Bronx Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortéz (AOC) is synonymous with headlines, clickbait, and conspiracy theories. Since she was elected the youngest representative in Congress three years ago, AOC has been the subject of discussions on both sides of the aisle.
However, and while not surprising to us, the congresswoman’s response to CNN’s Dana Bash’s question about whether she was considering a campaign against fellow New Yorker Senator Chuck Schumer next year went viral.
“I know it drives everybody nuts. But the way that I really feel about this, and the way that I really approach my politics and my political career, is that I do not look at things, and I do not set my course positionally,” Ocasio-Cortez told Bash in “Being…AOC,” the first episode of the new CNN series “Being…” that aired Monday night at 9 p.m. ET.
“And I know there’s a lot of people who do not believe that. But I really — I can’t operate the way that I operate and do the things that I do in politics while trying to be aspiring to other things or calculating to other things,” she said in an interview in her district in late June.
Whether it’s a political strategy or genuine honesty, the congresswoman’s response added nervousness to the balance in Washington.
It’s no secret that AOC has been a harsh critic of the Democratic establishment since long before she ever set foot on Capitol Hill — just ask Joe Crowley. Recently, the congresswoman did not shy away from calling eviction “violence” at a protest to extend the moratorium to evict renters. As reported by Politico, AOC called her fellow House members “cowards” who needed to come back into town and “put their names next to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote, or the White House needs to do a damn thing about [eviction moratoriums]. … At the end of the day, the emergency is here. And so we need to exercise all avenues.”
However, challenging the Senate leader, a heavyweight like Schumer, is another matter entirely.
In January, she told Punchbowl News that she was “very much in a place where I’m trying to decide what is the most effective thing I can do to help our Congress, our [political] process, and our country actually address the issues of climate change, health care, wage inequality, etc.”
“I’m not playing coy or anything like that,” she added.
Schumer is up for reelection in 2022, and speculation has swirled for years around whether AOC would be up for the challenge.
“I think what happens a lot in politics is that people are so motivated to run for certain higher office that they compromise in fighting for people today. And the idea is that if you can be as clean of a slate or as blank of a slate, that it makes it easier for you to run for higher office later on,” AOC told Bash.
“For what it’s worth, Senator Schumer and I have been working very closely on a lot of legislation, and that, to me, is important,” she concluded. “And so, we shall see.”