‘We flip Texas, we flip the country’: AOC hypes up Democrats in push for progressives

New York congresswoman campaigns for progressives in Texas

John Bowden
Sunday 13 February 2022 22:52 GMT
New York Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
New York Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Getty Images for The Athena Film)

New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was in Texas on Saturday where the second-term congresswoman claimed that Democrats had a chance to “flip Texas” in upcoming election cycles.

She made the comments at a press conference outside of a rally where the progressive “Squad” member was campaigning for two fellow left-leaning Democrats running in two state congressional races.

“Here’s what’s exciting about the state of Texas, and here’s what's exciting about Greg’s race and Jessica’s race,” she told a group of reporters, flanked by candidates Jessica Cisneros and Greg Casar. “We flip Texas, we flip the country.”

Her comments were somewhat ironic given that neither candidate is specifically running against Republicans yet; Ms Cisneros is looking to oust an embattled conservative Democratic congressman who recently has found himself under FBI investigation, while Mr Casar is running in a district considered to be heavily Democratic for a seat being vacated by a retiring Democratic congressman.

But progressives have long argued that replacing Democrats who they believe are not aligned with positions endorsed by majorities of Americans, including in swing districts, is necessary and even politically advantageous for their party.

There is some evidence to their claims that progressive values can take hold in such states, including the resounding win of Senator Bernie Sanders in the Arizona Democratic primary in 2020. Arizona would later narrowly be won by Joe Biden in the general election.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow progressives have faced some backlash from more conservative members of their caucus in the House for their support of primary challenges to some members, as well as their stances on some issues including funding for law enforcement – which some members of Congress have said both privately and publicly opens them up to false attacks from Republicans.

Ms Cisneros narrowly lost a primary challenge to her opponent, Congressman Henry Cuellar, in 2020 and now expects to see the dynamics of the race change significantly given news of Mr Cuellar’s legal troubles; early voting begins this week.

If elected, the 26-year-old would break Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s record as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Ms Ocasio-Cortez herself joined the House in 2019 after defeating a member of House Democratic leadership, Representative Joe Crowley, in a blowout victory.

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