Ocasio-Cortez Learns the Agony of Victory as Lieberman Tells N.Y. Dems to Vote Crowley

Ocasio-Cortez Learns the Agony of Victory as Lieberman Tells N.Y. Dems to Vote Crowley
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) are among House Democrats speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter complaints didn’t do any good. Even though she scored an upset victory over Rep. Joe Crowley in the New York Democratic Party’s June primary, his name is still going to be on the 14th Congressional District’s November ballot.


Ocasio-Cortez demanded Crowley answer her phone calls so she could hear his congratulations and concession, and move on to win the November general election in NY-14. But she won the primary, right? Maybe she’s just being paranoid?

Maybe not.

Joe Lieberman wants NY-14 Democrats to “Vote Joe Crowley, for Working Families.”

In a scathing op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, the former Democratic senator who turned independent wrote that putting Ocasio-Cortez in Congress would only “make it harder for Congress to stop fighting and start fixing problems.”

“Thanks to a small percentage of primary voters, all of the people of New York’s 14th Congressional District stand to lose a very effective representative in Washington,” Lieberman also wrote.

Lieberman opined that Ocasio-Cortez’s adoption of the Democratic Socialists of America platform is wrong for America.

“Her dreams of new federal spending would bankrupt the country or require very large tax increases, including on the working class,” Lieberman added. “Her approach foresees government ownership of many private companies, which would decimate the economy and put millions out of work.”

The Working Families Party endorsed Crowley before anyone outside the district heard of Ocasio-Cortez. Under New York election law, the Democrat’s name may not be on his party’s general election ballot, but it will be on the WFP ballot. And there’s nothing anyone can do about it, sans Crowley’s approval.

There was no immediate comment on the Lieberman op-ed from the Ocasio-Cortez camp. But isn’t this just what her supporters and the Working Families Party were afraid would happen?


Bill Lipton, state director of the Working Families Party, told the New York Times he asked the Crowley campaign to vacate their candidate’s place on the WFP ballot immediately after Ocasio-Cortez declared victory. Crowley’s people rejected the idea.

And then there’s this: Ocasio-Cortez said her people have tried three different times to call Crowley so he could formally concede to the socialist Democrat over the phone. All three times he was, shall we say, indisposed?

Ocasio-Cortez blew her social media stack. She accused Crowley of engineering a third-party challenge against her, the Democratic Party, and “against the will” of the New York Working Families Party.

Since she chose Twitter as her battlefield of choice, Crowley answered back with a tweet.

“Alexandria, the race is over and Democrats need to come together,” Crowley tweeted. “I’ve made my support for you clear and the fact that I’m not running. We’ve scheduled phone calls and your team has not followed through. I’d like to connect but I’m not willing to air grievances on Twitter.”

It’s not like Crowley can just pull out an eraser and eliminate his name from the November Working Families Party ballot line. The WFP endorsed Crowley over Ocasio-Cortez. It’s up to the WFP to erase Crowley’s name. But as Vox reported, the New York Working Families Party can’t eliminate Crowley from its 14th Congressional District ballot without first offering him another slot in the November election.

That is possible. The New York Times reported the WFP could nominate Crowley for an elective position that he doesn’t have a chance of winning, like a county job out in the sticks, somewhere the WFP has very little support. But Crowley would have to accept the change. And that’s going to happen, right?


If he dies, is convicted of a crime, or moves out of NYC, Crowley could also be removed from the WFP ballot, but he would not agree to any of those alternatives, either.

“It’s very quirky,” Jerry H. Goldfeder, an election lawyer and an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, told the Times. “It demonstrates how the various minor parties sometimes have inordinate control over the way the ballot looks, and that causes confusion in the electorate.”

Just for the record, Crowley’s campaign stressed, “Joe Crowley is a Democrat. He’s made it clear he is not running for Congress and supports the Democratic nominee in NY-14.”

And this should also go on the record: when the WFP asked Crowley to make the switch, he declined. So Crowley’s name will remain on the Working Families Party’s November ballot.

Crowley may have sung the Springsteen classic “Born to Run” and dedicated it to her on primary election night, but Ocasio-Cortez used the dust-up to encourage her supporters to donate early and often.

“So much for ‘Born to Run’. If you want to see me in Congress, we need your help now more than ever. We cannot underestimate the power of dark money,” she tweeted.

The New York Post’s editorial board warned Ocasio-Cortez to do a better job of accepting victory and to not keep hounding Crowley.

“If Ocasio-Cortez keeps this up, she’s merely adding to the protest vote that Crowley will receive come Nov. 6,” the Post editorial board wrote.

The continuing clash between Ocasio-Cortez and Congressman Crowley is not without a touch of irony. It turns out Ocasio-Cortez won another election in July, a race that she wasn’t even trying to win.


Write-in voters, nine of them in all, gave Ocasio-Cortez the victory on the Reform Party’s ballot in the 15th Congressional District. Refusing to pull a Crowley, though, Ocasio-Cortez politely declined to serve in NY-15, should she win that election in November against Republican Anthony Pappas, a St. John’s University professor.

“Shockingly — and I’m told this is not a joke — we have ALSO won a primary in the neighboring 15th Congressional District via write-in campaign on the Reform line!” she tweeted. “While I am honored that so many Bronxites are excited about our campaign, I will remain the Dem nominee for NY-14.”

Join the conversation as a VIP Member