The dethronement of Queens Democratic Party boss Congressman Joseph Crowley D-NY by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28 year-old novice and Bernie Sanders progressive can be likened to a political earthquake pundits never saw coming. The question is how so-called political experts were blind-sided by crucial development of this magnitude. But surely, the end result carries enormous consequence.
Some politicians can become out of touch with realities on ground, some become detached to the complacency and apathy of voters in their district. In 2016, Hilary Clinton presidential election loss to political novice Trump was one of such cases. The truth is the old guard can be conditionally deluded by the never-ending accolades of surrogates surrounding them losing focus, side-stepping important local issues to their detriment.
Many questions are yet to be answered by Queens’s party boss mega loss. For a 10-term Congressman to lose a primary election many thought was a cakewalk begs the question of whether Mr. Crowley remains the Queens County leader or decides to hang it up. For a political party boss who welded such an enormous power making deals, setting his sight on national political stage, considered heir-apparent to Nancy Pelosi and perhaps elevation to speakership in the United States House of Representative his toppling is huge. This loss to Mr. Ocasio-Cortez weakens his power to effectively lead the most diverse borough in the whole world with a diversity of nationalities. The good news is Queens has a reservoir of potential leaders who have the gravitas to assume leadership created by his unexpected defeat.
On the other hand, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a visionary, with uncompromising youthful energy, progressive to the core, seem like the bold face of politics the country needs at this particular time.
The surge of her campaign can be attributed to the same energy Bernie Sanders cultivated in his presidential quest. Her campaign platform included such bold and assertive ideas as the overhauling of campaign finance law, standing up against the influence of “Big Money” and how such influence can corrupt politics. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was vehement in against the abolition of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Whether one brands her as radical or not, she is proposing economic, social and racial justice for working class Americans.
We beat a machine with a movement, and that is what we have done today said Ms. Ocasio-Cortez speaking to the news media. Nice Mr. Crowley graciously congratulated her and promised to help her in November. With her victory, she is certain to be the representative for the 14th Congressional district of NY encompassing parts of the eastern Bronx and northern-central Queens.
The obvious lesson to be learned from any defeat in politics is the fact that politicians often become out of touch with the reality on ground, with sights on higher office, abandonment of the grass root or playing to national stage can make even a seasoned politician forget what the late political sage, House Speaker Thomas Tip’ O’Neil said “All politics is local”. Some finger pointing going around and Monday night quarterbacking saying the congressman mistake made be his distracting focus on Trump and the national stage and taking off eye on the ball “his base”. During the debate on NY 1 news, the challenger Ms. Ocasio-Cortez held her ground and articulated in a very compelling vision with youthful exuberance why she was running and connected with millennials especially. In contrast, the veteran party boss appeared rattled, defensive and less sure-footed. Throughout the campaign, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez stayed on message, continually articulated her vision clearly and succinctly time and time again like his mentor Bernie Sanders.
My advice to those who play ‘establishment politics” or reluctant to embrace the political trend of this day, Watch out for the millennials. Mark it down, new political realignment will be manifested in a very short time with new faces, new and bold ideas. The question is which side are you going to be on, will it be “Machine vs. Movement”.
Dr. George Onuorah,
Author “The Political Diary of A Rising Son”
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