Some mightsay there are as many reasons to run for elected office as there are candidates. Whether or not that is true, there are a few commonalities. A desire to help a community (whether local, State or Federal). A desire to fight for a cause or principle. And even a desire for power. Which is the reason for the freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also widely known as simply AOC, is highly debatable.
From the beginning of her story there is a shroud of mystery, or some could say confusion. The bartender known as ‘Sandy’ often spoke to patrons about the 2016 election. She was already very politically active, having worked for Sen. Ted Kennedy. That activism took her to North Dakota, where the Standing Rock protests occurred.
But then there is a divergence. According to AOC as published by Insider Politics, after she returned from the protest, she banded together with a couple of like minded bar patrons. They copied old propaganda materials, and launched a campaign for elected office.
But according to reporter Samantha Lee of Business Insider, there is another version. This time before the protest Gabriel Ocasio-Cortez, the brother of Alexandria/Sandy, sent off his sisters name to Brand New Congress (BNC). Founded in 2016 by Bernie Sanders supporters, this Political Action Committee (PAC) was looking for new potential candidates. They reached out to the bartender AOC after the protest saying,
“Will you run for US Congress in New York’s 14th district?”
Which story is true? Or contains more of the truth? It depends on whom you ask and what their political preference is. Either way, the fact that there is a divergence of some significance highlights much of what is the presence of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as opposed to ‘Sandy’ the bartender.
This might not be important, some would call it a white lie or gentle revision of the past, if it were not just part of a pattern. As an example there is the finances of the campaign for Ocasio-Cortez. Through out her campaign, and since, she has railed against “dark money” and outside influences to politicians.
But as has become clear this year, that isn’t the whole story. Ocasio-Cortez took the unconventional and potentially unethical route of sitting on the board of a PAC that received thousands of dollars from her campaign. Adding to the mystery is the fact that her campaign manager – who is now her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti – co-created that PAC and another. Combined both PAC’s received $900,000 for reasons never disclosed and counter to the transparency AOC has demanded of other politicians.
Thus far the transactions have generated 2 FEC complaints. One is by the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, a nonprofit who allege that $6,000 was laundered by paying Ocasio-Cortez’s boyfriend Riley Roberts for work on her campaign. The other complaint, by National Legal and Policy Center charge that Ocasio-Cortez and the two PACs –Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats — violated federal election law in paying $885,735 to the company, Brand New Congress LLC from individual donor donations. Both companies are considered Right leaning. AOC and her campaign wave off these complaints as political attacks.
But the economic major that became a Congresswoman is not limited to just questionable campaign financing. Her influence is now infamous to many New York residents, including her constituents. The most notable case is Amazon.
Just after the 2018 elections, Amazon announced it had decided to set up shop in New York City.This would create 25,000 jobs, many of which would pay $150,000 per year, and generate $27 billion in tax revenue. In addition some $2.5 billion would be invested in the City – though in exchange for the largest ever City and State aid package of some $2.8 billion.
But by February 2019 the deal was dead. Thanks to AOC, who took a bow for her action. Polls from the NY Times reacted differently, calling AOC a villain. The Editorial Board of the Daily News stated in March 2019,
“From the moment Amazon chose New York City, AOC used her massive platform as the biggest star in Congress to inveigh against the deal as an affront to economic justice, never mind the facts…
Even if one forgave Ocasio-Cortezfor failing to grasp how the deal worked in the heat of a high-stakes fight —and why should we? She majored in economics — it takes willful ignorance to continue to misrepresent its terms now.”
But the call for Social Justice and the Democratic Socialist way does not stop at preventing 25,000 job growth. No, Ocasio-Cortez has championed a $15 per hour minimum wage, in New York City and nationally. The result?
In August 2019 AOC visited the Coffee Shop in Union Square, where she once worked, to say goodbye as the owners closed the business. They directly cited the $15 minimum wage. A story similar to thousands of others in Seattle and California. In fact estimates by American Action Forum some 261,000 jobs. Many in New York.
Of course this has not stopped the ambition of AOC. Reports from the now closing Axios on HBO reported that,
“Top Democrats tell “Axios on HBO”they expect Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may eventually primary one of the two New York senators — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in 2022, or Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand in 2024.”
Given the current state of politics, this seems a not so veiled threat to Sen. Gillibrand. Unseating a Senate Minority Leader like Schumer is no easy task. After decades of contacts, donations from PAC’s, and ascending the Democrat chain of command he holds a strong position of power. Not to mention both a campaign warchest in the millions with leverage to millions more nearly on demand.
In stark contrast Gillibrand is weak. Her hopes to gain the 2020 Democrat nomination started with a highly publicized lie to constituents that she would stay in New York for her full term. In the most recent national polling, boosted by news she made the cut to be part of the first nominee debate – she has averaged just 0.5% – an increase from the weeks prior at 0.3%.
Still, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is inexperienced. She has barely started her first term, and yet supposedly wants to run for the US Senate? To many She has not proven herself in her current position. What could she gain from a primary battle for the Senate?
The answer is President Obama. A community organizer with big hopes and a dream of transforming America. What the transformation would be into is rife for vehement debate.
President Obama first gained a seat in the Illinois State Senate. He gained national prominence at the 2006 Democrat convention with a speech that led to a run for the Senate. That wasn’t the goal, but the credibility boost. As opponents would come to claim, Obama was an empty suit – a politician with no experience even in politics. But with the title Senator, and a history of 16 previously claiming the highest office in the nation, there was no need for more credibility
So imagine if that is the true objective. That in an effort to bide her time until she reaches the age limit to run for President, she hold a Senate seat.Building credibility and impacting the nation.
What kind of Senator, or dare we say President, could this Democrat Socialist be? Well from what we can see, someone willing to tell whatever story that sells best to the media she is talking to. Someone that is willing to sacrifice the well-being and livelihood of even friends and businesses she once was connected to. She is willing to impoverish hundreds of thousands at the sword of her ideals. And she could do all of this while enriching herself and those closest to her, regulations be damned.
So what is the truth ultimately about Alexandria ‘Sandy’ Ocasio-Cortez? Mere mortals and journalists alike may never know. Then again, it might be best for constituents and the nation that we never find out.