Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman legislator has now become the manifestation of the Democratic Party’s vision. She has become the talk of the nation and is arguably the second most talked-of politician in the United States after the President himself. How did this unlikely rise come about?
With the Presidential Elections set in November, more than the tussle between President Donald Trump and Democrat nominee Joe Biden, people seem to be more fascinated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Capitol Hill has now become a place that draws fans as well. It’s almost every few minutes that a fan walks in Ocasio-Cortez’s Capitol Hill office. Her fans are increasing by the day. They mostly come to leave notes and offerings for the newest Wonder Woman of the Left.
However, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not just that. She has had to face her share of challenges as well. During her initial months as a Congresswoman, she faced several life-threats in Capitol Hill. If she’s a Wonder Woman for the Left, she’s also a Wicked Witch of the political Right. Since she beat the ten-term incumbent Crowley to become the representative of the 14th district, New York, last year, she has pressured many politicians, businessmen and so on. This has made her a target figure of the Right. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez mentions that she had to train all her guards to perform risk assessments of fans or visitors to safeguard herself from any tragic incident.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Twitter Following Surges
The interesting thing to note about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is her fan following. It’s not often that a politician has her amount of following in social media platforms. Her activity in the Capitol Hill has permeated through those gates to reach the hearts of people. Presently, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Twitter following stands at 3.5 million which was only 49,000 last June. Thousands of people across the globe watch AOC pot houseplants or make her favorite black-bean soup on Live Instagram. She even tweeted to announce the name of her signature lipstick, Beso by Stila. The next moment, it was sold out from all online sites.
She is the only lawmaker in the recent past who is known to translate a handful of votes into an immense political and social campaign. Rep. AOC has made her mark with the introduction of the Green New Deal. The wonder woman persistently pressurizes the candidates of the 2020 Presidential Elections to support this Congressional resolution which lays out a grand plan to tackle climate change. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become the voice of the present, the youth. She’s a young Hispanic woman so she fulfills the three pillars of the Democratic Party’s electoral politics.
Standing at the brink of the collapse of people’s confidence in Capitalism, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Twitter promotes Democratic socialism. Her policies and campaigns like the Green New Deal, the guarantee of Federal jobs, Medicare for All, the abolishment of the ICE- all speak for a new time, a fresh generation with new hope. Rep. Cortez can definitely be termed as the best storyteller in the Democratic Party since the departure of President Barack Obama from the US political scenario and arguably a potent champion against President Trump.
This bartender-turned-Congresswoman made the reforms in Campaign-finance go viral on the Internet, worked with activists to banish Amazon from the Queens with the help of a few tweets and has many interrogations and hearings with big-shot businessmen where she has confidently proved her point. These clips of the Congress hearings go viral on the Internet within minutes. She is the new Hillary Clinton of the US punching Republican lawmakers and Fox News pundits hard to bring about phenomenal change within and out of Capitol Hill.
The political career of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken an upward curve for sure but the Congresswoman recollects that she’s still trying to understand the ways of this office. This being her first full-time job, Ocasio-Cortez reminisces the time she could go outside of her office in the public and lead a normal life without being noticed by people.
The fresh legislator also has to face the brunt of her political campaigns. Being a vocal Democratic Socialist has its downside as well. Since September 2019, many public opinion polls like a Gallup poll have shown that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a majority of 41% people against her with only 31% people favoring her. The same survey has also pointed out that her popularity has increased among Democrats and minority communities. Her political campaigns and policies are tilted on the political Left. Though the Green New Deal doesn’t seem likely to be translated as a law any time soon, she has surely established her alignment in front of the US to suffer such political detestation among conservatives and the White establishment.
Democrats Worry About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Growing Popularity
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s fame is not only a cause of worry among the right. Many Democrats also resent her popularity and celebration. House Democrats worry that her campaigns will overshadow the long-term efforts of the Democrats to reach the moderate voters who have, for a long time, driven the Party to win a majority.
This is mostly because of her vocal nature and her political outlook. She threatens to impede the status quo. By bringing in socialist policies publicized by Bernie Sanders in 2016, like Tuition-free college and educational institutes and Medicare for All, she neglects the primary concern of all or other Democrats and Republicans: Votes and seats. Rather than winning seats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seems to be driven by the urge to win hearts and make change. She brings in a youthful vibrancy to the dull hearings of Capitol Hill.
