Knock Down the House: A Documentary on Courageous Women and Their Political Campaigns

Knock Down the House is a political documentary that follows four working-class women who challenged incumbents in the 2018 Democratic Party primaries in the United States. The film portrays the stories of four women - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin, and Amy Vilela - who were inspired to run for office, despite having no prior experience in politics. Directed by Rachel Lears, Knock Down the House depicts the hard-fought campaigns of these women who were determined to make a difference in their communities.

Apr 6, 2023 - 08:24
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Knock Down the House: A Documentary on Courageous Women and Their Political Campaigns

Background:

Knock Down the House premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2019 and was released on Netflix in May of the same year. The film was widely praised for its inspiring and powerful message, which resonated with audiences across the political spectrum. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's campaign, in particular, has been credited with inspiring a new wave of political activism, particularly among young people.

The Four Women: The documentary follows the stories of four women who ran for office in 2018.

  1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, was a 28-year-old bartender from the Bronx when she decided to run for Congress against incumbent Joe Crowley. AOC's campaign focused on progressive policies such as Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and criminal justice reform. Despite being significantly outspent by Crowley, AOC's grassroots campaign ultimately won her the seat, making her the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress.

  2. Cori Bush: Cori Bush was a registered nurse and Black Lives Matter activist when she decided to challenge incumbent William Lacy Clay in Missouri's 1st congressional district. Bush's campaign focused on issues such as police brutality, criminal justice reform, and affordable housing. Despite being outspent by Clay, Bush's campaign was successful, making her the first black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.

  3. Paula Jean Swearengin: Paula Jean Swearengin was a coal miner's daughter from West Virginia who decided to run against incumbent Joe Manchin in the Democratic primary for the United States Senate. Swearengin's campaign focused on the negative impact of coal mining on the environment and public health, and she was endorsed by progressive groups such as the Sierra Club and Our Revolution. Although she did not ultimately win the primary, Swearengin's campaign brought attention to important environmental issues in her state.

  4. Amy Vilela: Amy Vilela was a healthcare advocate and small business owner from Nevada who decided to run for Congress in Nevada's 4th congressional district after her daughter died from a treatable medical condition. Vilela's campaign focused on healthcare reform and economic justice, and she was endorsed by groups such as Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress. Although she did not win the primary, Vilela's campaign brought attention to important issues related to healthcare and the struggles faced by small business owners.

Impact:

Knock Down the House has been credited with inspiring a new wave of political activism, particularly among young people. The documentary highlights the importance of grassroots organizing and the power of ordinary citizens to effect change in their communities. The campaigns of the four women featured in the film have also had a lasting impact on American politics, with AOC in particular becoming a major figure in the Democratic Party.

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Conclusion:

Knock Down the House is a powerful documentary that highlights the stories of four courageous women who dared to challenge the status quo and run for office. Their inspiring campaigns remind us of the importance of political engagement and the power of ordinary citizens to effect change in their communities.