Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old democratic socialist who upset veteran incumbent Joe Crowley in a New York congressional primary Tuesday, suggested Wednesday that her victory has farther-reaching implications than House minority leader Nancy Pelosi cares to admit.
During an appearance on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront, Ocasio-Cortez was presented a clip of Pelosi cautioning reporters against drawing too many conclusions about the future of the Democratic party from Crowley’s loss.
“They made a choice in one district” Pelosi said in the clip, recorded at a Tuesday press conference. “So, let’s not get yourself carried away as an expert on demographics and the rest of that. We have an array of genders, generations, geography and the rest — opinion — in our caucus, and we’re very proud of that.”
Ocasio-Cortez — a former Bernie Sanders organizer who has called for the abolition of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and advocates Medicare for all and tuition-free higher education — argued that her victory was indicative of a broader Democratic shift to the left.
“Yeah, well, you know, I think that we’re in the middle of a movement in this country,” she said. “I feel this movement, but that movement is going to happen from the bottom up. That movement is going to come from voters.”
“There are a lot of really exciting races with extremely similar dynamics as mine,” she added. “It’s not just one district.”
Asked whether the Democratic leadership’s advanced age presented a problem for the party, Ocasio-Cortez emphasized the importance of party diversity. “I do think that we do need to elect a generation of new people to Congress in both parties….We have to have a diversity of age represented in Congress, too,” she said.
Asked Wednesday by CNN’s Poppy Harlow whether she would commit to endorsing Pelosi for speaker should the Democrats reclaim the House in the fall, Ocasio-Cortez demurred.
“I think it’s far too early to make those kinds of commitments right now,” she said, adding that Democrats “need to just focus on winning in November first and then we’ll have the conversation about our leadership.”