MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: September 23, 2021

Tonight David Freedlander, contributor to Politico and New York Magazine, and the author of “The AOC Generation: How Millennials Are Seizing Power And Rewriting The Rules Of American Politics,” reveals the story behind Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's rise to political stardom.

AIRED: September 23, 2021 | 0:28:35
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH

RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND

JENNA FLANAGAN.

"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM,

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN

GANZ COONEY FUND,

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ,

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER,

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD,

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN

FAMILY,

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON,

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN

FOUNDATION.

>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO

"METROFOCUS," I'M RAFAEL BYPI

ROMAN.

IN 2018, JOSEPH CROWLEY, ONE OF

THE TOP DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS

AND ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL

ELECTED OFFICIALS IN NEW YORK

CITY WAS DEFEATED IN HIS

RE-ELECTION BID IN NEW YORK'S

14th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT BY

AN UNKNOWN 29-YEAR-OLD

BARTENDER, ALEXANDRIA

OCASIO-CORTEZ.

OCASIO-CORTEZ, WHO WENT ON TO

BECOME THE YOUNGEST WOMAN EVER

TO SERVE IN CONGRESS, IS NOW

AOC, ARGUABLY THE MOST FAMOUS

POLITICIAN IN THE COUNTRY AFTER

THE PRESIDENT.

AND THE MOST VISIBLE

REPRESENTATIVE OF A RESURGENT

LARGELY YOUNG AND VERY

PASSIONATE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT.

BUT WHO EXACTLY IS ALEXANDRIA

OCASIO-CORTEZ?

WHAT WERE THE FORCES AND WHO

WERE THE PEOPLE THAT MADE HER

UNLIKELY VICTORY AND CONSEQUENT

POLITICAL AND CULTURAL STARDOM

POSSIBLE?

AND WHERE DOES AOC AND THE AOC

GENERATION GO FROM HERE?

JOINING US NOW TO ANSWER THESE

AND OTHER QUESTIONS IS DAVID

FREEDLANDER, A CONTRIBUTOR TO

POLITICO AND "NEW YORK MAGAZINE"

AND THE AUTHOR OF "THE AOC

GENERATION: HOW MIN LEN Y'ALLS

ARE SEIZING POWER AND REWRITING

THE RULES OF POLITICS."

DAVID, THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

>> GOOD TO BE HERE.

>> DAVID, FIRST OF ALL, I WONDER

IF YOU CAN GIVE US A QUICK

EXPLANATION OF WHAT YOU MEAN BY

THE AOC GENERATION WHO IS THE

AOC GENERATION?

>> IT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

AND I THINK WHEN YOU SORT OF

TALK ABOUT GENERATIONS, IT CAN

ALWAYS BE A LITTLE MUDDLED,

RIGHT, AND SORT OF NOT

NECESSARILY A RIGOROUS WAY OF

KIND OF DESCRIBING SOCIAL

PHENOMENON.

AND I THINK WHAT I MEAN BY IT

IS, IT'S NOT JUST LIKE THE

PEOPLE WHO WERE BORN IN 1990 OR

WHATEVER, BUT IT'S REALLY FOLKS

WHO WERE SORT OF COMING INTO

POLITICS, COMING INTO THE

ELECTORATE AT AROUND THE SAME

TIME OCASIO-CORTEZ WAS, SORT OF

IN THE ERA BETWEEN, YOU KNOW,

OCCUPY WALL STREET IN 2011 AND

THE DONALD TRUMP ERA THAT WAS

SORT OF 2016 TO 2020 AND HOW

THEY SORT OF PUT DEMANDS ON THE

POLITICAL SYSTEM, BECOMING VERY

INVOLVED, VERY ENGAGED AND KIND

OF WRESTLING WITH SOME OF THE

WISDOM THAT A LOT OF FOLKS KIND

OF KNEW ABOUT AMERICAN POLITICS.

YOU KNOW, OCASIO-CORTEZ SORT OF

ANSWERED THIS QUESTION IN A WAY

HERSELF.

WHEN SHE WAS AN UNDERGRADUATE AT

BOSTON UNIVERSITY, SHE WAS ASKED

TO GIVE A SPEECH TO THE WHOLE

CAMPUS ON MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

AND IT WAS ABOUT WHAT SORT OF

MAKES A GENERATION, CAN THIS

GENERATION BE GREAT AND SHE SORT

OF ADDRESSED THAT QUESTION AND

HE SAID, THIS IS NOT -- OUR

GENERATION IS NOT JUST PEOPLE

BORN BETWEEN THE AGES OF 18 AND

35, BUT THEY'RE REALLY PEOPLE

WHO ARE SORT OF TRYING TO KIND

OF SEIZE POWER AND BE ACTIVE IN

THEIR COMMUNITIES AND IN THE

POLITICAL LIFE OF THE NATION.

>> ALL RIGHT, WELL, THE BOOK IS

NOT JUST ABOUT HER, BUT ABOUT

THEM AND THE SERIES OF QUESTIONS

THAT FOLLOW.

KIND OF MIXING THEM ALL UP.

SO, AOC.

