Has AOC Lost The Cool Factor?: After nearly five years in Congress, has Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez become just a regular, ‘boring’ sort of Democrat? What place does her style of politics have in today’s political alignment? AOC talked about both in a new interview with the New York Times.
AOC: Now Just a Boring Democrat?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) charged into politics back in 2018, knocking off a longtime Democratic incumbent to enter Congress from a New York City district.
The youngest member of Congress for a time, AOC was part of the leftist coterie known as “The Squad,” which angered the political right regularly and the more centrist parts of their own party nearly as often.
She has made news in recent months when Fox News tried to make hay of the Congresswoman holding student debt while calling for cancellation of such debt, even though AOC has always been open about that. Also this month, Ocasio-Cortez raised an issue not discussed in American politics: The ineffectiveness of the sort of sunscreen sold in the United States.
A New York magazine article earlier this month, noting that AOC had endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket while appearing on the establishment and not particularly leftist podcast Pod Save America, accused her of being “Just a Regular Old Democrat Now.”
There is currently a Democratic president who is not from the same faction of the Democratic Party as Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and the other squad members. However the left faction of the party has had some success in getting the Administration to incorporate some of their ideas.
The Congresswoman talked about those issues, and more, in a new interview with the New York Times Wednesday. She was asked how she has changed since first arriving in Washington.
“I think I have a sense of steadiness and confidence in what I’m doing. My election was characterized by so much upheaval, both nationally and personally. We were in a time of great political upheaval when President Trump was elected. The Democratic Party at that time was kind of lost in many ways. We were in transition between an older party and a newer one, in terms of where we were coming from ideologically,” AOC said.
She was also asked if she now sees herself as an insider, considering she is a highly-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.
“I mean, on a certain level, once you are engaged as a legislator, you are on the inside. That is a function of the role. And that grants myself or anyone else in a similar position the tools to be able to translate this outside energy into internal change,” she said.
The Congresswoman was also asked about that New York magazine story, as well as a rebuttal, in the same magazine, stating that AOC’s faction of the Democratic Party has succeeded in pushing the Biden Administration and the party leftward.
“Part of it is because we haven’t really had a political presence like this in the United States before,” AOC told the Times. “I think very often you had this consummate insider that was bankrolled by corporate money and advancing this, frankly, very neoliberal agenda. And those were the people that we were used to seeing in power. And so I think over time there’s been an inherent association between power, ascent and quote-unquote selling out.”
The Times also asked AOC about the time she teamed up with the conservative, Trump-associated Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), to push a bill, not passed thus far, that would ban members of Congress from trading stocks. She was asked if she and the Florida Congressman are now friends.
“I think that is a generous characterization. I’d also like to add that the Republican lead on that legislation is Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, a moderate Republican. And you know, I think many of us worked very hard on this legislation because it speaks to a secondary or maybe a third-dimensional cleave in both parties,” she said.
In the interview, she also discussed her recent visit to Latin America, she ripped Gov. Ron DeSantis for suggesting an invasion of Mexico, and her plans to visit the border.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
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