grander vision, but on a daily basis, you’re just putting one foot in front of the other. That night, I realized we can do so much more. We can win.”
The Intercept’s profile is a lengthy one, but added that one of Salazar’s key issues is housing, a tense issue in an area where gentrification has taken hold, but a shift that could give this insurgent the votes she needs to clinch a win. The publication notes that these new residents are wealthier and tend to support policies advocated by the Bernie Sanders and his supporters. She does not take corporate donations. It’s possible another left wing upset could occur:
…Dilan’s hold on the district is not as ironclad as it used to be. He was challenged two years ago by Debbie Medina, another DSA-endorsed candidate with a background in housing organizing. Medina’s campaign collapsed in its final weeks — staff members quit and she stopped campaigning — after it was revealed that she had testified at her son’s sentencing for murder, telling the court that she had beaten him with a belt when he was a teenager. Despite the implosion of Medina’s campaign and the tabloid fervor over her son, she received 40 percent of the vote. Voters, apparently, had wanted a change.
Salazar doesn’t have that baggage. Is this a cause for concern? It depends. Frankly, New York is a bastion for the progressive left. They have a lefty mayor, lefty governor, they’re going to get a lefty congresswoman from Queens, and Salazar could shift the composition further left in the state senate. Will it create pressure for more rural Democrats to take up reading Mao’s Red Book? Yes, which is a battle for Democratsto have among themselves. Sit back, pop some popcorn, watch, and catch the crumbs of insanity that we can use to paint the Left as out of step with the rest of the country. The progressive Left has slowly taken over the party, especially as Democrats have became a more coastal and urban-based party. If this is the future, then Democrats will his a geographic wall. Abolishing ICE is not popular. Free college tuition, universal health care, and minimum wage hikes don’t resonate with votersyou need to win that make for wave election wins. So, let the Democrats drift left. Keep them drifting in that direction with their feelings, anti-Trump hysteria, and their insufferable self-righteousness. It’ll be fun to watch this crash and burn.