Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's New York Primary Win Could Bring Hope For Texas Democrats

Ana Paula Hirama/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old political newcomer, socialist and former campaign organizer for Bernie Sanders, beat her primary opponent in a primary race in New York. Her victory over Joe Crowley, the fourth-highest ranking Democrat in the House, came as a shock to some.

Ed Espinoza, the executive director of the progressive group Progress Texas, says there have been signs of reverberation in Texas after Crowley’s defeat – and he describes an “unconventional slate” of candidates put forward by the state Democratic Party.

“You have your statewide nominees who are primarily fresh faces – people that you haven’t seen before – but people who look like Texas,” he says. “You have Latinos, you have African Americans, you have young people, you have older people – you have people from an array of backgrounds. And that is something that we don’t often see in politics.”

Recent local and primary elections in Texas have been featuring socialist candidates, too. Espinoza believes people are beginning to embrace ideas that are outside of the “binary” choices of Republican or Democrat.

“You’re looking at immigration reform, you’re looking at defending healthcare, fighting for public education,” he says. “I guess the only thing that’s radical about it for the Democratic party is that we’re all on the same page right now – that’s not something that always happens in the progressive movement, but seems to be happening at the moment.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s win in New York is being read as a surprise win for Bernie Sanders-style progressivism. Espinoza says Beto O’Rourke could break through as the “Ocasio-Cortez” in Texas.

“He is the party leader, he is the guy who is leading the charge, he’s leading in fundraising, and he’s really brought a bold and authentic message – and he’s been fearless about it,” he says.

Written by Amber Chavez.

Rhonda joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?” She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio.
Related Content