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Nancy Pelosi just downplayed the obvious message of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win

Nancy Pelosi just downplayed the obvious message of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win
[Photo: Flickr user Gage Skidmore]

Last night, history was made. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old progressive, beat seasoned Democrat Joe Crowley in the New York primaries. To many, this sent a loud-and-clear message that change is on the horizon. Crowley is a longstanding member of the Democratic machine, and before last night, he was often thought to be the natural successor to 78-year-old House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The obvious message here is that the Democrats need to understand their progressive base—or the old guard is going to be replaced by a new one. Ocasio-Cortez, for instance, campaigned on issues such as defunding ICE and ending privatized prisons. This message resonated with New York voters, which is ultimately the reason why Crowley got dethroned.

One would think that this would be a moment for the Democrats to both realize why Crowley lost as well as celebrate new blood in their party. Not so for Pelosi, who offered a statement today that focused mostly on Crowley and his service. It mentions Ocasio-Cortez only in the last sentence.

If that weren’t enough, Pelosi also told reporters today that she doesn’t think the historic win should be overanalyzed. Here’s her quote to Politco’s Jake Sherman:

The messaging is clear: The Democratic machine wants to de-emphasize Ocasio-Cortez’s win. Sure, the 28-year-old won without the institutional support of the party, and having spent only a fraction of what Crowley did. But according to Pelosi, that doesn’t mean voters around the country are ready for similar change. Nothing to see here, folks.

While Pelosi may be telegraphing that she’s not worried about more upsets, I’m sure others are beginning to get the message that change actually can come.

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