Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the biggest names in American politics. As a first-term congresswoman, her rise to stardom has been unprecedented, but it teaches us a lot about the current state of politics in our country. Here are some key things that the rise of AOC has told us.
1) People still love an outsider.
AOC spent much of her campaign in New York positioning herself as an outside candidate with no ties to the “Washington elite.” For decades, this has proved an effective tactic to garner support from local voters, because it provides a common ground between the voter and the candidate. Even after being elected, Ocasio-Cortez has been at odds with party leadership, demonstrating that she is unwilling to become a part of the Democratic Establishment.
2) Progressivism is still separate from Democratic ideals.
One of the reasons that AOC and so many other candidates ran in 2020 is that they believed that the Democratic party was not doing enough to address big issue like climate change, gender equality, and wealth disparity. The 2020 election brought a rise in progressive candidates in the vein of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Such candidates have formed an alliance within congress that seems to exclude party leadership. They have a sense that the moderate establishment will not support big measures like the Green New Deal, so they choose to band together to push their agenda without string party support.
3) Candidates have to do better with young voters.
Political campaigns have long been about getting to the people. For over a century, that has meant physically being in the same location while communicating with potential voters. With the current technological revolution, AOC has shown America that it is possible to connect with voters through social media. In fact, she has built a strong base of support from young people across the country by actively engaging them on platforms that they frequent. Much of today’s traditional media centers around what goes viral on the internet and social media channels, and it makes sense for candidates to get on board in order to reach young voters.