After the election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, certain mainstream networks began tripping over themselves to talk about how ‘radical’, ‘fringe’, and ‘socialist’ her platform was. This struck me as interesting, because in fact, her platform isn’t that radical at all: it mirrors what Americans themselves want for their country. Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the fringe; she’s mainstream America. Let’s take a look at her ‘radical’ platform, as identified by FOX News:
Now, let me blow your mind… let’s look at polling numbers from the average American. These polls are all from the last few years, and are conducted in a cross section of America. This is about as unbiased as it can get — these are links directly to poll data. Not ‘opinion’ articles or specific news outlets… just the actual polling.
Important note: all poll numbers were aggregated by The American Prospect, with all credit for their collection going to them.
AMERICANS WANT UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE:
60 percent of Americans believe “it is the federal government’s responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage.”
58 percent of the public favors replacing Obamacare with “a federally funded healthcare program providing insurance for all Americans.”
AMERICANS WANT BIG MONEY OUT OF POLITICS:
82 percent of Americans think wealthy people have too much power and influence in Washington.
69 percent think large businesses have too much power and influence in Washington.
96 percent of Americans—including 96 percent of Republicans—believe money in politics is to blame for the dysfunction of the U.S. political system.
84 percent of Americans—including 80 percent of Republicans—believe money has too much influence in politics.
78 percent of Americans say we need sweeping new laws to reduce the influence of money in politics.
73 percent of registered voters have an unfavorable opinion of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
AMERICANS WANT BIG BUSINESS WRANGLED IN TO GIVE THE LITTLE GUY A CHANCE:
78 percent of likely voters support stronger rules and enforcement on the financial industry.
65 percent of Americans think our economic system “unfairly favors powerful interests.”
59 percent of Americans—and 43 percent of Republicans—think corporations make “too much profit.”
AMERICANS ARE CLASS CONSCIOUS AND WANT TO ELIMINATE INEQUALITY WITH THE RICH:
82 percent of Americans think economic inequality is a “very big” (48 percent) or “moderately big” (34 percent) problem. Even 69 percent of Republicans share this view.
66 percent of Americans think money and wealth should be distributed more evenly (i.e. redistribution of wealth).
72 percent of Americans say it is “extremely” or “very” important, and 23 percent say it is “somewhat important,” to reduce poverty.
59 percent of registered voters—and 51 percent of Republicans—favor raising the maximum amount that low-wage workers can make and still be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, from $14,820 to $18,000.
AMERICANS KNOW THE WEALTHY ARE TAX CHEATS AND WANT THAT FIXED:
80 percent of Americans think some corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
78 percent think some wealthy people don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
76 percent believe the wealthiest Americans should pay higher taxes.
60 percent of registered voters believe corporations pay too little in taxes.
87 percent of Americans say it is critical to preserve Social Security, even if it means increasing Social Security taxes paid by wealthy Americans.
67 percent of Americans support lifting the cap to require higher-income workers to pay Social Security taxes on all of their wages.
AMERICANS WANT A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE SO THEY CAN SURVIVE:
66 percent of Americans favor raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
59 percent favor raising the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour.
63 percent of registered voters think the minimum wage should be adjusted each year by the rate of inflation.
AMERICANS WANT THEIR EMPLOYERS TO TREAT THEM FAIRLY
61 percent of Americans—including 42 percent of Republicans—approve of labor unions.
74 percent of registered voters—including 71 percent of Republicans—support requiring employers to offer paid parental and medical leave.
78 percent of likely voters favor establishing a national fund that offers all workers 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
AMERICANS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING AND WANT IT FIXED
76 percent of voters are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about climate change.
68 percent of voters think it is possible to protect the environment and protect jobs.
72 percent of voters think it is a “bad idea” to cut funding for scientific research on the environment and climate change.
59 percent of voters say more needs to be done to address climate change.
AMERICANS KNOW THAT POLICING IS OFTEN RACIALLY BIASED
57 percent of Americans believe police officers generally treat blacks and other minorities differently than they treat whites.
60 percent of Americans believe the recent killings of black men by police are part of a broader pattern of how police treat black Americans (compared with 39 percent who believe they are isolated incidents).
AMERICANS LOVE IMMIGRANTS AND WANT MORE OF THEM
68 percent of Americans—including 48 percent of Republicans—believe the country’s openness to people from around the world “is essential to who we are as a nation.” Just 29 percent say that “if America is too open to people from all over the world, we risk losing our identity as a nation.”
65 percent of Americans—including 42 percent of Republicans—say immigrants strengthen the country “because of their hard work and talents.” Just 26 percent say immigrants are a burden “because they take our jobs, housing and health care.”
64 percent of Americans think an increasing number of people from different races, ethnic groups, and nationalities makes the country a better place to live. Only 5 percent say it makes the United States a worse place to live, and 29 percent say it makes no difference.
76 percent of registered voters—including 69 percent of Republicans—support allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children (Dreamers) to stay in the country. 58 percent think Dreamers should be allowed to stay and become citizens if they meet certain requirements. Another 18 percent think they should be allowed to stay and become legal residents, but not citizens. Only 15 percent think they should be removed or deported from the country.
Go ahead and reread those platform bullet points, and compare them with the polling numbers above.
The thesis still stands.
Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the fringe; she’s mainstream America.
Acknowledge it or not, AOC represents what America actually believes, not what the pundits on major networks say.