Monday, March 8, 2021
Home U.S. Analysis: The stunning political power of AOC

Analysis: The stunning political power of AOC

Obviously, the most important thing here is that millions more dollars will go to Texans still struggling to find potable water and deal with the damage from last week’s deep freeze. (Ocasio-Cortez also traveled to the state over the weekend to see the situation firsthand.)

But it’s also extremely important — in terms of AOC’s political future — to note how incredible it is for a second-term House member to be able to raise so much money so quickly for a cause she chose to advocate for.

Many politicians — especially in the House — don’t (and can’t) raise $5 million in the course of a two-year election cycle. That AOC can do so by simply saying she wanted to help Texans who were hurting speaks to not only her immense national donor base but also the level of allegiance those people feel for her.

Remember this: For all the bad press money in politics gets, it remains one of the best ways to gauge loyalty and passion for a candidate. If you can get lots of people to open their wallets for you, it means they truly believe in you and what you are doing in the public space.

When you can raise $5 million for a cause — and not even one in your state or having anything to do with you — in the space of four days, well, that’s real power.

It’s that power that has even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (New York) bending over backward to make nice with AOC — and court the liberal left — in hopes of keeping her from primarying him in 2022. (She hasn’t ruled out a bid yet.)

It’s that power that makes every Democrat ambitious for national office — whether in 2024 or beyond — acknowledge that AOC is a prime mover in any presidential primary race she decides to compete in. (AOC will turn 35 just before the 2024 election, which makes her technically eligible to serve as president.)

And it’s that power that, in the near term, makes AOC her own power center within the House. Because when you can raise money in the millions over a few days, every single member of the Democratic-controlled House wants to be on your good side.

To be clear: Of course AOC didn’t raise this money to show her fundraising and political might. But that’s what it showed anyway.

The Point: No one seems to have a good grasp on what AOC wants to do next. But her ability to raise lots of money very quickly means there is very little that is out of her reach, politically speaking.

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