WHO IS AOC REALLY?

I MEAN, SHE SOMETIMES DESCRIBES

HERSELF AS A WORKING CLASS

PERSON OF COLOR FROM THE BRONX,

BUT AS YOU KNOW AND AS YOU

WRITE, MANY OF HER CONSERVATIVE

ADVERSARIES DESCRIBE HER FROM

SANDY CORTEZ FROM WESTCHESTER

WHOSE FATHER OWNED AN

ARCHITECTURAL FIRM AND WHO

GRADUATED FROM BOSTON

UNIVERSITY, AS YOU MENTIONED, A

PRICEY PRIVATE UNIVERSITY.

WHICH IS IT?

>> YEAH, IT'S INTERESTING,

RIGHT?

THAT THAT'S THE KIND OF -- THAT

HAS TO BE THE CRITIQUE OF

SOMEONE, THAT IF YOU ARE, YOU

KNOW, A WORKING CLASS PERSON OF

COLOR WHO SORT OF ASCENDED THE

RANKS OF AMERICAN POLITICS, YOU

SOMEHOW HAVE TO HAVE THIS SECRET

PRIVILEGE.

I'M A POLITICAL REPORTER.

I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE FOUND

OUT THAT OCASIO-CORTEZ WAS

FAKING PARTS OF HER -- AND I DID

NOT FIND THAT AND I SEARCHED.

HER FATHER WAS AN ARCHITECT.

HE WENT TO BROOKLYN TECH, YOU

KNOW, HERE IN NEW YORK CITY,

TOOK THE SUBWAY FROM THE BRONX,

MARRIED A WOMAN FROM PUERTO

RICO, THEY LIVED IN A LARGE

PUBLIC HOUSING MIDDLE CLASS

HOUSING COMPLEX IN THE BRONX,

WHERE HE WAS THE KIND OF

RESIDENT ARCHITECT OF THAT, SO,

DOING INTERIOR AND SMALL JOBS

AND THAT KIND OF THING.

GOT CONTRACTS FROM THE CITY.

THEY ENDED UP MOVING TO

WESTCHESTER AND, YOU KNOW,

WESTCHESTER, OF COURSE, WE OFTEN

GIVE IT THIS SUBURB OF NEW YORK

AND IT CURRENTLY IS, I THINK HER

TOWN WAS NOT REALLY ONE OF THOSE

PLACES AND SHE WAS FROM THE

OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS ON THAT

TOWN, LIVING IN A VERY MODEST

HOUSE IN THIS SMALL TOWN IN

WESTCHESTER.

AND GOT SOME SCHOLARSHIP MONEY

TO GO TO THIS FAIRLY ELITE

PRIVATE UNIVERSITY, BOSTON

UNIVERSITY AND, YOU KNOW, AND

THEN KIND OF CAME BACK TO NEW

YORK, REALLY TRIED TO FIND A WAY

IN THE WORLD.

IT WAS THE DEPTHS OF THE

RECESSION.

KIND OF A STORY THAT WE'RE

FAMILIAR WITH, PEOPLE IN THEIR

YOUNG 20s ARRIVING IN NEW YORK,

TRYING TO SORT OF MAKE A GO OF

IT AND SHE SORT OF DID VARIOUS

THINGS.

SHE WORKED AT A STARTUP FOR

AWHILE, BUT IT FAILED.

SHE TRIED TO START A CHILDREN'S

PUBLISHING BUSINESS BUT IT

FAILED.

HER FATHER HAD PASSED AWAY BY

THAT POINT AND SO SHE WAS SORT

OF -- HAD SOME RESPONSIBILITIES,

I THINK SHE FELT LIKE, FOR HER

FAMILY AND ENDED UP GETTING A

JOB WAITRESSING AND BARTENDING

AT THESE RESTAURANTS AROUND

UNION SQUARE BEFORE KIND OF

DECIDING TO GO RUN FOR CONGRESS

IN A WAY THAT WAS LIKE THE

FIRST, LIKE, BIG STEPPING OUT OF

ADULTHOOD KIND OF THING.

>> LET'S TWO TO THAT.

I MEAN, WHY DID SHE DECIDE -- I

WAS INTERESTED TO FIND OUT THAT

SHE WASN'T REALLY FROM HIGH

SCHOOL OR COLLEGE A POLITICAL

ACTIVIST AND THAT POLITICS

WASN'T, YOU KNOW, SHE HADN'T SET

HER SIGHTS ON ELECTORAL POLITICS

THROUGHOUT MOST OF HER YOUNG

LIFE.

I MEAN, IT SEEMS, CORRECT ME IF

I'M WRONG, THAT IF NOT FOR THE

B

BERNIE SANDERS 2016 PRESIDENTIAL

CAMPAIGN AND DONALD TRUMP'S 2016

PRESIDENTIAL VICTORY, THE AOC

THAT WE KNOW TODAY WOULD NOT

HAVE BEEN HERE.

IS THAT CORRECT?

>> I THINK THAT'S ABSOLUTELY

CORRECT.

