New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - the youngest woman elected into Congress - might also be the youngest person to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024--if Biden loses or does not run for a second term provided he wins in November.
Speculations for her candidacy started during the 2020 presidential run, as she stuck alongside Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
“I know, and we all know, that this isn’t just about Bernie Sanders,” Ocasio-Cortez said at a Sanders rally in Los Angeles. “This is about a movement that has been decades in the making.”
“She is … one of the bright lights for the Democrats in terms of speaking to young people in particular about policies in a way that is something that young people and other people can relate to,” Jane Hall, professor at the school of communications at American University and former commentator on Fox News, said.
Hall added that the New York congresswoman is “very skilled” and “represents the next generation of progressives in this country.”
Known to be a Democratic socialist and a member of “the Squad” on Capitol Hill, Ocasio-Cortez supports “Medicare-for-All” and the Student Debt Cancellation Act of 2019 that forgives all outstanding federal and private student debt, a more progressive bill.
She also introduced the “Green New Deal,” a climate change proposal that has an “ambitious plan to combat climate change by creating millions of high-wage jobs in new green industries, transition our energy system and building new infrastructure,” according to the congresswoman’s website.
“It’s a long way from here until then, but she definitely represents a new generation of progressives. She’s a leader who speaks about policy in a really engaging way,” Hall said.
Ocasio-Cortez also refuses to accept donations from corporate political action committees, a move that other progressive politicians haven’t done.
“Her Instagram … her social media in general - she knows just to talk about things like the new ‘Green Deal,’ but also we have a lot of people engaged with her because she’s a very appealing personality,” Hall said.
The New York congresswoman has more than 5.3 million Instagram followers and over 7.8 million Twitter followers. She also has used TikTok-styled videos to connect with millennials on a number of progressive policy issues.
Despite her youth appeal, a poll taken last year revealed that 74 percent of participants recognized Ocasio-Cortez, with only 22 percent having a favorable view. The poll included 1,003 likely election voters, who are also known to be “a crucial group of swing voters” and “have two years or less of college education,” according to Axios.
Another poll taken last year by Stop The AOC PAC within her Queens and Bronx district showed that 42 percent are unfamiliar with the congresswoman, 51 percent have an unfavorable view of her and 33 percent are ready to vote for someone else in the next election.
“The problem for the Democrats … is that young people don’t always come out to the degree that older voters come out in primaries,” Hall said.
It’s difficult to see if Ocasio-Cortez will rally enough support to sustain a presidential campaign, but the outcome of the election that’s just four months away will likely determine the congresswoman’s chances for the 2024 presidential bid.
Rachel Bucchino is a reporter at the National Interest. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report and The Hill.