Has AOC Softened From Her Radical Beliefs – And Did She Ever Have Them? – If a (realistic) sequel were made to the 1939 film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” the title character would no longer be so naïve, and his idealism would likely be washed away by the acceptance that it is impossible to drain the swamp. Instead of fighting corruption and seeking to change the system, he’d likely become just another cog in the machine.
“Mr. Smith” would make the rounds on talk shows, criticizing those on the other side of the aisle, while he’d also attend high-profile gatherings only to quickly dismiss calls that he is a sell-out. Perhaps he’d serve a few terms in office, maybe write a book or two, and then settle into a K Street office – where the money really rolls in.
In many ways, we’re probably watching that sequel to “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” play out in real-time, only it just happens to be starring Democratic Socialist Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
She arrived on the scene ready to shake things up.
“Billed as a Democratic Socialist, she fiercely criticizes big corporations for their purported greed and oppression of working class Americans. She claimed online that retail giant Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made billions because he paid his workers starvation wages and denied them health-care benefits,” wrote The Center Square contributor William Haupt III in May. “Every chapter in AOC’s playbook is an updated rehash of Lenin’s bible, ‘Revolution at the Gates.’ AOC believes by taxing the wealthiest Americans by as much as 75%, and giving it to those that have less, this forced wealth equality will solve most all racial and U.S. socioeconomic problems.”
Haupt further noted that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has advocated for tuition-free public college and free health care, which would be paid for by “the rich;” while her Green New Deal, if it was implemented, would result in eliminating all carbon emissions from America by 2030.
AOC – Has She Changed Anything Or Did She Change?
As CurrentAffairs.org also reported, “AOC has said that she sought to bring about change within the Democratic Party.”
Change is coming, but so is Christmas!
That is because it could be argued that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t so much changed the party, as the party has changed her. The reality of what can be accomplished in the corridors of power in Washington, D.C. are likely becoming a reality – more so since the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives after the election last year.
CurrentAffairs.org quoted political theorist Benjamin Studebaker’s 2023 book “The Chronic Crisis of American Democracy: The Way is Shut,” in which he noted, “What happens when a political movement is strong enough to win a handful of elections in fringe congressional districts, but not strong enough to produce anything like a governing majority? Its politicians have to find some way of appearing effective. They slowly shift the goalposts. They quietly abandon their transformative policy goals and instead offer their supporters the satisfaction of symbolic victories. Instead of fighting for big legislation, they fight to embarrass their opponents on television and on Twitter. They make viral videos. They work with the center of the party, because working with the center is the only way to win even small victories. They talk those petty victories up and present them as grand triumphs.”
The news outlet further suggested, “AOC is the 10th most popular politician according to YouGov, and she’s one of the most popular politicians on social media, with 13.4 million followers on Twitter and 8.6 million on Instagram.”
In other words, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is a celebrity – but AOC has become the sort of celebrity who is now famous for being famous rather than for actual accomplishments.
Of course, the right has its share of political celebrities as well, including Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, whose only accomplishments seem to be proof that passing an IQ test should be a requirement for higher office (but perhaps it is voters who need the pass the IQ test given the recent officials we’ve elected).
This perhaps is a reflection of the state of our politics and explains why we’re so deeply divided.
There is no denying that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez had honest beliefs that she could shake things up in D.C., but unlike Mr. Smith, she’s also likely realized you can’t change the system.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.