As a lawmaker, her legislation is the main focus rather than the complexities of politics which hold back most of the other lawmakers of the US. Her political vision is a broad one. She doesn’t work to maintain her Party’s future in the upcoming years rather to set the agenda of the Democratic Party for the upcoming decades. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez mentions that she’s introducing bills keeping 2025 or the next generation in mind.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And The Democratic Party- A “Generational Difference”
The issue of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez with the long-standing Democratic lawmakers and politicians is not her progressive policies but that she is constantly highlighting the Party’s old versus the new, the past versus the present whereby she is the voice of the present, a wonder figure who is trying to reform the past ideological holdings to become more progressive and contemporary.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mentions that the division within her Party is not due to ideological differences but owing to generational differences. She elaborates saying that the America she grew up in is vastly different from its previous centuries. So a fresher take on things is imperative. And that is what has led to her fame and popularity in such a short span of time.
Her take on politics clashes with the Party that spent the last decade following the footsteps of leaders like Clinton and Obama who were incrementalists in their politics, unlike Rep. Ocasio-Cortez who has a knack for making huge leaps.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: A Short Biography
Born in 1989, AOC has lived through significant transition phases in the history of the US. In 1989, George W Bush was in the first year of his Presidency and Nancy Pelosi was just introduced into Congress. The prominent political figures had just started with their electoral races when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was growing up in the Bronx.
While in elementary school she watched Bill Clinton on television speaking about balancing the budget during the time of financial prosperity in America. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez mentions that the previous generation has known a different face of America. But her generation has never experienced American prosperity during adulthood. This is the generation that is now the majority of voters in America.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez never had an elite background. Born into a working-class family in Parkchester, Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez was not unknown to the horrors of the economic crisis. She learned very early in her life that ZIP codes determined a child’s destiny in the US. Her family shifted to the better neighborhood of Westchester County of Yorktown Heights so the Cortez kids can have better education.
As a teenager, Ocasio-Cortez suffered a big blow in her life. She was in sophomore year when she learned that her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died in 2008 which sucked the family into severe financial troubles. The family moved back to the Bronx and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez started working for a nonprofit organization. She had other gigs as well. Starting from a bartender job to a taco joint, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to maintain three or four jobs at a time to manage bills.
As a representative of the Congress, she mentioned that it’s no wonder that millenials want to separate their employment status from their insurance status. The coupling of the two doesn’t make sense in a nation driven by the gig culture. In such a culture, people never have a full-time job. It’s always two or three gigs together to keep yourself together. Financial security is not the American reality, mentions Cortez who herself has lived her life from one paycheck to another.
The Student Loan Crisis Of America
Starting from the healthcare system to the educational loan system, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has had a taste of every American reality before she started her full-time office job as a Congresswoman. For her health insurance plan, she had to pay about $200 per month even amidst her family’s immense crisis. As for student loans, the country is steeped in student loan debts with over 44 million Americans with pending educational loan repayments. Ocasio-Cortez also had a student loan of $25,000 which stands up to $300 monthly payment. As a representative of the Congress, Ocasio-Cortez mentions that student loans are holding back their entire economy. An entire generation is not investing in houses or properties and the entire circle of the economy has been stifled by the crippling issue of students’ loans.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Enters Politics During College
The Congresswoman has been interested in politics since college. She interned in Senator Ted Kennedy’s office. But her major interest developed after Bernie Sanders introduced his 2016 campaigns. She worked at a grassroots level in Queens and Bronx to promote his campaigns. After that, she moved from a community organization to an electoral organization. When Trump won the elections for the first time, she went on a “transformational trip” to the Standing Rock. The trip led her to visit a lead-poisoned city.
This was the first time that she understood the importance and need for different climate-related policies and acts in the Government. She helped the community to fight against the government-backed project of constructing an oil pipeline there. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reported that she came back from the trip a changed person. She became more galvanized, understanding the need of the hour, more open to bringing change and taking considerable risks. Plus, when she was driving back from the trip, she got an unexpected call asking her to run for Congress.
After this, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s career took a jump-cut to success and fame. But she has always been the person in the Cortez family who watched her beloved family struggle through serious financial troubles.
She has been closely associated with the ‘Brand New Congress,’ a group formed by former staff members of Bernie Sanders to gather together working-class leaders. The group filed 11,000 nominations and one such nomination was of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez herself forwarded by her brother Gabriel. The nomination letter described how she was the perfect member of the family to be a part of the Brand New Congress, a person aware of the American reality with a fresh and active outlook.
As children of recession, Americans are increasingly becoming more inclined towards Democratic Socialism. A Harvard poll has found Americans moving left on every issue that rigs the system currently.
The DSA endorsed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands at a juncture where she wants a merger between electoral and movemental politics but the rest of her party, let alone the country is not ready for such a change.