Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the future of the Democratic Party, like it or not
I try to integrate myself with all segments of the progressive movement. In a functional duopoly, most successful movements are realized within one of the political parties. Whether benevolent or not, those movements succeed by embedding their DNA into the party.
The tea party is a perfect example. It became a virus to the Republican Party, where it proceeded to replicate itself until the GOP effectively became a new party.
The Indivisible movement descended on the entire country to mobilize against Donald Trump early on. Anger over the election of a proud sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic misogynist who received less than a majority of the popular vote sustained the growth of the movement and progressive activism. But while that was great, it doesn’t mean the movement will have long-term staying power.
The mainstream media normalized Donald Trump, which angered those on the left. But progressive anger is never as long-lasting as anger is on the right. That is likely because the left is less creative in weaponizing discontent.
And then came Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I met her at Netroots Nation 2017 and interviewed her twice. The first time, the surrounding noise obliterated her voice. Embarrassed, I asked her for a do-over. Without hesitation, she waltzed over.
Cortez, a progressive Democratic candidate from the Bronx, New York, exuded confidence, freshness, and a desire to activate folks in New York’s 14th Congressional District. She paid her dues as a grassroots organizer, including her activities at Standing Rock. She grew up in a working-class neighborhood and went through the ups and downs characteristic of what many millennials went through during their formative years.
Before anybody gave Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a chance, it was clear to me that she had it. It was not just her energy, but her determination. It also helped that she knows how to voice the progressive message in an unabashedly sincere and feel-your-pain manner.