Ocasio-Cortez: Dems need to be 'explicit' in their vision to win in midterms

Ocasio-Cortez: Dems need to be 'explicit' in their vision to win in midterms

The democratic socialist challenger who won a shocking primary victory on Tuesday night in New York is calling on her fellow candidates to be “explicit” in their message if they want to take back power in the midterms.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former organizer for Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Bill Maher to Dems: ‘Let’s not eat our own’ in 2020 MORE's (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, defeated Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) by a double-digit margin in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for New York’s 14th District.

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In an interview on MSNBC, Ocasio-Cortez said that Democrats need to focus their message on what they are “proposing to the American people,” rather than what they are fighting against.

“We understand that we're under an antagonistic administration,” she said. “But what is going to earn and deserve the support of working-class Americans? And we need to be explicit in that vision and that legislation, not just ‘better.’”

She said Democrats need a "bold" midterm message that involves standing up for working-class Americans, immigrants and the LGBT community.

Few thought Ocasio-Cortez had any chance of defeating Crowley, a longtime Democrat seen as a possible successor to House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiNational emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win Congress allows Violence Against Women Act to lapse High stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks MORE (D-Calif.). 

But she successfully convinced voters to support her candidacy of change while arguing that Crowley no longer represented the district's minority-majority voters.

In the MSNBC interview, she said her personal experiences helped her understand the “pain” and “urgency” of working-class Americans.

Her father died during the financial crisis, and her mother worked for years as a house cleaner and bus driver. 

“I started waitressing and bartending so that [my mother] could keep her home,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “So I understand the pain of working-class Americans because I have experienced the pain and I have experienced the urgency of this economic moment.”