Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked everyone last night with her huge upset the in New York’s 14th congressional district primary. The 28-year-old newcomer unseated Democrat Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent and one of the more powerful old guards of the party. Not only that, headlines screamed, she was a socialist.
She was outspent 18-to-1 and Congressman Crowley didn’t even bother to show up to two of the debates. By giving her something to push against, her supporters found purpose and Alexandria brought them along for the ride.
Here campaign video is powerful and gives me hope because it lays out a vision which is one that has been missing. She speaks to her voters because she is one of them in a way that the establishment is not.
We’ve all seen the “my story” candidate ads (some of which are powerful and mold-breaking). But there was something decidedly different, intoxicatingly defiant but also accessible in this film. The aforementioned, fleeting hallmarks of empathy and authenticity are everywhere in this work. For all the talk of storytelling, the little more than two minutes in the film is a master class in compacting passion, honesty and, yes, empathy and authenticity into a compelling package. Ocasio-Cortez isn’t merely telling her story; she’s telling everyone’s story in the district.
One could very easily deconstruct the tight copy, the beautiful film craft, the pacing leading to an anthemic crescendo, the excellent structure. Yes, there are the trappings of political ads, but what makes this ad special is that there isn’t a full-service ad agency behind it. Ocasio-Cortez wrote it, and she relied on volunteers to coordinate the shoot and real people, including the candidate’s campaign workers, are present throughout.