Since winning the primary over incumbent Joseph Crowley, who many believed would be the next leader of the House Democrats, democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made it increasingly clear that one of her key goals is to create more candidates like herself: ones who embrace a more radical left agenda and who are willing to take on establishment Democrats.
In a new promotional video for the Justice Democrats — the group that found Ocasio-Cortez as well as newly sworn-in Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who likewise dethroned an incumbent Democrat — Ocasio-Cortez puts out the call to her fellow democratic socialist-minded activists to oust congressional members of her own party, declaring it’s “#OurTime.”
“Don’t people realize that the most powerful position you can be in is when you are not materially attached to a position of power,” Ocasio-Cortez says in a conversation with fellow Justice Democrat leaders. “If you’re a one-term congress member, so what? You can make ten years worth of change in one term if you’re not afraid.”
“We as Justice Democrats have the chance to really transform the Democratic Party running in competitive primary elections in Democratic-held seats is important,” says one of the leaders, Ocasio-Cortez nodding in agreement.
“One of the important things that gets told in order to like settle us down is, ‘I agree with you. We have the same goals,”’ says the freshman representative. “It’s great that everyone thinks these issues are important. We need to make them urgent.”
After the group’s members stress again the importance of primarying incumbent Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez says, “And if everyday people don’t feel comfortable in their own skin at the most powerful levels of government, then what’s the point?”
“You can run as you are,” says Ocasio-Cortez. “You can run for yourself, or you can run as a service to others. By the end of your campaign, no matter what, if you’re focused on the right things and running as a service, your community will be more organized, educated and engaged.”
“It is a huge sacrifice, but that is what this perilous time in our democracy demands of us,” she adds. “With this administration, with the role of money in politics, with how our policy is being hijacked by the industries that profit in the despair of working people … It’s all hands on deck for our democracy right now. This country has only ever changed for the better by groups of people that were willing to put everything on the line for a better future. That’s how we got the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, that’s how we got the labor movement, queer rights and marriage equality. It didn’t happen by people playing it safe.”
Ocasio-Cortez has come to Capitiol Hill pushing a radical “Green New Deal,” a far-left public works and government intervention program that seeks to force the manufacturing and agricultural industries to switch to 100% renewable energy in a dozen years while creating “green jobs.” The deal promises jobs at a living wage for everyone seeking one, universal healthcare, and basic income pograms, promising to “virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation.”