Alexandria Ocasio Cortez

U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) denounced the U.S. political system as an “oligarchy” on Friday, resuming the long-dormant class-war rhetoric that first attracted so many young voters to her campaign in 2018.

“When you look at the fact that our elections are bought, that corporations and… powerful corporate lobbies have more say in our legislation than everyday people, we are living in oligarchy that has its democratic moments,” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, often popularly mentioned as AOC, declared in a video posted to Facebook.

The self-styled democratic socialist railed against a “presidency that’s not determined by popular vote” and a Senate where “tens of millions of people more can vote for one candidate, one party, and still be in the minority,” as well as a House of Representatives that “gets gerrymandered to all hell once every 10 years in order to ensure an outsize minority rule.”

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for people to defend the stance that we live in a democracy, in a true one,” AOC lamented.

The U.S. government is formally a republic, not a democracy, and the presidency has never been determined by popular vote. Ocasio-Cortez’s complaints about Senate representation are likewise built into the country’s system of government – each state is represented by two senators, no matter how large or small the population.

Earlier in the same video, Ocasio-Cortez called Congress a “corrupt institution” and remarked that it was “really wild” and “difficult” to “try and be a normal person surrounded by so much decay and moral emptiness that frankly transcends party.”

While the video began as an indictment of congressional inaction on gun violence, it quickly broadened into a lament on how despite there being “so many different areas and issues where all of us agree… Congress still cannot get their s**t together!”

Both houses of Congress are controlled by the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden is a Democrat. However, that still does not seem to be enough to push through the legislative agenda supported by the party’s own voters.

Ocasio-Cortez attempted to separate herself from the legislative masses, however, complaining that as long as the Democrats think “there is some level of horror that is going to convince Republicans to change their minds,” mass shootings will keep happening.

“I donot want to be one of those ding-dongs that just tells you to vote harder,” she said, saying that “people treat Congress like it’s some kind of incumbency protection racket. These seats do not belong to us.”

Ocasio-Cortez is up for re-election in November. Since taking office in January 2019, she has largely toed the party line, voting for increased military budgets and backing a party leadership that opposes many of the policies she supports, such as Medicare for All and student loan forgiveness.

AOC’s Fear About U.S. Democracy

In an earlier interview in last February AOC expressed fear about the U.S. democracy.

A Real Clear Politics report (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Very Real Risk” We Will Not Have A Democracy In 10 Years, February 14, 2022, https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2022/02/14/alexandria_ocasio-cortez_very_real_risk_we_will_not_have_a_democracy_in_10_years.html#!#:~:text=Rep.%20Alexandria%20Ocasio-Cortez%20%28D-NY%29%20questioned%20the%20viability%20of,think%20we%20will%3F%22%20David%20Remnick%20asked%20the%20Congresswoman.) said:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) questioned the viability of democracy in the United States in an interview with ‘The New Yorker’ on Monday.

“You used a phrase earlier in the midst of this, ‘if we have a democracy 10 years from now.’ Do you think we will?” David Remnick asked the Congresswoman.

“I think there is a very real risk that we will not,” Ocasio-Cortez responded. “I think what we risk is having a government that perhaps postures as a democracy and may try to pretend it is, but isn’t. So what we have is the continued takeover of our democratic systems in order to turn them into undemocratic systems in order to overturn results that a party in power may not like.”

“You have the complete erasure and attack on our own understanding of history to replace history with institutionalized propaganda,” AOC said. “There are so many impulses to compare this to somewhere else. And there are certainly some comparisons to make with the rise of fascism in post-World War I Germany. Often, people like to make these comparisons but you really don’t have to look further than our own history. Because what we have is a uniquely complex past that we have walked.”

“The question that we’re really facing is: Was the last 50 to 60 years after the Civil Rights Act just a mere flirtation that the United States had with a multiracial democracy that we will then decide was inconvenient for those in power? And we will revert to what we had before, which, by the way, wasn’t just Jim Crow but also the extraordinary economic oppression as well?” AOC asked.
AOC’s comment questioning the viability of democracy in 10 years was in the print interview with ‘The New Yorker’ published on Monday:

NEW YORKER: You had some political experience before you were elected, but it was from some distance. You were not a member of Congress. You were not “in the room.” What do you see in the room? What is it like, day to day, being a member of this institution, which, I have to say, from outside, looks like a shit show?

AOC: Honestly, it is a shit show. It’s scandalizing, every single day. What is surprising to me is how it never stops being scandalizing. Some folks perhaps get used to it, or desensitized to the many different things that may be broken, but there is so much reliance on this idea that there are adults in the room, and, in some respect, there are. But sometimes to be in a room with some of the most powerful people in the country and see the ways that they make decisions—sometimes they are just susceptible to groupthink, susceptible to self-delusion.
NY: Sketch it out for us. What does it look like?

AOC: The infrastructure plan, if it does what it’s intended to do, politicians will take credit for it ten years from now, if we even have a democracy ten years from now. But the Build Back Better Act is the vast majority of Biden’s agenda. The infrastructure plan, as important as it is, is much smaller. So we were talking about pairing these two things together. The Progressive Caucus puts up a fight, and then somewhere around October there comes a critical juncture. The President is then under enormous pressure from the media. There is this idea that the President cannot “get things done,” and that his Presidency is at risk. It is what I find to be just a lot of sensationalism. However, the ramifications of that were being very deeply felt. And you have people running tough races, and it is “he needs a win.” And so I am sitting there in a group with some of the most powerful people in the country talking about how, if we pass the infrastructure bill right now, then this will be what the President can campaign on. The American people will give him credit for it. He can win his Presidency on it. If we do not pass it now, then we’ve risked democracy itself.


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