Detroiters help propel New York socialist Ocasio-Cortez to stunning primary win


Filmmakers and Greater Detroit DSA members Nick Hayes and Naomi Burton. - TWITTER, @DETROITDSA
  • Twitter, @DetroitDSA
  • Filmmakers and Greater Detroit DSA members Nick Hayes and Naomi Burton.

If you follow national politics, you likely already know that, yesterday, progressive Democrats dealt stunning defeats to the party's establishment in three major primary battles around the country.

Progressive Rep. Jared Polis and Bernie Sanders ally and former NAACP president Ben Jealous won gubernatorial primaries in Colorado and Maryland, respectively. But no win was more incredible than that of Bronx activist and Democratic Socialists of America member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who managed to beat a Wall Street-backed, 10-term congressman who reportedly outspent her by an 18-1 margin.

Ocasio-Cortez's grassroots-fueled victory was dominating headlines this morning, but what you may not have heard is that two Detroiters played a vital role in her campaign.
Filmmakers and Greater Detroit DSA members Nick Hayes and Naomi Burton last month created a resonant online campaign video for the candidate that, to date, has been viewed more than 2 million times. The video helped introduce Ocasio-Cortez as a working-class candidate who could identify with the struggles of the people in her district — where median household income is reportedly just $54,000 (the district includes parts of New York City).

Ocasio-Cortez ran on a bold progressive agenda that included support for single-payer health care and the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Polis and Jealous also support single-payer health care. All three are expected go on to win their general elections in November.
"This is moment that working people across the U.S. can celebrate because last night, we began to reclaim the Democratic Party," Burton said Wednesday morning. "This is also a warning to Democrats who take corporate dollars and profit off the poor. Debbie Stabenow, Gary Peters, Mayor Mike Duggan — we're coming for your seats next."

Burton and Hayes are currently working on videos for a number of progressive candidates in congressional and gubernatorial races around the country. You can learn more about their production company, Means of Production, here.

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