The Record

Midterm Elections

Julia Robbins, Staff Writer

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One of the midterm-primary races that received the most attention from students this summer was the Democratic Primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District, where Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat incumbent Joe Crowley.

If 28-year-old Ocasio-Cortez wins the general election in November against Republican Anthony Pappas, she will be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

Since New York’s 14th includes parts of both Bronx and Queens Counties, it is close to home for many students, whose opinions on the Ocasio-Cortez win vary even among those identifying as Democrats.

After Hillary Clinton’s loss, Ananya Kumar-Banerjee ‘17 felt that if America couldn’t even get behind a wealthy white woman, it would be impossible for her, a first-generation queer woman of color, to be accepted in society.

However, the successful primary run of Ocasio-Cortez, a Hispanic working-class woman, has given Kumar-Banerjee newfound confidence in America, she said.

Kumar-Banerjee worked on Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign this summer, assisting with social media, voter registration, and policy briefs.

“Seeing her win…was incredible for me and gives me a lot of faith, not just in the community that she represents, but in the totality of the country and the ideals that we stand for,” Kumar-Banerjee said.

In this election cycle, there was a lot more enthusiasm and political energy than in the past, especially coming from young people, Jamie Berg (12) said.

Ocasio-Cortez has highlighted important issues that haven’t been given sufficient attention in the past, Kumar-Banerjee said. These issues include abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as clean campaign financing, a program that stops politicians from being beholden to Political Action Committees and lobbyists by limiting the money candidates can take from them, she said.

The grassroots organizing that Ocasio-Cortez conducted was the most organic form of political activity there is, Berg said. Her refusal to take money from big donors relieves her of the burden most politicians have – meeting the often corrupt needs of their wealthy supporters, Berg said.

Some students, such as Berg, feel that pushing further to the left, like Ocasio-Cortez has done, is imperative for the success of the Democratic Party, but others disagree.

Candidates like Ocasio-Cortez will hurt the Democratic Party’s chances to take back Congress, because nationally people don’t agree with the Democratic Socialist agenda, Jack Blackman (11) said.

Ocasio-Cortez’s policies such as abolishing ICE, the Federal Jobs Guarantee, and Medicare for All, are radical, impractical, and potentially detrimental for America’s economy and society, Blackman said.

Nader Granmayeh (12) doesn’t agree with some of Ocasio-Cortez’s policies like the abolishment of ICE, but he was excited that someone with such an enthusiastic campaign was able to succeed in the Democratic Primaries, he said.

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Midterm Elections