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Why can't Alexandria Ocasio Cortez run as Democratic candidate?

Despite the vitriol directed at her from many on the right, the congresswoman known as AOC would receive significant support if she could run.

Why can't Alexandria Ocasio Cortez run as Democratic candidate?
Michael M. SantiagoAFP

The attention being given to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been gathering pace over recent years, and this fame - to some, notoriety - has rocketed to new levels in the last few months. From her green new deal and being part of ‘The Squad’ to being called a ‘fucking bitch’ by Ted Yoho and feeling the wrath of president Trump himself, this New York congresswoman has picked up a strong following. So why did she not join the running for the Democratic presidential candidate?

Why is AOC not running as the Democratic candidate?

The answer to the much asked question is simple: Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is not old enough to run for US President.

The lower age limit for a presidential nominee is 35, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has only just turned 31. Her October birthday and the schedule of primaries mean that the earliest she could throw her hat in the ring would be the 2028 elections aged 38.

But getting the top job is not the focus to AOC. During the 2020 primaries, she hosted an instagram live with 8,000 members of the public and addressed the burning question of her potential candidacy with a wise response.

“I want to level with all of you, I’m not a person that aspires to a position, I aspire to a mission,” she said in the social media video. “We can’t swing from one saviour to another. There’s a lot of saviour-ism in politics, like ‘who’s next?’ and ‘who’s gonna save us?’ And the answer is you. The answer is people.”

AOC added “a lot of what we need to focus on…as we have always needed to focus on, are the issues….in the long term, what is important is that we are winning on the issues and we are winning over people.”

AOC: who is she and what is she known for?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Bronx-bred bartender turned Representative was the youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress just two years ago. She defeated Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley, a 20 year incumbent, by 15 points, in what was widely seen as the biggest victory in the 2018 midterm election primaries. And she’s now regarded as the most disruptive new Democrat in decades. When asked in a february interview why she was so controversial and disliked by some members of the establishment, she responded "our entire political system revolves, frankly, around rich men, and rich men are not the center of my universe. Working families are."

After graduating from Boston University where she would front weekly debate sessions according to an Insider biography, Ocasio-Cortez would supplement her non-profit jobs by waiting tables at night, to support her widowed Puerto Rican mother, who cleaned houses.

It was actually her little brother who put her up to run for Congress. Shortly after Trump’s victory in 2016 he signed her up to a Bernie Sanders-inspired scheme to recruit fresh candidates for the House and Senate.

In her first term she put her name to hundreds of pieces of legislation, including a major climate change bill. She’s also built a formidable political operation that puts her among the top fundraisers in Washington. In June she won the right to serve for two more years.

AOC: recent Vanity Fair interview

A recent interview with Vanity Fair’s Hive recounts how the millennial Puerto Rican Democratic Socialist produced a seminal political moment in June 2020 in responding to Yoho’s ascerbic “fucking bitch” epithet.

Forty-eight hours after his non-apology on the House floor, Ocasio-Cortez delivered one of the most eloquent take-downs in political history; “I want to thank him for showing the world that you can be a powerful man and accost women…it happens every day in this country.” And the line that spawned headlines, T-shirts, hashtags and memes: “I am someone’s daughter too.”

Her feared status on the right and even to some fellow Democrats is just testament that she is doing something exciting. She even faced Trump’s wrath in a now famous Twitter tirade, in which he told AOC, along with Pressley, Tlaib, and Representative Ilhan Omar (aka The Squad) to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

In spite of the routine bomb and rape threats the future’s bright for AOC, says former Housing and Urban Development secretary and 2020 candidate Julián Castro. “I’ve told her, I fully expect that she’s going to run one day, and that she should…she absolutely has the talent, the dynamism, and the leadership ability.”

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