The end of June saw a pivotal moment in electoral history when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an obscure 28-year-old Democratic Socialist from the Bronx with no prior political experience upended the Democratic establishment by unseating incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Contrary to what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) say, Ocasio-Cortez’s victory is a bellwether for the direction the nation is moving, and the establishment Democratic party would do much better overall reclaiming the majority from the GOP at the national and state level if it embraced the platform of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the platform that won 23 states for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in 2016 and is ushering in scores of progressive candidates.
But Ocasio-Cortez is not the only New Yorker out to realign the Democratic party.
Alluding to the momentum Ocasio-Cortez represents, Nixon added:
“This is the same Democratic establishment that says we can’t win with candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez because she’s too far to the left. I have to say to them, ‘Please.’ A lack of moderation was not the problem. We tried it their way and we lost to a racist extremist. If Democrats are going to win this year, it’s not enough to just be better than Donald Trump. We can’t just give people something to vote against. We have to give them something they’re going to want to show up and vote for.”
So what is it propelling Nixon’s–and other Democratic Socialists’–platforms that are so popular with voters? What is it Democratic Socialists want?
In a recent piece for Jacobin, Neal Meyer explained:
“We want to build a world where everyone has a right to food, healthcare, a good home, an enriching education, and a union job that pays well. We think this kind of economic security is necessary for people to live rich and creative lives — and to be truly free.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez added on The Late Show:
“What [Democratic Socialism] means to me is health care as a human right; it means that every child no matter where you are born should have access to a college or trade-school education if they so choose it. I think that no person should be homeless if we have public structures or public policy to allow for people to have homes and food and lead a dignified life in the United States.”
Democratic Socialists believe in
- tuition-free college
- fully funded public schools
- aggressive infrastructure investment
- strong unions
- a major shift away from fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy to combat climate change
- abolishing Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)
- equal rights for all
- grassroots campaign finance
- a right to housing
- an assault weapons ban with stricter gun control
- an end to private prisons
- restoring Glass-Steagall
- a federal jobs guarantee
In New York, Cynthia Nixon intends to implement this platform by:
- providing low-income schools appropriate funding and implementing a birth-to-college approach to public education
- bringing Medicare-to-All through supporting the New York Health Act, which would reduce total health care spending in the state by $45 billion a year–15%.
- modernizing the New York City subway system
- helping to make mass transit more accessible and affordable
- passing the Reproductive Health Act and the Comprehensive Contraception Act
- creating a Maternal Mortality Review Board
- enacting full gender equality and reproductive freedom, including comprehensive sexuality education that includes LGBTQIA-inclusive information
- protecting over nine million New Yorkers from eviction and soaring rent
- defending a fair economy for all through holding Wall Street and corporations accountable, and strengthening protections for workers and consumers
- legalizing, taxing, and regulating recreational marijuana
- promoting climate justice through transitioning to 100% renewable energy, passing the Climate and Community Protection Act, divesting from fossil fuels, closing dangerous nuclear power plants, fighting the Trump administration’s plans to allow oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, and committing to the Paris Climate Accords from which Trump withdrew last year
- restoring access to drivers’ licenses to all qualified New York drivers regardless of immigration status
New York’s gubernatorial primary is Thursday, September 13.
If you’re in New York, you must be a registered Democrat to vote due to the state’s closed primary system.
You can check your registration status here. It only takes half a minute.
Image credit: ABC News