Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is known in the United States by her initials AOC, is a United States congresswoman. AOC was born in the Bronx, New York. She is the daughter of Blanca Ocasio-Cortez and Sergio Ocasio, both of Puerto Rican descent.
He studied Economics and International Relations at the Boston University College of Arts and Sciences. Her father died when she was in her second year of college.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez worked at a taqueria during her college career, while her mother cleaned houses and drove school buses to support herself after the death of Alexandria’s father. As a consequence of the death of her father, Alexandria, she was involved in a tough legal battle to claim her inheritance, since he did not leave any will. She has stated that this experience helped her understand “firsthand how court-appointed attorneys to manage an estate can enrich themselves at the expense of families struggling to understand red tape.”
With financial support from the business incubator, Alexandria establishes a publishing company specializing in children’s literature, Book Avenue Press. This editorial seeks to represent the Bronx in a positive way. Alexandria has also worked as an educator at the NGO National Hispanic Institute and as a senior education strategist at GAGEis Inc.
During her last years at Boston University, she was an intern in the immigration office of Senator Ted Kennedy. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez graduated with honors with a BA in Economics and International Relations from Boston University in 2011.
Her political career
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is part of the Democratic Socialists of America movement and has worked with the support of various progressive movements in the United States.
In 2016, Alexandria worked as an organizer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. After the general elections, she travels around the United States by car learning about the needs and social struggles of diverse communities such as Flint, Michigan and the Standing Rock reservation.
Knowing all this process and seeing the social struggles for human rights, Alexandria feels the need to participate in politics and in 2018 she runs for the mid-term elections for the United States Congress, challenging Democratic Congressman Joe Crowley.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran part of her congressional campaign while she was a waitress at Flats Fix, a taqueria in New York. After the great popular support that she receives in the campaign, Alexandria defeats Crowley, becoming a representative of the House of the United States for the 14th district of New York.
Alexandria has gained notoriety for her political criticism of Donald Trump and for her defense of the resolution for a New Green Deal, a minimum agreement to tackle climate change.
Campaign for Congress in 2020
In 2020, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera challenged Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic primary. After Ocasio-Cortez won the nomination, Caruso-Cabrera reorganized and ran in the general election as the nominee for the Serve America Movement. Ocasio-Cortez’s Republican contenders in the general election included nominee John Cummings, a former police officer, and Antoine Tucker.
The American Prospect wrote in October 2020 that Ocasio-Cortez was “spending the 2020 campaign holding workshops” for constituents on workplace organizing, fighting eviction, and organizing collective child care. They noted that Ocasio-Cortez often did not appear in the broadcast workshops, saying “the strategy decentralizes the candidate from her own campaign.”
On October 20, 2020, Ocasio-Cortez hosted a Twitch stream of the social deduction game Among Us, with fellow Congressman Ilhan Omar, along with many established players such as Pokimane, DrLupo, and mxmtoon. The broadcast peaked with over 400,000 viewers and, according to The Guardian’s Joshua Rivera, managed to convey a more human side to his personality.
On November 3, in the elections for Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez managed to be re-elected in her position as a congresswoman.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won an important victory in the 14th district of New York, according to CNN Chile on the same day of the elections towards the end of the day.
The Democratic congresswoman obtained the first majority against Republican John Cummings, who campaigned strongly for USD 10,000 (the second most expensive for the House), and Michelle Caruso-Cabrera in the election for the House of Representatives.
In the legislative elections that took place in 2018, AOC, as it is also known, won the seat, also maintaining a wide advantage over its rivals.
Media coverage of the political phenomenon of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
The first media network to give Ocasio-Cortez a platform and extensively covered her campaign and policies was The Young Turks (TYT), a left-wing online news show. After his primary victory, he quickly garnered national media attention, including numerous articles and appearances on television talk shows. She also drew a lot of media attention when she and Sanders campaigned for James Thompson in Kansas in July 2018. A rally in Wichita had to be moved from a 1,500-seat theater when many more people said they would attend. The event drew 4,000 people, some sitting on the ground. In The New Yorker Benjamin Wallace-Wells wrote that while Sanders remained “the de facto leader of an increasingly popular left, he cannot do things that don’t come naturally to him, like provide hope.” Wallace-Wells suggested that Ocasio-Cortez had made Sanders’ job easier, since he could point to his success in showing that ideas “once considered radical are now part of the Democratic Party’s mainstream thinking.”