I MEAN, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE THIS

SORT OF ORGANIZING AND THIS

MOVEMENT HAPPENING, REALLY, I

MEAN, SHE DESCRIBES GOING TO

VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA, SHE

ACTUALLY TOOK -- SHE INTERNED

WITH TED KENNEDY IN COLLEGE AND

TOOK THE BUS HOME TO NEW YORK TO

GO VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA AND

LATER GOING ON THE COMPUTER AND

LOOKING UP AND SEEING ALL OF THE

KIND OF, LIKE, CORPORATE

DONATIONS THAT HE HAD RAKED IN

FROM GOLDMAN SACHS AND PLACES

LIKE THAT AND KIND OF FEELING A

LITTLE BIT DISGUSTED BY IT.

WHEN BERNIE SANDERS A FEW YEARS

LATER DECIDED TO RUN FOR

PRESIDENT.

HE WAS KIND OF TAPPING INTO

THAT, I THINK, DISGUST AND

DISSATISFACTION THAT MANY OF THE

LEFT FELT WITH OBAMA.

OF COURSE, THAT BECAME A

PHENOMENON THAT FEW REALLY

IMAGINED POSSIBLE.

YOU KNOW, THERE HAVE BEEN LEFT

WING CANDIDATES IN DEMOCRATIC

PRIMARIES.

NO ONE EVER DID QUITE AS WELL AS

BERNIE SANDERS HAD DONE.

IT WAS SORT OF THIS NATIONWIDE

PHENOMENON.

AND SHE ACTUALLY WENT AND

VOLUNTEERED FOR HIM AT A VERY

LOW LEVEL, BUT SHE DID DO IT IN

THE BRONX.

AND THAT KIND OF CREATED ALL OF

THIS -- HOWEVER YOU WANT TO PUT

IT, LEFT ENERGY, ESPECIALLY

AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE THAT WAS SORT

OF LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO GO,

RIGHT?

AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED AFTER,

YOU KNOW, THAT LONG DIVISIVE

PRIMARY ENDS IN 2016 IS THAT

DONALD TRUMP IS ELECTED.

AND IT IS SUCH A SORT OF SHOCK

TO THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM

THAT WHAT BERNIE HAD SORT OF

BEGUN TO CREATE WAS NOT KIND OF

EVERYWHERE.

AND EVERYONE SORT OF, I THINK,

FELT THAT KIND OF, LIKE,

REVOLUTIONARY ENERGY THAT BERNIE

HAD HELPED TO IGNITE.

>> SO LET'S TALK ABOUT

SPECIFICALLY THE RACE WITH

CROWLEY.

YOU KNOW, I -- I THINK A LOT OF

OUR VIEWER, EVEN OUR VIEWERS WHO

ARE VERY WELL INFORMED, MAY NOT

KNOW JUST HOW POWERFUL THIS MAN

WAS.

HE WAS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL

DEMOCRATS IN THE COUNTRY, RIGHT?

HE WAS THE -- THE ASSUMED

SUCCESSOR TO NANCY PELOSI AS

HEAD OF THE DEMOCRATS IN THE

HOUSE AND THEREFORE AS POTENTIAL

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE AND HERE IN

NEW YORK CITY, BECAUSE HE WAS

THE HEAD OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

IN QUEENS, A LOT OF THE OTHER

NEW YORK CITY POLITICIANS WOULD

GO TO HIM FOR HIS BLESSINGS AND

HIS SUPPORT.

HE WAS AN IMPORTANT GUY.

SO, HOW DOES THIS GUY, WHO, BY

THE WAY, THE DAY OF THE

ELECTION, YOU KNOW, HIS INTERNAL

P

POLLING HAD HIM 30% ABOVE

OCASIO-CORTEZ.

HOW DOES HE LOSE TO A

29-YEAR-OLD PART TIME BARTENDER?

>> YEAH, GREAT QUESTION.

YEAH, SO IT'S A FUNNY STORY.

I WAS GOING TO GO PROFILE HIM

FOR "NEW YORK MAGAZINE."

WE WERE GOING TO FLY AROUND THE

COUNTRY, GO TO FUND-RAISERS,

BECAUSE HE WAS GOING TO BE THE

NEXT SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE.

HE HAD BEEN ELECTED FOR 20 YEARS

IN CONGRESS, HE WAS, YOU KNOW,

OLD IRISH FAMILY, HAD NEVER

REALLY FACED A PRIMARY

CHALLENGER WHATSOEVER.

AND WE WERE GOING TO GO AROUND

THE COUNTRY AND WE WERE GOING TO

CAMPAIGN TOGETHER, I WAS GOING

TO BE THERE, THE DEMOCRATS WERE

GOING TO RETAKE THE MAJORITY AND

HE WAS GOING TO BE THE NEXT

SPEAKER, IT WAS ALL KIND OF LAID

OUT.

AND IN THE PROCESS OF REPORTING

OUT THAT STORY I MET

OCASIO-CORTEZ.

