On Friday, Democratic lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) called the US political system (which out to be democracy) a “oligarchy,” repeating the long-dormant class-war rhetoric that drew so many young people to her campaign in 2018.
“When you look at the fact that our elections are bought, that corporations and […] powerful corporate lobbies have more say in our legislation than everyday people, we are living in oligarchy that has its democratic moments,” she claimed in a Facebook video.
The self-described democratic socialist railled against a “presidency that’s not determined by popular vote,” a Senate where “tens of millions of people more can vote for one candidate, one party, and still be in the minority,” and a House of Representatives that “gets gerrymandered to all hell once every 10 years in order to ensure an outsize minority rule.”
“It is becoming increasingly difficult for people to defend the stance that we live in a democracy, in a true one,” she bemoaned.
The United States government is a republic, not a democracy, and the president has never been elected by popular vote. Ocasio-objections Cortez’s about Senate representation are also rooted in the country’s political system: each state is represented by two senators, regardless of population size.
Ocasio-Cortez had previously labeled Congress a “corrupt institution” and said it was “very wild” and “challenging” to “try to be a normal person surrounded by so much degradation and moral emptiness that frankly transcends party” in the same video.
While the film began as a criticism of Congress’s slowness on gun violence, it quickly expanded into a lament about how, despite “so many different areas and concerns where all of us agree […] Congress still can’t get their s**t together!”
The Democratic Party controls both houses of Congress, and President Joe Biden is a Democrat. However, it does not appear that this will be enough to drive through the legislative program that the party’s own people support.
To no avail, the president and numerous Democratic leaders have urged tighter gun-control measures. Republicans’ loyalty to the National Rifle Association is blamed by many in their party for the impasse.
However, Ocasio-Cortez attempted to set herself apart from the rest of the Democratic Party, claiming that mass shootings will continue to occur as long as Democrats believe “there’s some level of horror that will persuade Republicans to change their opinions.”
“I don’t want to be one of those ding-dongs that just tells you to vote harder,” she added, adding that “people treat Congress like it’s some kind of incumbency protection racket. These seats do not belong to us.”
In November, Ocasio-Cortez is up for re-election. She has mainly followed the party line since taking office in January 2019, voting for inflated military expenditures and supporting party leadership that opposes many of the initiatives she likes, such as Medicare for All and student loan forgiveness.