'We can determine our destiny here': AOC charts a course for Democratic midterm success
United States Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat from New York, believes that her party's chances of prevailing in November's midterm elections are slipping away unless President Joe Biden decides to act boldly to energize the vast young voter bloc.
In a wide-ranging interview with New York Magazine's Intelligencer, the second-term Congresswoman explained that she has noticed a seismic shift in the status quo nature of politics during her three years in office.
"As a younger member of Congress, the first vote I ever cast was for Barack Obama, who was called a socialist and all of this stuff. All of this rhetoric that we see today has been the political reality my entire life. And so I never felt a nostalgia for something that never existed in my lifetime,” she told correspondent Errol Louis. “I feel like our politics has fundamentally changed — whether it’s for better or for worse is for people’s determination — but I was never under the illusion that we can bring Manchin along.”
Ocasio-Cortez said that Biden was screwed over by Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the most conservative Democrats in the upper chamber who torpedoed the president's Build Back Better legislation.
“I have the utmost respect and confidence in the president, but I just felt like we called two different plays on this one,” she said. “I think that there is a sense among more senior members of Congress, who have been around in different political times, that we can get back to this time of buddy-buddy and backslapping and we’ll cut a deal and go into a room with some bourbon and some smoke and you’ll come out and work something out. I think there’s a real nostalgia and belief that that time still exists or that we can get back to that.”
Biden's floundering poll numbers, coupled with the Senate's 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans, means that the president is the only person in Washington who has the power and the authority to fire up his party's increasingly frustrated base. Ocasio-Cortez laid out exactly what she thinks Biden must do to salvage his party's prospects.
First, AOC said that Democrats "need to acknowledge that this isn’t just about middle of the road, an increasingly narrow band of independent voters. This is really about the collapse of support among young people, among the Democratic base, who are feeling that they worked overtime to get this president elected and aren’t necessarily being seen."
Therefore, she added, “if the president does pursue and start to govern decisively using executive action and other tools at his disposal, I think we’re in the game. But if we decide to just kind of sit back for the rest of the year and not change people’s lives — yeah, I do think we’re in trouble. So I don’t think that it’s set in stone. I think that we can determine our destiny here.”
- Press response to 'Tax the Rich' dress proves AOC's point - Alternet ... ›
- Noam Chomsky, AOC slam the failures of 'neoliberal' economics ... ›
- AOC: 'When you don't change people's lives, people get upset ... ›