AND YOU KNOW, SHE WAS

IMMEDIATELY IMPRESSIVE IN A WAY

THAT WHEN YOU FIRST MEET

CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR OFFICE

THE FIRST TIME, THEY KIND OF

TEND TO NOT BE VERY IMPRESS

ICHLT THEY TEND TO NOT KNOW WHAT

THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT, THEY

CANNOT ANSWER QUESTIONS.

SHE DID ALL OF THAT.

SHE WAS REALLY SHARP AND POUNCED

ON THINGS.

AND WHAT ENDED UP HAPPENING, SO,

OF COURSE, THEN, YOU KNOW, SHE

ENDED UP BEATING HIM IN A HUGE

UPSET, WHICH I REALLY THINK WAS

ONE OF THE BIGGEST POLITICAL

UPSETS, REALLY IN RECENT

AMERICAN POLITICAL HISTORY.

I COULDN'T THINK OF ONE BIGGER.

AND PART OF THE STORY I TRY TO

TELL IN THE BOOK, THE REASON

THAT KIND OF CAME ABOUT WAS, YOU

COULD SORT OF TRACE THE -- THE

SORT OF ANGER REALLY BEGINNING

WITH OCCUPY WALL STREET, BUT

BERNIE SANDERS, POST-BERNIE

SANDERS, THROUGH TRUMP, THERE

WAS ALL THIS ACTIVISM, ALL THIS

EXCITEMENT AROUND LIBERAL

POLITICS AND THAT ALL OF THAT

KIND OF FORMED AROUND

OCASIO-CORTEZ AND SHE JUST -- I

MEAN, SHE CRUSHED HIM, SHE BEAT

HIM BY 18 POINTS OR SOMETHING

LIKE THAT.

AND IT WAS BECAUSE NO ONE -- YOU

KNOW, AS YOU MENTIONED, THE

CROWLEY WAS POLLING UP BY 30

POINTS, BUT NO ONE WAS AWARE OF

THIS OTHER PHENOMENON THAT WAS

HAPPENING.

ALL OF THESE PEOPLE THAT WERE

JUST SO ANGRY AT WHAT HAD

HAPPENED IN AMERICAN POLITICS

OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS,

WERE KIND OF COMING TOGETHER AND

SHE SORT OF RODE THAT WAVE TO

VICTORY.

>> AND WHO WERE THOSE PEOPLE IN

HER DISTRICT?

YOU WRITE AT ONE POINT THAT HER

SUPPORTERS CAME FROM, AND I

THINK THIS IS A QUOTE, ALL

RACES, ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS,

EDGING CASUAL LEVELS AND SOCIAL

CLASSES.

I THINK -- YOU LIVE IN HER

DISTRICT, IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN.

I'VE SPOKEN TO A LOT OF PEOPLE

FROM HER DISTRICT, I KNOW A LOT

OF PEOPLE THERE, I USED TO LIVE

CLOSE TO THAT DISTRICT, AND THEY

ALL TELL ME, TO A PERSON, THAT

HER FUNDAMENTAL SUPPORT,

CRITICAL SUPPORT, ACTUALLY CAME

FROM WHITE PROGRESSIVES WHO

MOVED TO QUEENS BECAUSE THEY

WERE PRICED OUT OF BROOKLYN AND

MAT HAT TAN, IN OTHER WORDS,

WHAT ONE CALLED THE LOW RENT

PROGRESSIVE GENTRY IF IERS OF

QUEENS.

IS THAT RIGHT?

>> OH, THAT'S 100% RIGHT.

THOSE ARE THE VOTERS -- YOU CAN

SEE HOW THOSE VOTERS WOULD BE

REALLY ANGRY AT THE STATUS QUO,

RIGHT?

I MEAN, THESE ARE FOLKS WHO HAVE

COLLEGE DEGREES, HAVE GOOD JOBS,

CAN'T AFFORD TO LIVE IN TWO OF

THE FIVE BUFR ROW BOROUGHS OF N

CITY.

AND HAD REALLY BEEN ACTIVATED BY

BERNIE SANDERS.

ALSO YOUNGER, HAVE COLLEGE DEBT,

COULDN'T AFFORD TO BUY A HOUSE.

HAD SORT OF BEEN CAUGHT UP IN

THE GREAT RECESSION.

FOR SURE, IT WAS A VERY MUCH

A -- A PHENOMENON OF

GENTRIFICATION.

I REMEMBER TALKING TO A JOE

CROWLEY CAMPAIGN OPERATIVE, HIGH

LEVEL OPERATIVE THE DAY AFTER

THE ELECTION AND HE SAID IT

QUITE WELL, THE BERNIE BROS JUST

GOT TO US, WHICH IS WHAT

HAPPENED.

IT WAS LIKE THE BERNIE SANDERS

VOTERS WHO TENDED TO NOT SHOW UP

IN MIDTERM ELECTIONS, JUST CAME

OUT IN REALLY MASSIVE WAYS FOR

HER.

>> YEAH.

THE POLICY INITIATIVE THAT AOC

HAS COME TO BE MOST ASSOCIATED

WITH IS THE GREEN NEW DEAL, I

THINK THAT'S SAFE TO SAY.

