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Women in Politics

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is changing the face of US politics - here's how

She made history last week.

A NEARLY NINE-year-old clip resurfaced on January 3, drawing even more attention to one of the most talked-about politicians in Washington.

The short clip was used as a method to attack the politician in question and the issue quickly became viral news.

vanity fair Vanity Fair / Instagram Vanity Fair / Instagram / Instagram

The politician in question is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a name that if you haven’t heard already, you’ll be sure to be hearing a lot more of soon.

In May of last year, a campaign video that Ocasio-Cortez released got voters, not only in her district of the Bronx and Queens in New York City talking, but excited political onlookers across America who believed a new voice in US politics was emerging.

Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office.

At the age of just 28 at the time, Ocasio-Cortez was the first person to challenge Democratic Caucus Chair, Joe Crowley, in a Democratic primary since 2004, the man said to be the fourth most powerful democrat, so naturally, people were intrigued.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / YouTube

Over the course of the campaign, Crowley’s team are said to have spent roughly $3.4 million to retain his position, in comparison to Ocasio-Cortez’ $194,000 campaign bill.

With three weeks to go until the polls opened, Ocasio-Cortez looked sure to fulfil the fate predicted by those who doubted a ‘young, inexperienced woman’ could take on a candidate like Crowley with the New Yorker lagging behind by 36 points.  

However, on June 26, Ocasio-Cortez celebrated an incredible win receiving 57.13% of the votes, gaining 51 points in the polls in the final three weeks before voting closed.

Guardian News / YouTube

Her victory was hailed “the biggest upset of the 2018 elections” by Time, while The New York Times said Crowley’s loss was “the most significant loss for a Democratic incumbent in more than a decade, and one that will reverberate across the party and the country”.

After that day, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a name that featured on the footers of most news broadcasts, the billing for many talkshows and across everyone’s newsfeed.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert / YouTube

However, she faced growing criticism from conservative media outlets like Fox News.

Ocasio-Cortez has said that she feels there is a double standard in the media’s coverage of her, comparing her rise in the political ranks to that of former Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan who was elected to congress at the age of 28, and the differences in the way they were treated.

Despite all that, the now 29-year-old went on to defeat the Republican nominee Anthony Pappas in the general election in November with 78% of the vote.

But the Bronx native’s name did not disappear from headlines then.

Footage of Ocasio-Cortez speaking with and encouraging climate change protesters outside of the officer of then-House Minority Leader, Democrat Nancy Pelosi caused debate, with climate change-deniers criticising the elected-Congresswoman. 

The clips of the politician quickly went viral, and many progressives praised her vocal support of ‘Green New Deal’, a platform created to tackle climate change while encouraging economic growth.

TIME / YouTube

On January 3, Ocasio-Cortez earned her place in the history books as she became the youngest-ever female member of Congress and stood alongside a newly formed Congress that includes more women and women of colour than ever before.

Despite such a momentous occasion, many outlets chose to criticise the Congresswoman based on – prepare for eye-rolls – her appearance.

Yes, after entering into a race many considered impossible to win, closing the gap on her opponent before winning by a comfortable majority and not only delighting a generation of politically-woke onlookers but inspiring those disillusioned by the political system, Ocasio-Cortez was still belittled to nothing more than a headline about the type of earrings she chose to wear and the colour of her lipstick.

Opening Day of the 116th Congress Ron Sachs Ron Sachs

Ocasio-Cortez arrived for the swearing-in ceremony in a white pantsuit, said to be in honour of the women of the suffrage movement.

But it was her gold hoops and red lipstick that got people talking.

The Congresswoman responded to the trolling with what is becoming her signature move – a Twitter shutdown.

Posting online to her 2.1million followers, she said:

Next time someone tells Bronx girls to take off their hoops, they can just say they’re dressing like a Congresswoman.

Tweet by @Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Twitter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Twitter / Twitter

Despite Ocasio-Cortez’ clear ‘zero f**ks given’ policy, that hasn’t stopped many trying to embarrass and discredit her.

A nine-year-old clip of the New Yorker dancing in a remake of a clip from the 80s movie The Breakfast Club resurfaced in the last week with one person tweeting:

“Here is America’s favourite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is…”

The Congresswoman was branded a “slut” by some while others suggested she “go dance on a stage that has a pole”.

The hateful (and simply ridiculous) comments were met with more in defense of Ocasio-Cortez, as many pointed out how the video only acted as a reminder of their love for her.

But, in what is slowly becoming an iconic tweet with nearly 20 million views and 800,000 likes, Ocasio-Cortez shut down the naysayers yet again, saying:

I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous.

Wait till they find out Congresswoman dance too!

The clip of Ocasio-Cortez showed her dancing and lip-syncing as she walks into her office on Capitol Hill.

Tweet by @Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Twitter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Twitter / Twitter

And another round goes to Ocasio-Cortez. 

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