Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is redefining politics

Graphics+by+Olivia+Braito

Olivia Braito, Graphics Manager

Graphics by Olivia Braito

Ben Borrok, Senior Writer

If the 2016 election and its aftermath taught us anything, it was that the Democratic party was in desperate need of a facelift. The strategies of the past were not working, as the fate of the country fell into the hands of President Donald Trump. Despite Democrats reassuring themselves that Hillary Clinton and her boring, centrist policies would win, they missed an opportunity to fully listen to the people. Enter New York’s own: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

 

Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old congresswoman from the Bronx, N.Y. is a legitimate mouthpiece for the people. She is still paying off student loans, she could not afford rent before becoming a congresswoman, and she has never held an elected office before this run. The reality today is that most millennials are in the same shoes and find it incredibly refreshing to have a candidate who can truly understand their position. For too long, our generation’s concerns have been swept under the rug by older groups who have failed to implement wide policy changes; the leading members of both parties have continued to profit while letting the world burn, both literally and metaphorically. They have never been held accountable for their actions, but the world is changing.

 

The idea that being online was a waste of time has become a thing of the past. With the introduction of Twitter and other social media platforms, the masses are more aware of Congress’ ineffectiveness. Ocasio-Cortez has used social media and the frustration of her constituents to her advantage, calling out fellow Congress members online and retweeting important information related to her policies. Her social media presence has demonstrated how popular her policies are with Americans. She is the number one talking point on every Fox News show, with each host attempting to paint her in a bad light.

 

What makes Ocasio-Cortez truly special is that she has not folded in her beliefs at the first sight of lobbyists in Washington. She has made it clear that her aspirations will not be compromised by Big Pharma, the Gas and Oil PACS, or the College Loan companies. She is here to do right by the constituents that elected her, as well as her millions of supporters around the country. This determination was most recently shown in her reaction to the State of the Union Address, where she refused to stand and clap for Trump’s declaration of bipartisanship. Ocasio-Cortez, like the rest of us, knows that Trump’s words usually do not match his actions and refused to play into Washington’s false politeness trap.

 

While her policies are bold and may not be entirely achievable in the short term, Ocasio-Cortez has already had a large impact on the political climate. Democrats have tried to adopt watered down versions of her policies, but it is clear that the people are catching on. For too long, we have been told that Medicare for all, taxing the rich, and aggressive climate change deals would not work, despite widespread popularity for them. Democrats may have lost touch with the youth, but Ocasio-Cortez could be their guiding light–and she is not taking no for an answer.

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