‘It’s important for us to create mechanisms of support…’
Ocasio-Cortez plans to endorse more than a dozen congressional candidates across the country, but they must be ideologically as far to the left as she is.
“One of our primary goals is to reward political courage in Congress and also to help elect a progressive majority in the House of Representatives,” she told the Times. “There’s kind of a dual nature to this: One is opening the door to newcomers, and the other is to reward members of Congress that are exhibiting very large amounts of political courage.”
Ocasio-Cortez said she deliberately chose races where she thought her endorsement could help primary challengers.
“Anyone can show up one day and say, ‘I support all these policies; that makes me a progressive,’” she said. “But one of the things that is really important to us is winning.”
A few of her early endorsements include: Cristin Tzintzún, a voting rights activist running against M.J. Hegar, the candidate endorsed by the Democratic Party’s Senate campaign arm, in Texas; Teresa Fernandez, who is running in New Mexico; Samelys López in New York; Georgette Gómez in California; Kara Eastman in Nebraska; Marie Newman, who is challenging Illinois’s Democratic incumbent, Dan Lipinski; and Jessica Cisneros, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar in Texas.
Ocasio-Cortez’s list of endorsements has been seen by many as an attempt to buck the Democratic establishment, since many of these candidates are challenging sitting congressional Democrats.
But Ocasio-Cortez said she doesn’t care.
“It’s important for us to create mechanisms of support because so much of what is happening in Washington is driven by fear of loss,” she said. “We can really create an ecosystem that makes people more comfortable into making the leap to make politically courageous choices.”