Alexandria ocasio-cortez platform what does the dsa-backed candidate believe

With the exception of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and perhaps Cynthia Nixon, 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the most prominent socialist in America. While Nixon’s fame as an actress and Sanders’ tenure in the Senate predate the resurgence of socialism in America, the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez platform has become synonymous with the rise of socialism in American political life.

Ocasio-Cortez was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America and she was the first DSA-endorsed candidate to break through in the 2016 midterm primaries after she defeated longtime incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th district. It is unproductive, however, to view American socialism and DSA as monolithic. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez platform: Everything you need to know


There are active disagreements on a number of issues within DSA, and in fact, DSA and Ocasio-Cortez diverge on several issues. While all socialists believe in a class struggle between the rich and the poor, fighting oppression resulting from factors like race, class, and sexual orientation, and ownership of the means of production by workers, they often have different strategic ideas of what that can look like in our current political moment.

And while Fox News might engage in scaremongering around her political beliefs and those to the left of Ocasio-Cortez might express frustration that her stances don’t go far enough, an examination of her positions reveals that she at once represents a radical shift in American politics and presents a set of ideas that are not so far off from the existing progressive wing of the Democratic party.

On her website, instead of the heading “Healthcare” Ocasio-Cortez uses “ Medicare for All .” When Ocasio-Cortez arrives in Congress, she will be one of the most outspoken, unequivocal supporters of Medicare for All. Unlike some watered-down versions of universal healthcare floating around Washington, Ocasio-Cortez backs a system that would include “full dental, vision, and mental healthcare” and would allow “all people in the US to buy into a universal healthcare system.”

Her father died after a prolonged battle with small-cell carcinoma in 2008. She told Rolling Stone about what it’s like to “have medical debt, but you also have credit card debt for the things that the medical debt doesn’t cover.” She added, “Unlike most members of Congress, I know what it’s like to be making $30 or $40K and have to pay almost $200 bucks a month for an $8,000 deductible.”

Ocasio-Cortez made national headlines when she took time during the home stretch of her campaign to visit an ICE detention center on the Mexican border. Abolishing ICE has been a centerpiece of her immigration platform from early in her candidacy, and as a Latinx woman representing a largely Latinx district (New York’s 14th is 60 percent Latinx and 40 percent speak Spanish as their primary language), we can expect that she will continue to frame immigration as a signature issue in office.

Ocasio-Cortez begins describing her immigration platform by saying, “It’s time to abolish ICE, clear the path to citizenship, and protect the rights of families to remain together.” She goes on to compare the inhumane treatment of immigrants today to pre-Patriot Act immigration enforcement by INS and points out that today, ICE is not under the jurisdiction of the DOJ.

I’m starting to see, particularly, other congressional candidates say: ‘Let’s return to the INS.’ And that I want to make sure is not correct either. This is not about going back to the INS. This is really about, in some ways, we need to go all the way back to the root of our immigration policy to begin with… I think to reimagine our immigration services as part of an economic engine, as part of an accommodation to our own foreign policy aims and, where necessary, enforcement of serious crimes like human trafficking and so on.

A federal jobs guarantee is one of Ocasio-Cortez’s signature economic priorities. For her, this would guarantee of a $15 minimum wage, full healthcare, and child/sick leave. While there is some support for a jobs guarantee on the left, leftists policy analysts like Matt Bruening have been critical of jobs guarantees for a variety of reasons: foremost among them being the requirement of “work” in an era of increased automation.

Her other major economic proposals represent a more unified vision from the left. Ocasio-Cortez wants to restore the Glass-Steagall Act and vigorously regulate Wall Street, she rejects the idea of a bank that is “too big to fail,” and she wants to revitalize the postal service by adding banking functions to the USPS, a policy proposal that generally enjoys approval from the left.

In terms of domestic policy, Ocasio-Cortez is in line with the broader left, however, she has received criticism from left-wing organizations, and specifically members of DSA, for her foreign policy. While DSA fully supports Palestinian liberation and the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement against Israeli occupation, Ocasio-Cortez has sometimes played both sides of the issue. It is worth noting that Bernie Sanders has faced similar criticism .

On other foreign policy matters, Ocasio-Cortez is more closely aligned with left-wing orthodoxy. She is a staunch critic of what she views as a colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico (where she has relatives). She has outlined a five-point plan that would mark a sweeping shift in the U.S. relationship with Puerto Rico, including a “Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico” that would involve “helping the island not only recover from Hurricane Maria but thrive with modern infrastructure and renewable energy systems.”

“It’s now time to expand our national education system to include tuition-free public college and trade school,” Ocasio-Cortez writes, kicking off one of the most progressive higher education plans in American politics. In addition to tuition-free college, she also supports a “one-time policy of student debt cancellation” which involves federal loan forgiveness and the buy back of privately owned loans. She argues that such a movement would stimulate the economy, boosting GDP by hundreds of billions of dollars.