Currently serving as a Congresswoman for the 14th Congressional District of New York, Ocasio-Cortez is one of a new breed of left-wing politicians that have risen to prominence in U.S. politics in recent years.
Few rises in politics have been as meteoric as that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez grew up the daughter of a low-income Latino family, splitting her time between the Bronx and Yorktown. She claims that the stark divide between the economic realities of the residents of these two neighborhoods inspired her belief in equal opportunity and social justice.
Ocasio-Cortez graduated from Boston University with degrees in economics and international relations. She interned in Sen. Ted Kennedy’s office during her studies. Ocasio-Cortez later returned to the Bronx to set up a number of civil society organizations designed to help disadvantage Latin youth.
While working as a bartender in New York, Ocasio-Cortez moonlighted as a volunteer on Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid campaign in 2016. Having discovered a flair for politics, she launched a people-funded, grassroots campaign for Congress in New York’s 14th Congressional District, which she eventually won from 10-term incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley.
Since she was sworn in January 2019, Ocasio-Cortez has spoken out on a wide range of social justice issues. She has been an outspoken critic of President Trump, lending her support to Bernie Sanders in his failed attempt to gain the Democratic candidacy for the upcoming elections.
Some people have accused AOC’s brand of populism of having a negative impact on politics. Indeed, Rep. Kathleen Rice has gone so far as to say that Ocasio-Cortez’s tactics represent “a real threat to our democracy”. Rice has likened Ocasio-Cortez’s use of exaggeration and hyperbole, which are designed to generate wide appeal among disenfranchised swathes of low-income voters, to those used by Donald Trump to drum up popular support.