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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: the future of politics wears purple

By Luis Galiano (European Economic Studies, Option European Law and Economic Analysis (ELEA) – Manuel Marín Promotion)

Unparalleled changes are starting to come out from the 229 cabinet in Washington DC. It is the office where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her team gather every day to try to turn a rather ambitious political programme into effective proposals. They are not alone: the door is full of post-its with support messages. There are so much that they had to remove half of them for the Capitol’s security norms.

It is still quite soon to guess what the outcome will be, but AOC (as her followers know her) has already changed American politics for good. Here is the list: A woman, 29 years old, Latina, born in The Bronx and working as a waitress until running for the 14th Congress District in the Democrats primary election against one of the most important leaders of her political party, being the youngest woman in US history to be elected for Congress… every detail of AOC’s political career is to be taken as a symbol of a female empowerment that breaks every previous record.

AOC arrived to Congress with a remarkably progressive agenda of political measures which can still be consulted in her website, where the purple of her campaign floods every corner of the screen. Measures like the Medicare reform, the creation of a warranted employment service at the federal level to make jobs pay enough or the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a federal agency created in 2003 by the 9/11 legislative package which is often criticised by the lack of judicial constraints to its activity.

However, none of these measures are the one that is bringing (even more) AOC to the spotlight: that one is the Green New Deal. You may not have hard about it yet, but it has become the talk of the day in American politics, as it is the most ambitious climate legislative package that has ever been discussed in the corridors of the Congress. In a sentence, it aims to make the whole US economy carbon-neutral by 2050. It plans to do so by introducing drastic cuts in emissions while preserving jobs and investing in renewables. Even if it has found the scepticism of important members of the Democrat Party like Nancy Pelosi, it has become a symbol of a possible turn to more progressive, left-wing positions towards the 2020 election.

Will the Green New Deal see the light of day in this parliamentary term? Probably not. Such an ambitious proposal needs time to gather all the votes. Nonetheless, it is a starting point for a new wave of mostly female Democrats that want to do things differently in Washington DC. These changes should not come as a surprise: the globalisation of the #metoo movement, the opposition to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the US Supreme Court… there was already an increased social awareness about gender in America and AOC is the perfect example of it.

The changes included in the Green New Deal will certainly take time to find consensus as the establishment has proven to be reluctant to act against both gender inequality and climate change, but this should not impede us to believe that these changes are not only feasible, but necessary.

In the International Women’s Day 2019, let’s remember every brave woman that fights against gender inequality in no matter which social position. Women like AOC are bringing new hopes to an increasingly divided world where even the most basic rights and freedoms depend on money. In these times of resignation and despondency, let’s believe that new changes are possible.



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