One day in mid-June, Cori Bush, a nurse and activist mounting a progressive primary challenge against a well-established Democratic congressman in Missouri, took a look at her fundraising totals.
She had raised $9 during the previous 24 hours.
On the evening of 26 June, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated the Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley in her own congressional primary in New York, Bush looked again. She had raised $2,000 in three hours. On 27 June, when Ocasio-Cortez mentioned Bush in a tweet, she raised $8,000.
“When Alex won, that changed everything,” Bush said.
“First of all, it gave us a new boost and it helped to revitalize us, and then immediately that national attention came to the race.”
The victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former Bernie Sanders surrogate, over Crowley, the 10-term Democrat who had been tipped as the next minority leader of the House, sparked a heated debate about the direction of the Democratic party. Ocasio-Cortez has since shot to national prominence, calling for single-payer healthcare, the abolishing of the immigration enforcement agency, Ice, and campaigning alongside Sanders for candidates across the country.
On 21 July, Ocasio-Cortez will appear with Bush at a rally in St Louis. As Bush looks to topple Lacy Clay, who has served in the House of Representatives for 17 years, she says one of the most important things Ocasio-Cortez has done is prove it’s possible for a progressive newcomer to beat an established opponent.