Culture

The Democratic Party Is Exhausting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.

Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez weary of politics? Not exactly. It’s the Democratic Party itself that’s bogging down the progressive left pioneer, who was just re-elected to her second term.

“I’m serious when I tell people the odds of me running for higher office and the odds of me just going off trying to start a homestead somewhere–they’re probably the same,” she told the New York Times.

In the interview, released yesterday, AOC conveys the difficulties of her first term. “The last two years have been pretty hostile,” she said.

While she’s got fellow progressive leaders Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressly, and Rashida Tlaib as her Squad, the rest of the Democratic party isn’t so friendly. AOC has, since her 2016 campaign, famously battled with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and the challenges from her and other centrists remain.

In fact, the chasm between the two expanded bigger as 2020 election results rolled in, as many Democrats, most expected to win, ultimately lost their congressional seats to Republicans.

Progressives are to blame, some Dems have not-so-kindly suggested. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, defeated in Florida, along with Abigail Spanberger, who was re-elected by a narrow margin in Virginia, are just a few who’ve implied or said directly that the progressive left’s causes–the Green New Deal, the Movement for Black Lives (MBL), and defunding the police, among others–have made the party an easy target for mockery from Republicans.

AOC countered this, though, in her interview, noting that “progressive policies do not hurt Democratic candidates,” pointing out Green New Deal and Medicare for All supporters who, even in swing districts, retained their positions.

“Externally, we’ve been winning,” AOC said. “Externally, there’s been a ton of support, but internally, it’s been extremely hostile to anything that even smells progressive.”

The Democratic Party should “sit down and work together” with them, she added.

The exasperation, however, is strong–AOC’s offers to help candidates in swing states were turned down by all but five people. (And those five ended up winning, she noted.)

She’s and her colleagues are not the enemy, she stressed.

“This isn’t even just about winning an argument,” she said. “It’s that if they keep going after the wrong thing, I mean, they’re just setting up their own obsolescence.”