the Left ‘Bewildered’ by Power Because They Were ‘Not Used to Having’ It

  • AOC says the left was “bewildered” by power for so long because they hadn’t experienced having it.
  • She told The Times that power was generally seen as something held by a “consummate insider.”
  • In the interview, Ocasio-Cortez spoke of how the Democratic Party has changed since her first election in 2018.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a newly-published interview said that her political influence has been scrutinized so heavily by Democrats because progressive members of the party “haven’t really had a political presence” in the United States like the one they currently possess.

During a conversation with The New York Times, the third-term New York Democrat said that one of the reasons why voices like hers were seen as novel when she first ran in 2018 was because many candidates were often viewed as more supportive of corporate interests over real people.

“I think very often you had this consummate insider that was bankrolled by corporate money and advancing this, frankly, very neoliberal agenda,” she told The Times. “And those were the people that we were used to seeing in power. And so I think over time there’s been an inherent association between power, ascent and quote-unquote selling out.”

“I often say to my grass-roots companions that the left, for a very long time, was not used to having power in the United States,” she continued. “And so when we encounter power, we’re so bewildered by it.”

When asked if liberals were “suspicious” of power, Ocasio-Cortez said that many people often feel as though “there’s no way in this country you can accrue any kind of power without there being some Faustian compromise.”

In 2018, Ocasio-Cortez ran as a progressive who would challenge the status quo and advance the interests of the working-class communities that she represents in the Bronx and Queens.

She immediately faced criticism during her campaign and after she entered the halls of Congress the next year, with some members of her own party disdainful of her and Republicans eager to tie her more progressive views to the entire Democratic Party.

“When I first came in, I came into an environment that I sensed was never going to give me a chance, and into a party that was extremely hostile to my presence, extremely hostile to my existence,” she told The Times. “That’s one of the reasons I dug so powerfully into my work.”

But Ocasio-Cortez has sought to forge relationships across all political divides at the Capitol.

The congresswoman, who backed the 2020 presidential campaign of Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, has worked with President Joe Biden’s White House to advocate for a range of social-spending measures.

And she has worked with Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania in seeking to ban members of Congress from trading stocks.

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