In order to get the support of Congressional rock star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), a 2020 candidate needs to not write off progressive ideals as impossible dreams.
“For me, I reject that outright,” responded Ocasio-Cortez. “I reject the rationale of saying adopting the same insurance models or a similar insurance model to any other developed country, in America is unrealistic. I reject that.”
— jordan (@JordanUhl) February 7, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez is having a viral week. From her takedown of Big Pharma to her breakdown of just how low the legal standard for presidential ethics is, she’s been grabbing headlines. But her time in the spotlight is being met with similar rejection from party elites.
For instance, in an interview published Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) dismissed the massively popular signature proposal of Ocasio-Cortez, the Green New Deal, as “the green dream or whatever.”
Specifically on healthcare, Hillary Clinton in her failed presidential bid in 2016 argued that health emergencies couldn’t wait on a “theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass.”
Looking at the 2020 field, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) have tried to straddle the divide on Medicare for All, co-sponsoring legislation to implement it while advocating for less drastic alternatives.
Meanwhile, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) went farther, advocating abolishing the health insurance industry. That move was outside the expected response that her staff walked it back somewhat, saying she was open to less radical solutions so long as Medicare for All was the goal.
Medicare for All is also massively popular with the American people.
“I want a 2020 candidate that says we can do these things. We can be audacious,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “In order to overcome this moment we need to return to our FDR roots as a party.”
That’s an apt reference for the Congresswoman to make. Both in direct reference and in the scope of her plan, her signature proposal harkens back to President Roosevelt’s New Deal. More than that, historian Rick Perlstein has directly compared her to other progressive superstars Roosevelt and Kennedy.
And not just because they go by three initials.
That popular charisma of Ocasio-Cortez will likely make her endorsement important to the veritable flock of Democratic hopefuls, and she’s laid out what it’ll take to get that endorsement — never saying never.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.