A huge upset was won by a young, progressive, Latina woman in New York. The otherwise under-reported race saw Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s budget of $300,000 face off against veteran Democrat Joe Crowley—whose budget was ten times that. Her victory stunned the nation, and Ocasio-Cortez has credited her success with hard work on the ground level.
Her win led many publications to comment on the importance of connecting with minority communities as primaries heat up ahead of November’s elections. An analysis by Harry Enten for CNN said “Democratic candidates need to appeal to minority voters with increasingly urgency.”
“In Ocasio-Cortez's case, she was a Latina woman running in a district where over two-thirds of citizens of voting age were nonwhite,” says Enten.
This sentiment was echoed around the country, and is something that MIREMS knows well. In a diversifying nation, the voices of all are important and worth listening to. However, many criticising the race or shocked by the victory have leaned on the fact that she won by demographics alone. Ocasio-Cortez and the data say otherwise.
An article in the Spanish source El Diario out of New York quoted Steve Romalewski with the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center saying “that the idea that changing demographics led to the victory was not corroborated. Most of her votes did not come from predominantly Hispanic areas, although that would have been expected.”
Reporting from The Intercept says more than just majority-minority districts made the difference for Ocasio-Cortez, but neighborhoods with changing demographics.
Whatever the magic ingredient for Ocasio-Cortez’s win, MIREMS continues to pay attention to multicultural and multilingual media on the ground reporting in our communities. Making these voices accessible to decision makers—even future decision makers—is MIREMS' mandate.