AOC on Why She Triggers People: Political System Not Designed for People Like Us

By Melanie Arter | February 19, 2020 | 3:12pm EST
(Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

( – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told ABC’s “The View” on Wednesday that she triggers people, because the political system is designed for rich men, not people of color, young people or working people to succeed.

Co-host Joy Behar: “Let me talk about you for a second because you are a star yourself. It's almost like you're running. The media gives -- 

AOC: For re-election. 

Behar: Yeah, but I'm talking about president, and the media gives you a lot of attention, and yet you're very polarizing for some reason. Some people love you, and some people don't love you. I mean, we have that problem ourselves but since you're -- I mean, it goes with the territory, really, and we all accept it, but you trigger people. Why do you think you do that, and how does it manifest? 

AOC: I think there's a couple of reasons. One, before people even knew who I was, like five minutes after I won my primary, it was the apocalypse on Fox News.  

Behar: Why? 

AOC: I think it's because our political system is not designed for people like us. They're not designed for working people to succeed, for young people, for women, for people of color. It's not particularly welcoming, and historically to have someone like that ascend, especially when I was running against someone who was the antithesis of those things. 

Behar: To ascend so rapidly. 

AOC: Right. It's upending but also I think it's because our entire political system revolves, frankly, around rich men and rich men are not the center of my universe. Working families are, and I think that is controversial. 

Behar: You have that in common with Bernie Sanders. 

AOC: Absolutely. 

Behar: That's why you're on his team. Makes sense. 

Co-host Whoopi Goldberg: You know, I was very happy when you were elected because I thought it was a great step in a good direction, and then you lost me because it felt like you were saying to people like me that I was too old and didn't do enough. 

AOC: Oh, no. 

Goldberg: Well, that's what it sounded like. And so that has bothered me because I feel like I love young people. I was once one, but you're on my shoulders. 

AOC: Absolutely. Absolutely. 

Goldberg: And we have carried this fight. People like Nancy Pelosi who was the only chick in the room for years and madam Feinstein who was the only chick in the room for years and had to deal with all of that stuff, and to sort of hear it sound like you were dismissing us, bothered the hell out of me. 

AOC: Of course. 

Co-host Meghan McCain: She's been very upset about it. 

Goldberg: I've been very upset about it for a long time, so do you think maybe they misunderstood what you were saying? Did I misunderstand what you were saying? Because I read the blurb on the website, so maybe you can clarify.

AOC: And I appreciate you sharing that with me because I think -- 

Goldberg: I figured everybody else already probably had. 

AOC: I appreciate you sharing that with something and I think that's something that we have to model more in politics. You know, I work very closely with my sister Rashida Tlaib, and one of the things that she says is we are not divided. We are disconnected. The way that we connect is by sharing, honestly, our takes with each other. That being said, first of all, I think there's a lot of incentive to blow up disagreements in the party as like huge fights because I think it's important for us all to recognize, and we do this in our rallies, to recognize the people who have been in this fight to allow us to have this window as we do right now. Nancy Pelosi, that's mama bear of the Democratic Party. 

But also, women like Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, Maxine Waters, my chairman, Elijah Cummings, may he rest in peace and in power. Especially, I sat on his committee, in the oversight committee, and he did so much to center us and uplift us, and that is so unusual in a place that revolves around seniority. So I think it's important to say that but also to say that part of, I think, youth and culture, it's always been seen and cast as rebellious, but ultimately, we are not a moment that is disconnected from our past. We are part of a long movement of ancestors and elders that we should always acknowledge. 


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