AOC is the Future of Politics

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Ståle Grut

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), or AOC, was just 29 when she was elected to the House of Representatives from New York’s 14th congressional district and became the youngest woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.
Despite being heavily outspent by her opponent (a 10-term male incumbent), she captured the imagination of a country increasingly polarized along political, economic, and racial lines.
According to an INSIDER poll, after just two months in office, Ocasio-Cortez was 15 times more well-known than the longest-serving congressional Republican. She also garnered international fame, with news sources all around the world covering her journey. AOC is even on Trump’s radar. The President went so far as to call her a “wack job,” signaling that he is, in fact, uncomfortable with the power she has accrued in Congress, as many other conservatives are.
AOC has been using social media, especially Twitter, to share her policies and vision for the country. This tactic is similar to President Trump’s in that it uses Twitter to communicate directly with the people. However, in contrast to President Trump’s frequently controversial and personal use of the platform, most of AOC’s posts on social media promote policy ideas that she believes will be beneficial to her district and the country. And it seems to be working to her advantage, as she currently has 6 million Twitter followers and 4 million Instagram followers.
Her pointed remarks in Congress when interviewing people attract millions of views on YouTube. One such video, entitled “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls out Trump in five-minute corruption game,” has over 2.6 million views. However, President Trump is not her only target; she isn’t afraid to call out both sides of the aisle – Republican or Democrat. In May 2019, she called out Democratic leaders who didn’t move to impeach the President for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Recently, she slammed Mayor Pete Buttigieg over an advertisement in which he criticized tuition-free college.
But while her lightning-quick rebuttals are entertaining and exciting, it is her invigorating ideas that get people talking. She has been called a “radical” by her political opponents, but she has embraced the term, turning its negative connotation on its head and even asking people to “call her a radical” in a 60 Minutes interview.
Her Green New Deal, a ten-year plan that calls for the U.S. to “greatly reduce carbon emissions in the U.S. and plans to source 100 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable and zero-emissions power,” tackles not only climate change but economic inequality. In it, the government would provide “job training and provide new economic development for communities that heavily rely on fossil fuels for jobs.”
The first-term Congresswoman is finding out that change comes slowly and with difficulty, however. In March, the Senate blocked the Green New Deal. But there is still hope. This deal has sparked ideas from Republicans, such as Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who proposed the “New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy.” The number of Americans who believe climate change is an important issue is on the rise. According to a poll by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 80% of Americans believe in climate change and 4 out of 10 believe it’s a crisis.
Coming from a lower-income background herself, income inequality is one of her major concerns, and she plans to deal with it through taxation — specifically by levying higher taxes on the wealthy. Her stances on different political issues have often been labeled as very leftist and dismissed as “socialist,” but a different approach might be needed in this day and age.
Knock Down the House, a recent Netflix documentary, followed the journey of several female candidates running for Congress, one of whom was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Out of the four female candidates, she was the only one to win, arousing national attention when she beat longtime congressman and incumbent Joseph Crowley. The documentary is hopeful, however, implying that, in order for one woman to win, many have to try. By recruiting these underrepresented voices to Congress, our government will hopefully be able to represent the country’s increasingly diverse demographics.
AOC is innovative, radical, quick-witted, refreshing and, quite frankly, the change that today’s United States government needs. She isn’t afraid to address the problems that many of our representatives avoid in order to stay in power.