Until she defeated incumbent Joe Crowley in the 2018 Democratic primary, Ocasio-Cortez received little coverage in most mainstream media outlets. Jimmy Dore interviewed her when he first announced his run for Congress in June 2017. After her primary victory, Brian Stelterhe wrote that progressive media outlets, such as The Young Turks and The Intercept, “saw the Ocasio-Cortez phenomenon coming” in advance. Margaret Sullivan wrote in The Washington Post that traditional metrics for campaign viability, such as total fundraising, were contributing to a “failure of media predictions” and that these “need to get closer to what voters think and they feel: their anger and resentment, their disenfranchisement from the centers of power, their concerns financially.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign was featured on the cover of the June 2018 issue of The Independent, a free monthly newspaper in New York City. In a tweet, Ocasio-Cortez praised the appearance on the cover of the “monthly New York classic” as an important advance for his campaign. Otherwise, Ocasio-Cortez was hardly mentioned in print until his victory in the congressional elections.
The Young Turks (TYT) have continued to cover the Ocasio-Cortez phenomenon and defend her from political and media elites who see her outside of DC’s political culture, with occasional criticism of some of her policies.
Ocasio-Cortez was one of the subjects of Michael Moore’s 2018 documentary Fahrenheit 9/11; the documentary chronicled his main campaign.
In an attempt to shame Ocasio-Cortez just before she took office, Twitter user “AnonymousQ” shared a video dating back to Ocasio-Cortez’s college years: a dance video produced by Boston University students. in which she briefly appeared. Many social media users came to her defense, inspiring memes and a Twitter account that synced the images to songs like “Mambo No. 5” and “Gangnam Style.” Ocasio-Cortez responded by posting a light-hearted video of herself dancing to Edwin Starr’s “War” outside her congressional office.
In 2019, Elizabeth Warren wrote the entry on Ocasio-Cortez for that year’s Time 100. In January 2019, the documentary Knock Down the House focuses on four female Democratic candidates in the 2018 United States election who were not career politicians, including Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Ocasio-Cortez was the only one of the featured women to win the election. The documentary was released by Netflix on May 1, 2019.
The economic thought of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
The economic thought of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in general terms is inspired by neo- Keynesian positions 7, defending the economic expansion of low-interest rates in the Federal Reserve, at the same time advocating for fiscal policies that alleviate the tax burden on the middle and lower classes, and higher taxes on the wealthiest individuals and large business conglomerates.
Ocasio-Cortez is an advocate for a $15 an hour minimum wage initiative, advocating for MediCaid and MediCare for All, as well as free public education and cancellation of student debt.
In response to the fact that her ideas are “socialist”, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responds that her imaginary of socialism is inspired by Welfare States such as Norway, Finland and Denmark, and that she rejects the models of complete management of the economy of countries such as Cuba, Venezuela and the former Soviet Union.
Perhaps one of the aspects where Ocasio-Cortez’s economic thinking has stood out the most is in the resolution for a Green New Deal, inspired by the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and which aims at a rapid transition toward renewable and sustainable energy sources. Ocasio-Cortez states that “Climate change is the greatest threat facing industrialized society globally and the most serious risk to American national security.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for a bold policy in the face of climate change, seeking that within 10 years the United States make a complete transition to renewable energy. As a result of this proposal, she has received criticism, even within her own party, where Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, president of the House of Representatives, has refused to support Ocasio-Cortez’s ideas on environmental matters.
