ON THE RISE?

Democratic Socialists of America Membership Surges After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Stunning Victory

The day after the self-described democratic socialist unseated a long-serving Democratic congressman on Tuesday, DSA experienced a membership surge 35 times larger than normal.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

The ramifications of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning primary defeat of longtime Queens Democratic boss and Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) extend well beyond the confines of Capitol Hill.

The 28-year-old member of Democratic Socialists of America—who shockingly won in New York’s 14th congressional district on a leftist platform of Medicare for All, abolishing ICE, and a federal jobs guarantee—inspired a major boost in membership for the organization on Wednesday.

According to Lawrence Dreyfuss, a program associate for DSA, the organization saw a surge of 1,152 new memberships on Wednesday—about 35 times more sign-ups than on an average day.

The last major membership bump DSA experienced was in the month following President Trump’s election, during which time they had about six times more sign-ups than in the previous month.

DSA has undergone a renaissance of sorts in the Trump era, ballooning in size from some 5,000 members in November 2016 to 40,000 nationwide.

The left-wing group’s growth has been attributed in part to broader resistance to the new administration and wider acceptability of the “democratic socialist” label championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

“The people of NY-14 demanded more from its representative than empty promises and deep pockets,” Christian Bowe of DSA’s National Political Committee said after Ocasio’s win. “We’re proud of this victory, and we know this is only one of many more to come.”

DSA members themselves had begun winning elections, primarily on the state level, prior to Ocasio-Cortez. Among those who’ve achieved political success in the past year are Lee Carter, elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017, and Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato, who both defeated long-term incumbent Democrats in Pennsylvania.