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Remember, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also wrote her own winning ad

The Democrats’ new 28-year-old candidate for New York’s 14th congressional district told her own story, her own way, and it really, really worked.

Remember, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also wrote her own winning ad

One of the biggest stories of the midterm primaries so far has been Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s win over Joe Crowley, a 10-term Democratic congressman and the fourth-most powerful Democrat in the House. The 28-year-old first-time politician ran on a progressive platform, calling out the status quo, advocating for criminal justice reform, a federal jobs guarantee, the abolishment of ICE, and Medicare for all. She ran a powerful grassroots campaign, raising just $200,000 compared to Crowley’s $3 million.

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Her win was big news far beyond the borders of New York’s 14th congressional district because of what Ocasio-Cortez represents both as a young person of color and because of the policies she’s pushing for. For many, particularly those outside her district, their first introduction was a brilliant ad the Ocasio-Cortez campaign posted just a month ago.

Esquire called it “a working-class American story, a New York story, and a Bronx story,” one beautifully told. And so it is. But more importantly, the ad itself is representative of what so many find so inspiring about Ocasio-Cortez as a person and a politician. It’s real. She wrote it.

“This race is about people versus money—we’ve got people, they’ve got money. It’s time we acknowledged that not all Democrats are the same. That a Democrat who takes corporate money, profits off foreclosure, doesn’t live here, doesn’t send his kids to our schools, doesn’t drink our water or breathe our air, cannot possibly represent us.”

This is not standard. Ocasio-Cortez worked with Detroit-based production company Means of Production, founded by Democratic Socialists of America activists, to create the spot for less than $10,000. Means of Production co-founder Nick Hayes told The Intercept, “For a lot of these political candidates, who have nothing to offer people . . . staging a whole thing and creating this whole kind of fake world is necessary because you’re working from nothing, you have nothing to work with.”

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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