NOW SOME, BOTH OPPONENTS AND

SUPPORTERS, ARGUE THAT THE GREEN

NEW DEAL IS THE AOC GENERATION'S

VERSION OF -- IT'S THEIR WAY TO

ACHIEVE 21st CENTURY SOCIALISM

IN THIS COUNTRY.

ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU KNOW, YOU

QUOTE SOMEBODY WHO BASICALLY

SAYS THAT THEY SEE THE MORE P

POPULAR ECONOMIC ITEMS IN THE

GREEN NEW DEAL, SUCH AS THE

FEDERALLY GUARANTEED EMPLOYMENT

AS A TROJAN HORSE TO INTRODUCE A

RADICAL CLIMATE CHANGE AGENDA

THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT OTHERWISE

SUPPORT.

WHICH OF THESE IS THE GREEN NEW

DEAL, IS IT SOMETHING ELSE ALL

TOGETHER?

>> I THINK WHAT HAPPENED IS THAT

CLIMATE FOLKS HAVE ALWAYS FELT

LIKE -- THAT THEY WERE ALWAYS ON

THE DEFENSIVE, BECAUSE THE

CHOICES, THE WAY THE ISSUE WAS

ALWAYS FRAMED WAS EITHER JOBS OR

CLIMATE.

OR, IF IT'S NOT JOBS OR CLIMATE,

IT'S AT LEAST SORT OF SACRIFICE

OR CLIMATE, RIGHT?

YOU HAVE TO RECYCLE, YOU HAVE TO

NOT USE AS MUCH, YOU HAVE TO NOT

RIDE ON AIRPLANES, YOU HAVE TO,

LIKE, DO ALL THESE THINGS THAT

ARE DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE IN

THEIR LIVES TO DO AND, IN FACT,

YOU SORT OF CAN TELL VERY FEW

PEOPLE ACTUALLY VERY REALLY DO

THAT.

I DON'T KNOW THAT ANYONE THAT

DOESN'T TAKE A COMMERCIAL

AIRPLANE TRIP BECAUSE THEY'RE

WORRIED ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT.

SO, ASKING, LIKE, THE KIND OF,

GOVERNMENT TO MANDATE THAT KIND

OF BEHAVIOR IS REALLY HARD.

AND I THINK THAT WHAT THE PEOPLE

BEHIND THE GREEN NEW DEAL CAME

UP WITH IS, WHAT IF WE KIND OF

MADE IT SO IT WASN'T SORT OF,

YOU KNOW, CLIMATE MINUS, BUT IT

WAS CLIMATE PLUS.

YOU HAVE CLIMATE PLUS YOU GOT

JOBS, YOU GOT CLIMATE PLUS YOU

GOT EQUALITY, YOU GOT CLIMATE

PLUS YOU GOT ALL THESE OTHER

THINGS.

IT WAS SORT OF THE GENIUS OF

THEIR IDEA, WAS TO, LIKE, YOU

KNOW, MAKE IT A NET BENEFIT

RATHER THAN A NET LOSS.

THERE WAS SOME PROBLEMS WITH THE

ROLLOUT OF THE GREEN NEW DEAL,

AS YOU MAY RECALL, LIKE, A DRAFT

SORT OF VERSION OF IT GOT

RELEASED AND TALKED ABOUT

BANNING COWS OR SOMETHING --

>> YEAH, BANNING AIRPLANES.

WELFARE EVEN IF THEY COULD WORK,

THAT KIND OF THING, I REMEMBER.

>> RIGHT, RIGHT.

ALTHOUGH THE JOBS GUARANTEE IS

SORT OF, LIKE, QUITE NOT THAT

GREAT, IT'S FOR ABLE BODIED

PEOPLE TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE

WORKING.

AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S A HUGE

ISSUE, I THINK, FOR, LIKE,

YOUNGER VOTERS, EVEN YOUNGER

THAN OCASIO-CORTEZ -- CLIMATE IS

A CRISIS FOR THEM IN A WAY IT

ISN'T FOR OLDER FOLKS LIKE US.

THEY ARE THE ONES THAT ARE GOING

TO BE LIVING THROUGH THIS, YOU

KNOW, CHANGE IN THE WEATHER THAT

WE'RE DEALING WITH.

WE'RE IN NEW YORK TODAY, I MEAN,

IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE THAT IT'S

MID-SEPTEMBER HERE, IT FEELS

TROPICAL.

AND SO IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT TO

THEM AND THEY ENDED UP, OF

COURSE, SITTING IN NANCY

PELOSI'S OFFICE, IF YOU RECALL,

YOU KNOW, CLIMATE ACTIVISTS, AND

WHAT WAS REALLY EXTRAORDINARY

ABOUT THAT MOMENT IS THAT

OCASIO-CORTEZ JOINED THEM FOR

THAT SIT-IN.

I DON'T KNOW IF SHE HAD BEEN

SWORN IN YET.

>> NO, SHE WAS NOT SWORN IN YET.

IT'S A GUTSY MOVE.

>> YEAH.