Alexandria has stated that this proposal could be funded by a higher tax on income over $10 million, which would generate $720 billion over a decade. The Green New Deal would create new jobs and drive a sustainable economy that would reduce health and disaster spending. In this sense, Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal is situated in the line of economic thought of renowned academic Naomi Klein, who has advocated a rapid energy transition as a means of combating inequality and encouraging economic growth.
Monetary and fiscal policy
The monetary and fiscal policies advocated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez focus on the economic impulse on the demand side, supporting modern monetary theory, which places special emphasis on the role of the State in the economy and on monetary expansion with the support of the Central Bank and a higher public deficit to finance infrastructure works, research and development, as well as greater social spending on vulnerable classes that boosts economic growth.
Other aspects of fiscal policy
Ocasio-Cortez proposed introducing a marginal tax of up to 70% on income over $10 million to pay for the Green New Deal. According to tax experts contacted by The Washington Post, this tax would generate an additional $720 billion in revenue per decade. Ocasio-Cortez has opposed and voted against the apportionment rule supported by Democratic leaders, which requires a deficit-neutral fiscal policy, with all new spending balanced by tax increases or spending cuts. She and Rep. Ro Khanna have condemned the rule for hindering new or expanded progressive policies that could energize the economy. She cites modern monetary theory as a justification for higher deficits to finance her agenda. Making a parallel with the Great Depression, has argued that the Green New Deal needs deficit spending like the original New Deal.
The Green New Deal
On February 7, 2019, Ocasio-Cortez introduced her first legislation, the Green New Deal, to the Senate. She and Sen. Ed Markey issued a nonbinding joint resolution laying out the main elements of a 10-year “economic mobilization” that would phase out the use of fossil fuels and reshape the nation’s infrastructure. Her plan called for implementing the “social cost of carbon” that was part of the Obama administration’s plans to address climate change. In the process, he aimed to create jobs and boost the economy. According to CNBC, an early outline of the Green New Deal called for “getting rid of fossil fuels altogether,
The scheme sets a goal for the United States to “create ‘net zero’ greenhouse gases within 10 years. “Why ‘net zero’? Lawmakers explained: ‘We set a goal to get to net-zero emissions, rather than zero, in 10 years because we’re not sure we can completely get rid of farting cows and airplanes so fast.'”
Activist groups such as Greenpeace and the Sunrise Movement spoke out in favor of the plan. No Republican lawmakers expressed support. The plan garnered support from some Democratic senators, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Cory Booker; other Democrats, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, rejected the proposal (Pelosi has referred to it as “the green dream, or whatever they call it”).
On March 26, in what Democrats called a “gimmick,” Senate Republicans called for an early vote on the Green New Deal without allowing discussion or expert testimony. Ed Markey said Republicans were trying to “mock” the Green New Deal debate and called the vote a “sham.” In protest, Senate Democrats voted “for” or against the bill, resulting in a 57–0 loss in the Senate. In March 2019, a group of UK activists proposed that the Labor Party adopt a similar plan, “Labor for a Green New Deal”. The group said it was inspired by the Sunrise Movement and the work Ocasio-Cortez has done in the US.
Fight against poverty
In September 2019, Ocasio-Cortez introduced an anti-poverty policy proposal (packaged in a package called “A Just Society” ) that would factor in the cost of childcare, health care, and “new necessities” as the Internet access when measuring poverty. The proposal would limit annual rent increases and guarantee access to welfare programs for people with convictions and undocumented immigrants. According to the US Census, about 40 million Americans live in poverty.
Ocasio-Cortez advocates that political campaigns be free from the support of particular interest groups such as the pharmaceutical industry, the oil industry or the financial sector since the private financing of political campaigns creates revolving doors that favor corruption and tie politicians to the interests of private groups.
We can see, in general terms, the economic thought of Ocasio-Cortez is located in a Keynesian perspective of the economy, but with a radically progressive agenda that needs to be debated in more depth about its real possibilities, since although the proposals are positive are far from being sufficiently achievable within the timeframes proposed by Ocasio-Cortez, and in the case of public deficit financing, the application of these ideas does not take into account budget balance as a factor that encourages investment and maintains credibility economy of a country at the international level.