The new series Figure of the Month will be published some time after every month. The goal is to highlight those who have been on the news extraordinarily often or have done some extraordinary work. The February Figure of the Month is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

From working in a taco tent to growing into one of America’s most influential Democrats. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez succeeded in doing this. She is known for her radical views. For instance, Ocasio-Cortez wants to introduce a 70 percent tax bracket for Americans earning more than 10 million dollars a year. In addition, she launched the Green New Deal to make America climate neutral, fairer and more equal within 10 years. Ocasio-Cortez is one of the 435 delegates, yet she stands out with three million followers on social media, her young age and self-assured appearance. During a hearing on money in American politics, she outlined the corruption that takes place in politics within five minutes. The video was viewed over 38 million times within a few days. Who is this Democrat in Washington and what should you know about her?

Biography

Ocasio-Cortez was born in 1989 in the Bronx, north of Manhattan. She likes to show that she has come from far and fought for her place in American politics. In a campaign movie she announced that she was born in a city where ‘your postcode determines your destiny’. She let TV presenter Stephen Colbert know where she comes from: ‘I don’t think the president can handle a girl from the Bronx’. 

She studied at the University of Boston and earned a degree in economics and international relations. She became active as an educational director, but had to change jobs when the economic crisis hit the United States in 2008. She worked 18 hours a day as a waitress to support her mother and herself. In an article that CNN published, Ocasio-Cortez showed in an interview with MSNBC that these experiences have shaped her political views: ‘I understand the pain of working-class Americans because I have experienced the pain.’

Famous quotes

“I don’t think most of Congress understands how economics works.”

Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office.”

“Our democracy is designed to speak truth to power.”

“People try to identify who is the most likely person to turn out, and what we did is that we changed who turns out. And that changes the whole electorate.”

From Bronx to Washington

In 2016 she organized campaigns for Bernie Sanders during the presidential primary. In May 2017 she challenged Congressman Joe Crowley, who had been head of the Queens County Democratic Party for 20 years. Ocasio-Cortex won the electoral constituency with a Socialist Party program. She was elected and became the youngest woman ever to be in Congress. 

She makes it clear that she wants to make a real change in Washington. Ocasio-Cortez seeks Medicare for everyone, a universal job guarantee and immigration and criminal reform.View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Jeff Stein@JStein_WaPo

This was @Ocasio2018’s platform, taken from her office in Elmhurst, Queens —>20.1K02:42 – 27 Jun 20186,487 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads information and privacy

Although she has stolen the hearts of many Americans, Ocasio-Cortez gets a lot of criticism from the conservatives. She talks about subjects that have not seen the light for years. With her radical positions there is a chance that the Democrats will move further to the left. Republicans find her far too radical and compare her views with democratic socialist viewpoints. President Trump also spoke out clearly about socialism: ‘America will never become a socialist country! ‘

However, Ocasio-Cortez is being put in a positive light by most news channels and websites. Although she might want to change the most for the better, there exists a chance that AOC is too positively described, which makes the people suspicious.  A young and radical Democrat in Congress can create innovative ideas, yet all sides of AOC will need to be told and not just the image what the media is currently outlining.

Yet it seems that America is becoming less afraid of the word ‘socialism’ anno 2019. This is becoming more clear since Ocasio-Cortez was elected to be in Congress. From now on it will be difficult to ignore the girl from the Bronx in Washington.

Watch here the video of AOC explaining the corruption in American politics:


https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/radicale-millennial-ocasio-cortez-verovert-amerika~b245d4b7/
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/27/politics/who-is-alexandria-ocasio-cortez/index.html
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/27/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-who-is-she-democrats-new-york-life-career-policies

Photo: Rajbir Singh, Flickr Images