The US Midterm election results may still be coming in, but one thing is for sure so far, Trump will lose his hold on the House of Representatives. While the republicans are keeping their grip on the Senate, the Democrat majority in the House is a big win for liberals, with multiple states breaking records for early voter turnouts as tons of celebrities push for people to get out and vote in these historically low turnout mid-term elections.
One breakout star of the newly expanded electorate? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The youngest woman ever to be elected to the House of Congress, she's taken New York from long-standing incumbent Joe Crowley in what was described as 'the biggest upset of the 2018 elections so far' by Time magazine. Here's your rundown of everything you need to know about her, and it's all exactly why we love her...
1. She’s not intimidated by Trump
Since her policies aren't exactly in line with Trump's, she's up for a tough fight on many of the bigger issues like immigration and gun control. However, she has faith that she can handle a fight with the current president.
In response to a question about whether or not she would be nicer to Donald Trump than former New York Congressman Joe Cowley, she said 'I don't think he knows how to deal with a girl from the Bronx,' during an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
She also supported his impeachment back in June, saying 'I think that, you know, we have the grounds to do it,' citing his violations of the Emoluments Clause which prevents federal government from granting titles of nobility, and restricts government members from receiving gifts, emoluments, offices or titles from foreign states without the consent of the US Congress.
2. She wants to abolish ICE
Supporting a 'path to citizenship' for immigrants who enter the US legally and illegally, Cortez is the antithesis of current immigration policies spouted by Trump that dehumanise people and seperate children from their families. She wants to abolish the extremely harsh Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), calling it 'a product of the Bush-era Patriot Act suite of legislation' and 'an enforcement agency that takes on more of a paramilitary tone every single day.'
3. She’s all about fighting for the disenfranchised
‘I knew that if we were going to win, the way that progressives win on an unapologetic message is by expanding the electorate,' she said of her campaign strategy, 'That's the only way that we can win strategically. It's not by rushing to the center. It's not by trying to win spending all of our energy winning over those who have other opinions. It's by expanding the electorate, speaking to those that feel disenchanted, dejected, cynical about our politics, and letting them know that we're fighting for them.;
4. She’s for introducing Medicare for all
Cortez believes that heath care is 'a human right' and wants a single-payer healthcare system, with a single government insurer ensuring that every American has insurance.
'Almost every other developed nation in the world has universal healthcare,' she says on her campaign website, 'It's time the United States catch up to the rest of the world in ensuring all people have real healthcare coverage that doesn't break the bank.'
5. She campaigns for tighter gun control
'Supporting common-sense gun legislation is necessary for any politician who claims to care about the lives of constituents,' she says on her campaign website. Supporting a ban of assault weapons, she has also campaigned to have domestic abusers and stalkers to surrender firearms, mandate and improve universal background checks for firearms purchases, plus ensure congresspeople can't take money from gun lobbies or private equity companies that invest in the firearms industry.
6. She was very much the underdog
'Women like me aren't supposed to run for office', she wrote in a Facebook post back in 2017. ' I wasn’t born into a rich or powerful family. My dad died when I was a teenager. I’ve waitressed my way through hard times and dealt with disappointment. The dress I'm wearing is from a thrift shop. The ring on my hand is my mother’s - a reminder of every floor she's mopped so that her daughter could have a chance.'
Describing herself as working class, she has been open about how unlikely she was to be in her position today. She felt very much like the rest of us do about running for office, that it's only possible for the wealthy and powerful. However, after visiting those affected by human rights violations in North Dakota, she says she saw people 'putting their whole lives and everything that they had on the line for the protection of their community' and decided to do the same for her own community.
7. She was heavily underestimated by the media until she won
Her underdog status was so much so that she was relatively ignored by the media until the day she won the primaries against Joe Cowley. Dubbed a 'media failure' by Margaret Sullivan, who said the ignorance was thanks to archaic ideas that a campaigns viability depends on it's total fundraising (for which she had very little), Cortez didn't even have a Wikipedia page until the day of her election.
It all goes to prove how much work she did behind the scenes to garner votes and get her name out there without any help.
8. She only spent 10% of her opponent's campaign budget in the primaries and still won
In her first election, she unseated a 10-term congressman, Joe Crowley. Three weeks before the election she was 36 points behind him, yet she won by 15 points. This is all despite the fact that she only spent $127,000 while Crowley spent $1.09 million.
'You can't really beat big money with more money,' she said,' You have to beat them with a totally different game.'
9. She’s the youngest woman to be elected to the US House of Representatives
'I have been told to wait my turn,' she said in a Facebook post last year, 'that I'm not savvy enough, connected enough, experienced enough, that I say too much for a political candidate.'
However, her age is likely what brought out all of the disenfranchised voters and encouraged more demographics than ever to get involved in smaller elections. On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert she spoke about teenagers approaching her after the primaries to say they voted for her, '19 years old and voting in an off-year midterm primary election?' she said, highlighting just how unlikely that typically is.
10. She supports tuition-free public college
Campaigning for tuition-free public college and trade school, she also supports a one-time policy to cancel student debt and 'liberate generations of Americans trapped in student loan debt'.
''A policy of debt cancellation could boost real GDP by an average of $86 billion to $108 billion per year,' her campaign website says, 'Over the 10-year forecast, the policy generates between $861 billion and $1,083 billion in real GDP (2016 dollars).'
'For the cost of the GOP's tax bill, we could forgive ALL the student loan debt in the United States,' she said
11. She wants to end the privatization of prisons
Crediting her cousins experience with law enforcement, who she says was 'caught in the webbed threads of poverty, geography and lack of opportunity during the fever pitch of 1990s mass incarceration', and served time in prison, for which she does not state. However, it was seeing how he was treated in prison that informed her support for ending private prisons and detention centres, the release of those incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses, the end of cash bail, and automatic, independent investigations each & every time an individual is killed by law enforcement. She also supports the federal legalization of marijuana.
12. She’s a beacon of hope that once radical liberal ideas are now mainstream
Working for Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign, she also campaigned alongside him in July 2018 for James Thompson in Kansas. Both attending a rally together for Thompson, the crowd due 4,000 with the venue needed to be moved and some sat on the floor during the rally. Crediting Cortez' attendance for the popularity, The New Yorker dubbed her success proof that Sander's policies once being considered radical is a thing of the past, with liberal policies now 'part of the mainstream'.