Linda Sarsour: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is the Hope We Have Been Waiting For

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Tuesday was a big day for progressive Democrats. In New York, former Bernie Sanders organizer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Joe Crowley. In Maryland, former NAACP chair Benjamin Jealous won the Democratic gubernatorial primary. We speak to Linda Sarsour of MPower Change about what the victories mean for the Democratic Party.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: In a moment, we’re going to talk about the travel ban, but Linda Sarsour is with us, director of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change. You supported Alexandria. This is a remarkable moment.

LINDA SARSOUR: I mean, in light of such horrible news yesterday with the travel ban and the Muslim ban, Alexandria is the hope that we’ve been waiting for. She is a young woman of color. She’s Puerto Rican. She’s a Socialist, just like me. We are both card-carrying DSA members. And she’s pro-Palestine, and she’s unapologetic. And the movement right now is elated, because this is what you’re going to see, Amy, in this election season. It’s a new day, a new generation. And Alexandria is what represents us and our values.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And as you were saying before we went on the air, there were many people, even so-called progressives, who didn’t give her much of a chance at all of winning against Crowley.

LINDA SARSOUR: Absolutely, because we—everybody puts everything into money. She was outraised almost 10 to one. And it’s not about money. It’s about the grassroots organizing. It’s about building power on the ground. It’s about getting voters who have been ignored and marginalized to the polls. And that’s exactly what Alexandria did. She’s charismatic. She’s young. And she was also very progressive, unapologetically progressive—tuition-free college, Medicare for all, pro-Palestine, even in the recent Great Return March putting her voice out there while she was campaigning, not afraid of any opposition that was going to come her way. And that’s the new kind of folks that are going to win. So, no Democrat is going to hold their seat for too long. And a lot of Alexandrias are coming this 2018 and 2020.

AMY GOODMAN: It is truly a remarkable moment. And Joe Crowley, in conceding last night, picked up a guitar and dedicated “Born to Run” to Alexandria.

LINDA SARSOUR: Mm-hmm. I mean, look, that was classy. I’m going to give Crowley some props for that. But at the end of the day, you lost, and you didn’t think you were going to lose, and you were confident that you were going to win. And the Democratic Party in Queens thought he was going to win, in the country thought was going to win. But he didn’t. And that’s why never underestimate the power of the grassroots movement or the resistance.

AMY GOODMAN: If she wins in November, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be the youngest-ever woman elected to the Congress. Linda Sarsour, stay with us, as we talk about the travel ban. This is Democracy Now! We’ll be back in a minute.

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