'I don't think you can go too far to the left and still win the Midwest': Duckworth on Ocasio-Cortez's strategy

Duckworth doesn't know if Ocasio-Cortez's strategy would work nationwide.

July 2, 2018, 10:48 PM

A few days after Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., commented on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's upset victory, other established figures in the party voiced concerns that what worked locally may not translate as well nationally.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., added to the conversation on Sunday by suggesting that what worked in the Bronx for Ocasio-Cortez may not work nationwide.

"I don't think you can go too far to the left and still win the Midwest," Duckworth said on CNN's "State of the Union." "Coming from a midwestern state, I think you need to be able to talk to the industrial Midwest. You need to be able to listen to the people there in order to win an election nationwide."

Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter not much later, touting the midwestern states that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., won in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

However, Sanders' margin of victory varied widely among those states.

He won the Kansas primary by almost 35 percent, but only by a little more than 1 percent in Michigan. And in Nebraska, although Sanders won the Democratic caucus, which determined how the state's delegates would be awarded, he lost the actual primary to Hillary Clinton.

Ocasio-Cortez also spoke to the generalizability of her strategy on NBC's "Meet the Press," saying, "I think that there are a lot of districts in this country that are like New York 14 that have changed a lot in the last 20 years and whose representation has not."

While New York Board of Elections has not yet released its demographic data, researchers at City University of New York found Ocasio-Cortez's strongest turnout was in gentrifying areas of Queens, a trend found in other congressional primaries in the city.

Duckworth also offered a more positive take on the young nominee and her strategy.

"She did the hard work," Duckworth said on CNN. "She pounded the pavement and she was out there talking to every one of her constituents, and I think that was the difference."