SO SHE'S GOING IN THERE TO JOIN

THESE, LIKE, SCRUFFY YOUNG

ACTIVISTS TO SIT IN NANCY

PELOSI'S OFFICE, EVEN BEFORE SHE

GETS HER SORT OF, YOU KNOW, SEAT

ASSIGNMENT, OFFICE ASSIGNMENT IN

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

AND I THINK IT REALLY SHOWED THE

KIND OF MIND-SET THAT SHE WAS

BRING WITHING TO WASHINGTON.

>> SURE.

NOW, COULD THE GREEN NEW DEAL

HAVE ACHIEVE D THE WIDE A

ACCEPTANCE THROUGH THE

DEMOCRATIC PARTY IF NOT FOR

OCASIO-CORTEZ'S LEADERSHIP ON

THAT ISSUE?

>> NO, I MEAN, OF COURSE NOT.

A LOT OF TIMES I -- WHEN PEOPLE

ASK ME ABOUT HER, A COMMON KNOCK

ON HER AND IT'S SORT OF A FAIR

ONE, IN A WAY, SHE HASN'T REALLY

DONE ANYTHING, SHE HASN'T --

WHAT HER ACCOMPLISHMENTS, SHE

HASN'T PASSED ANYTHING, THAT'S

CERTAINLY TRUE.

SHE IS A SECOND TERM MEMBER OF

CONGRESS, SHE HAS NO SIGNATURE

LEGISLATION TO HER NAME, EVEN

THAT SAID, I DON'T THINK THERE'S

A LOT OF LEGISLATION AT ALL

PASSING RIGHT NOW, AND SO

WHATEVER, BUT WHAT SHE HAS IS

THIS STAR POWER AND SOCIAL MEDIA

SKILLS THAT REALLY KEEPS -- IT'S

HARD TO SORT OF LOOK AWAY FROM.

THE GREEN NEW DEAL, ON THE ONE

HAND, IT BECAME DIVISIVE AND

THIS THING THAT FOX NEWS AND THE

THING THE REPUBLICANS TALKED

ABOUT AND THE STAND-IN FOR, YOU

KNOW, THE COMMUNIST TAKEOVER OR

THE UNITED STATES OR SOMETHING,

BUT SOME EXTRAORDINARY NUMBER OF

DEMOCRATIC ELECTED OFFICIALS

RALLIED TO THE BANNER THAT W

WAS -- THAT WAS FOISTED BY THIS,

YOU KNOW, FIRST TERM

CONGRESSWOMAN.

I MEAN, I THINK SOMETHING LIKE

22 OUT OF 23 DEMOCRATS RUNNING

FOR PRESIDENT ENDORSED IT, YOU

KNOW, HALF THE SENATE, HALF THE

HOUSE, I MEAN, AND I THINK

THAT'S ALL JUST THE KIND OF TAP

INTO WHAT SHE HAD ALREADY

STARTED.

>> NOW, YOU DON'T WRITE ABOUT

THIS IN THE BOOK, BUT I WONDER

IF YOU KNOW WHAT AO C's TAKE IS

ON THE ODD PHENOMENON, ODD FOR

AT LEAST SOME OF US OF A CERTAIN

AGE, OF THE SO-CALLED WOKE

CORPORATIONS, WHICH INCLUDES ALL

THE MEGAMONOPOLIES, UNIVERSALLY

ADOPTING THE CULTURAL ASPECTS OF

THE OCASIO-CORTEZ GENERATION

POLITICS.

CRITICAL RACE THEORY, ET CETERA,

THEY GAVE A LOT OF MONEY TO SOME

OF THE MOST FROM AGGRESSIVE

MOMENTS, BUT YET THEY HAVE NOT

LOST ONE PENNY OF PROFIT AS A

RESULT AND THEY HAVE NOT LOST

ANY MEASURE OF POWER AS A

RESULT.

SO, IT'S THIS ODD COMBINATION OF

SEMIPROGRESSIVES AT, YOU KNOW --

WHAT DOES OCASIO-CORTEZ THINK

ABOUT THAT?

>> I DON'T KNOW EXACTLY.

I WILL SAY, YOU KNOW, SHE DIDN'T

PARTICIPATE IN THE BOOK.

I WROTE IT WITHOUT HER, WHICH

MADE ME SORT OF HAVE TO GO

DIGGING AND I DID FIND THESE

BLOG POSTS SHE HAD WRITTEN WHEN

SHE WAS IN COLLEGE ABOUT THIS

VERY ISSUE AND SHE SORT OF

EXPRESSED SOME KIND OF, YOU

KNOW, DISGUST OR DISCOMFORT WITH

THAT SORT OF, LIKE, WOKE

CORPORATISM THAT YOU DESCRIBE.

I THINK THAT THERE IS -- I MEAN,

THERE'S SORT OF TWO THINGS TO

IT.

I THINK SHE IS VERY AWARE OF THE

SORT OF -- THE ORIGINAL IMPETUS

FOR PROGRESSIVISM, FOR LEFT

POLITICS WAS INEQUALITY, WAS TO

HELP POOR PEOPLE.

AND SO SORT OF LEVEL THE PLAYING

FIELD AND TO MAKE -- NOT MAKE AN

EFFORT TO KIND OF GET DISTRACTED

BY THAT.

ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU KNOW, I

THINK THAT SHE IS NOT A -- LIKE,

SHE'S NOT A SCOLD, WHICH I THINK

SOME PEOPLE ON THE LEFT CAN

OCCASIONALLY BE.

YOU AND I ARE TALKING, I THINK

IT WAS JUST THIS WEEK, RIGHT,

THAT SHE APPEARED AT THE MET

GALA IN THIS DRESS THAT SAID

"TAX THE RICH" ON IT.

AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE REALLY

UPSET BY THAT.

EVEN A LOT OF LEFTISTS WERE

REALLY UPSET BY THAT.

BUT I THINK HER THING IS, LIKE,

YOU GOT TO HAVE A KIND OF A

LITTLE BIT OF FUN AND YOU GET TO

KIND OF LIVE IN THE WORLD AND

YOU DON'T HAVE TO, LIKE, SPEND

ALL YOUR EVENINGS, YOU KNOW,

GOING TO SOCIALIST WORKERS

MEETINGS.

>> NOW, YOU KNOW, PIGGY BACKING

ON THAT, WHATEVER THE EXPRESSION

IS, YOU KNOW, AT ONE POINT IN

THE BOOK, YOU QUOTE PART OF A

PHONE CONVERSATION THAT AOC HAD

WITH DSA ACTIVISTS AND

ORGANIZERS AND THIS IS WHAT SHE

TOLD ME, EDITED BY ME TO SAVE A

LITTLE BIT.

THIS MOVEMENT IS ABOUT MAKING

SURE THAT WE ARE REALLY REACHING

OUT AND MAKING THIS THE MOST

INVITING WAY OF POLITICS THAT IS

MOST INSPIRING TO MOST PEOPLE IN

THIS COUNTRY.

AND THAT IS THE POSTURE WE NEED

TO HAVE OR WE WILL NOT WIN.

SO, IT'S POSSIBLE TO BE BOTH

REVOLUTIONARY AND ALSO CREATE AN

OPEN ENOUGH POSTURE WHERE PEOPLE

ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE

WILLING TO BUY IN, CLOSED QUOTE.

SHE WAS TALKING TO DSA AND YOU

WRITE IN THE BOOK EARLIER ABOUT

THE DSA CONVENTION VIDEOS, THE

2018 DSA CONVENTION WHICH SHOW,

YOU KNOW, SOME PEOPLE CONSIDERED

IT, YOU KNOW, KIND OF A SPOOF OF

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, SOME

PEOPLE COMPARED IT TO A MONTY

PYTHON SKIT.

IT WITH WAS LITTLE -- SO, I

WONDER IF SHE WAS KIND OF MILDLY

TELLING THEM, LOOK, YOU KNOW, WE

HAVE TO TALK LIKE REGULAR PEOPLE

TALK.

IF YOU WANT TO BE INVITING TO

WORKING CLASS PEOPLE, OF ALL

RACES, WHO WEREN'T COLLEGE

EDUCATED, WE GOT TO TALK THEIR

TALK.

WAS SHE KIND OF EFED A

MONNENISHING THEM IN THIS

CONVERSATION?

>> I THINK SHE WAS.

YOU KNOW, THOSE DSA MEETINGS,

ESPECIALLY BEFORE, YOU KNOW,

BEFORE 2016, I MEAN, PEOPLE WHO

WENT TO THEM CAN SAY THAT THEY

WERE JUST INTER MINABLE.

THEY WOULD BE HAVING THESE

DEBATES ABOUT THINGS THAT

HAPPENED IN THE 1930s AND WHAT

THE PROPER PHRASE WAS AND, YOU

KNOW, SORT OF COMPARISON OF WHAT

TRACKS YOU HAVE READ AND, YOU

KNOW, I WAS AT THAT DSA

CONVENTION IN 2018 AND IT WAS --

IT WAS MIND-NUMBING.

AND IT WASN'T JUST THAT IT

WAS -- YOU'RE CONSTANTLY WORRIED

THAT YOU WERE GOING TO SAY

SOMETHING THAT WAS THE WRONG

THING WHEN YOU'RE TALKING TO

SOMEONE.

BUT WHAT STRUCK ME ABOUT IT WAS

THAT THERE'S ALL OF THIS TIME

SPENT ON FIGURING OUT, LIKE,

WHAT THE -- WHAT THE SORT OF

PROCESSES AND RULES WERE GOING

TO BE AND I WAS SOMEBODY WHO HAD

NEVER ATTENDED ONE OF THOSE FOR.

I THOUGHT THEY WERE FIGURING THE

PROCESSES AND RULES FOR THE DSA

FOR THE NEXT YEAR OR TWO.

THEY WERE FIGURING THEM OUT FOR

THAT WEEKEND CONVENTION.

YOU KNOW, LIFE IS SHORT, LIKE,

THERE IS WORK TO BE DONE.

AND WHAT DID WE DO?

