Should Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez run for President in 2024? I say yes.
I’m not close to her or any of her inner team, so this could be no more than a voice crying in the wilderness, but it’s not too early for a draft AOC movement. As much as I wish we had a different way of electing people that didn’t require two years or so of campaigning, I think in this case that AOC deciding soon, if she hasn’t already, to go for it and start in on doing all the things needed for a successful campaign would be the right thing to do.
What do I mean by “successful campaign?”
Best would be her becoming the Democratic Party nominee and then President-elect on November 5, 2024. That would be a very big deal however it happened, by her defeating Biden in the primaries if he runs, or winning out over a likely big field of competitors if he doesn’t. But there are other successes short of that which are worth the tremendous, but exciting, effort that this would be.
A big one would be motivating tens of millions of young people, Generation Z and Millennials. These young and youngish people are the most progressive generations compared to older ones. Their coming out to the polls this year in the battleground states in bigger than expected numbers was a major reason the Republican “red wave” didn’t happen. Their active and massive involvement in politics, both electoral and non-electoral, is absolutely key to progressive change on a wide swath of issues. So whether AOC wins the DP nomination or not, her stepping out and giving leadership in this way would have huge positive impacts.
In my view, this political impact would be almost as important as an actual victory on November 5. Our situation in the USA and the world is very dire, with the triple, severe crises of climate, democracy and deepening racial/economic inequality, existential threats that call for actions, organizing and risk-taking at a qualitatively higher level.
AOC making this move would be a way to keep building upon the progressive, massive movement-building generated by the Bernie Sanders campaigns in 2016 and 2020, and the Elizabeth Warren 2020 campaign. It would be to the left of a Joe Biden campaign, much more consistently progressive on the issues, while, I would expect, making clear that whomever the Democratic nominee is, if not her, she will support her/him given the certainty of Trump/Desantis/another right-winger as the Republican nominee.
Would AOC and those supporting her be attacked by corporate Democrats? Probably, though given the Democratic need for progressive votes, I’d expect there to be some reluctance to do so among more than a few of the politicians and media figures who toe that line. If Biden announces that he plans to run for reelection before an AOC announcement, there’d likely be much more public criticism than if he decides not to do so.
Think for a minute about what things will be like if Biden announces he intends to run again and neither AOC nor any other leading progressive steps forward. Without the political power and impact of an active campaigner traveling the country, speaking to hundreds and thousands of people at mass rallies, utilizing social media and appearing on mass media, it’ll be as if what Bernie (and Elizabeth) did was an aberration, in the past, no longer needed.
There is a need, a deep, deep need. The USA and world needs the AOC risk-taker of 2018, coming from seemingly out of nowhere to take on the number four Democratic Party leader in the House, winning despite overwhelming odds, and continuing to inspire and stand up ever since, winning two more times in 2020 and 2022.
Yes, it’s time for AOC for President!
Ted Glick has been a progressive organizer, activist and writer since 1968 and a climate justice organizer since 2003. He is the author of the recently published books, Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution. More info can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.