- AOC said Democrats will be “in trouble” this year if President Biden doesn’t “govern decisively.”
- In an interview with New York magazine, she said many younger people don’t feel seen by the party.
- The congresswoman has been critical of the party’s handling of the failed Build Back Better bill.
Democrats will be “in trouble” this year if President Joe Biden doesn’t “govern decisively” by using executive action to improve the lives of everyday people, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told New York magazine in an interview that was published on Tuesday.
The New York Democrat said Biden needs to use tools afforded by the executive branch, pointing to the fact that his support among younger voters has faltered due to congressional inaction. The Congresswoman noted that she and nearly 100 other members of the House Progressive Caucus have asked Biden to sign executive orders on several issues, notably the cancellation of a student-loan debt and an expansion of protections for immigrants.
“If the president does pursue and start to govern decisively using executive action and other tools at his disposal, I think we’re in the game,” Ocasio-Cortez told the magazine. “But if we decide to just kind of sit back for the rest of the year and not change people’s lives — yeah, I do think we’re in trouble.
“So I don’t think that it’s set in stone,” she added. “I think that we can determine our destiny here.”
Ocasio-Cortez contended that the narrative of Democrats’ majorities being in peril due largely to independent voters is a red herring in an election when she said voters — especially younger Americans — will need to motivated to come out for the party in order for them to have a chance at staying in power. But, she said, many of these voters don’t feel as though they’ve fully been a part of the national conversation.
“We need to acknowledge that this isn’t just about middle of the road, an narrow band of independent voters,” Ocasio-Cortez the magazine. “This is about the collapse of support among young people, among the Democratic base, who are feeling that they worked overtime to get this president and aren’t really being seen.”
The congresswoman has been highly critical of the party for its handling of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, which was a proposed multitrillion-dollar set of policies that would have funded a broad set of social-spending initiatives, including free two-year community college and clean-energy tax credits.
While the House passed its version of the larger social-spending bill — independent of the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that was signed into law last year — the Build Back Better Act crumbled after Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia scuttled the bill late last year in the evenly divided upper chamber.
Ocasio-Cortez has argued for months that Democrats aren’t delivering for the constituencies that granted them their congressional majorities and warned that they risk tipid support from these groups in November if they take them for granted.
In a February interview with The New Yorker, Ocasio-Cortez spoke in-depth about representation and electoral politics, saying that people in her congressional district — in the Bronx and Queens — are “often discounted in many different ways” because they’re seen as “reliable Democrats.”
“I come from a community that is often discounted in many different ways, because, you know, these are ‘reliable Democrats.’ Like, what she has to say doesn’t matter, etc. What does she know about this political moment?” she said during the discussion.