LET'S JUST GET THROUGH THIS SO

WE CAN MOVE ON WITH WHAT WE'RE

HERE FOR, WHICH IS --

>> BUT SHE'S RIGHT, SHE SAYS,

YOU KNOW, A PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT

IS NOT GOING TO BE IT ON THAT.

>> NO.

>> SHE'S GOING TO CONFEREVINCE

TO MOVE AWAY FROM THAT.

>> WHEN SHE WAS ELECTED, PEOPLE

LUMPED HER IN WITH THE DSA, AND

SHE WAS BUT SORT OF WASN'T.

I CAN'T REMEMBER NOW IF SHE'S

STILL ACTUALLY AN ACTIVE MEMBER.

IT'S IN THE BOOK, I JUST DON'T

RECALL OFFHAND, BUT LIKE, SHE

WAS GOING TO DSA MEETINGS

BECAUSE, LIKE, A LOT OF YOUNG

PEOPLE IN 2016 AND 2017, WERE

GOING TO DSA MEETINGS.

AND THEY WERE ALL THERE.

LIKE, NONE OF THEM HAD BEEN

THERE A FEW MONTHS PRIOR.

AND SO SHE WAS TRYING TO TAP

INTO SOME OF THAT ENERGY BUT SHE

WAS NOT EVER NECESSARILY, LIKE,

A TRUE BELIEVER IN THAT

PARTICULAR CAUSE OR WAY OF

ORGANIZING AND I THINK SHE WAS

TELLING THEM, YOU KNOW, LIKE,

WE -- SHE'S DONE OTHER THINGS

SINCE THEN.

I HEARD OTHER PHONE CALLS WITH

HER WHEN SHE TOLD THEM, LIKE,

THIS KIND OF POLITICS IS NOT

GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL IF WE

ARE -- IF WE.

>> Reporter: ARE ALIENATING

OTHER PEOPLE.

>> I KNOW A CATHOLIC MONSIGNOR

THAT HAD A CONVERSATION WITH HER

AND SHE WAS FLOORED BY HOW

PERSONABLE AND HOW MUCH SHE

WANTED TO OPEN UP AND ENGAGE IN

A CONVERSATION ABOUT THINGS THAT

SHE PROBABLY DIDN'T AGREE WITH.

SO, THAT'S SOMETHING.

FINALLY DAVID, WE HAVE LESS THAN

TWO MINUTES, YOU WRITE THAT AOC

BUSTED OUT OF THE BOUNDS OF

BEING MERELY A POLITICAL FIGURE

TO BEING A CULTURAL ONE, THAT'S

INDISPUTABLE.

I MEAN, I WOULD SAY THAT SHE IS

IN THE CATEGORY OF THE

TRANSFORMATION LIKE THE BEATLES,

LIKE ELVIS, LIKE BRUCE

SPRINGSTEEN.

IT WAS THAT DRAMATIC, THAT

TRANSFORMATION.

DO YOU KNOW HOW THAT HAS

EFFECTED HER PERSONALLY?

HOW HAS SHE BEEN ABLE TO KEEP

GROUNDED AND BALANCED?

>> WHAT YOU SAY IS REALLY TRUE.

I MEAN, WHEN I -- SHE WAS

ELECTED, I WAS IN A SURF SHOP IN

COASTAL NORTH CAROLINA AND THERE

WERE STICKERS OF HER, YOU KNOW?

MY -- SHE BECAME A SUPERSTAR

OVERNIGHT.

I THINK IT'S REALLY HARD, I

MEAN, I THINK THAT IS A KIND OF,

LIKE, WHAT THIS CULTURE DOES TO

PEOPLE IN A WAY, IT'S ALMOST

INHUMAN.

SHE WENT TO BED OBSCURE ONE

NIGHT AND BECAME ONE OF THE MOST

FAMOUS PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY IF

NOT THE WORLD THE NEXT DAY.

AND I THINK IT'S BEEN HARD.

I THINK SHE HAS TO HAVE SECURITY

THAT SHE DIDN'T USED TO HAVE.

EVERYBODY'S WATCHING HER MOVE,

YOU KNOW, HER NEXT MOVE.

SHE TALKS ABOUT SOMETIMES NOT

SURE SHE WANTS TO BE IN POLITICS

ANYMORE.

I DON'T THINK THAT'S TRUE, BUT

YOU COULD SEE HOW THIS MAY NOT

BE THE LIFE FOR HER AS IT WOULD

BE FOR ANYONE.

>> ALL RIGHT.

I THINK WE'RE JUST ABOUT DONE

WITH THE TIME AND I WANT TO MAKE

SURE I PLUG THE BOOK, IT'S "THE

AOC JEB RATION: HOW MILLENNIALS

ARE SEIZING POWER AND REWRITING

THE RULES OF AMERICAN POLITICS."

DAVID, IT'S A GOOD BOOK.

I CERTAINLY HOPE PEOPLE PICK IT

UP AND READ IT.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US

TODAY.

>> THIS WAS A LOT OF FUN.

I APPRECIATE IT.

>>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE

POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR

WACHENHEIM III,

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

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THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN

GANZ COONEY FUND,

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ,

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER,

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD,

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN

FAMILY,

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON,

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