Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), better known as “AOC” is one of the most popular and well-known members of Congress. She has risen to a high level of notoriety and influence in an extremely short period of time, since she was first elected in 2018.
AOC is extremely likely to run for president in 2024. She has a high level of support from multiple factions of the Democratic Party, including progressives and moderates, along with support from many leftists. AOC also has extremely high notoriety which will allow her to bring in millions of dollars in fundraising.
Can she run? AOC was born on October 13, 1989, which would make her 35 years old on November 5, 2024, which will be election day. To run for president, the Constitution requires a candidate to be 35 years old or older. AOC would be constitutionally eligible to run for president in that year.
AOC Has To Defeat Biden Or Harris For The Nomination
To secure the nomination of the Democratic Party, AOC would have to defeat President Joe Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris. Historically it has been difficult for an outside challenger to get the nomination from a sitting president or vice president. Sen. Ted Kennedy failed in his attempt to challenge President Jimmy Carter in 1976, while Sen. Bill Bradley failed when he ran against Al Gore in 2000.
Running against an incumbent party leader can be very divisive and lead to long-term rifts in the party. Many believe that Kennedy’s challenge to Carter was a major contributor to his loss that fall in the election against Ronald Reagan.
AOC would need to use her popularity and large platform to challenge the fundraising of a sitting president or vice-president. In the 2019-2020 campaign cycle, she raised $18,900,657, mostly from donors who gave her $200 or less. AOC’s fundraising was well above 95% of other members of the House and was closer to the type of money raised by party leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
If she mounted a presidential campaign, AOC would have a large group of people willing to donate to her campaign. Historically, progressive challengers who appeal to grassroots supporters against an “establishment” candidate have raised a lot of money.
When he ran against Sec. Hillary Clinton in 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama outraised her even though she was a more well-known candidate. While his campaign was not successful, in 2020, Sen. Bernie Sanders raised more in the Democratic primary than Biden.
AOC Has To Appeal To Moderates, Liberals And Conservatives
AOC is part of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, particularly “The Squad” in the House originally made up of herself. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). She also is a political ally of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who she supported in the 2020 Democratic primary. Most notably, AOC proposed The Green New Deal, which is a package of laws designed to fight climate change.
Thanks to her voting record and policy proposals, AOC has attracted a lot of support from progressive voters.
But to win the nomination, she would need more than her base of progressive support. She would have to convince moderate Democrats and even conservative Democrats to support her. While she does not have to win a majority of these groups thanks to her popularity with progressive voters, she would still need to attract a significant portion of them.
President Biden and Vice President Harris are extremely popular with those factions of the Democratic Party, and AOC would need to run a campaign that convinces them to drop their support.
Negative: AOC Is A Target Of The Right
AOC’s popularity and visibility has made her a frequent target of attacks from Republican elected officials and conservative outlets. For instance, in a 42-day period in 2019, AOC was mentioned on the conservative Fox News Channel every single day and in fact was mentioned at least 3,181 times in that very short period.
Democrats may worry that AOC is too much of a lightning rod for negative attacks to be a strong presidential candidate. She would have to demonstrate to primary voters that she can handle Republican attacks while even attracting some Republican and Republican-leaning voters.
AOC Is A Proven Election Winner
AOC has never lost an election that she has run in. In 2018 she ran her first race for office. In a surprise primary victory, she defeated the incumbent who held the congressional seat in New York’s 14th Congressional district. Despite being the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, AOC beat Rep. Joe Crowley by a margin of 57.13% to 42.5%. She won the general election that year with 78% of the vote.
She performed even better in the 2020 election. She won the Democratic primary against former CNBC host Michelle Caruso-Cabrera by a margin of 74.6% to 18.2%. AOC won the general election with 71.6% of the vote.
That extremely successful and lopsided track record bodes well for her in a possible 2024 race. Historically voters have strongly backed candidates with a track record of electoral success. Before winning the 2008 election, then-Sen. Barack Obama won his 2004 election with 70% of the vote.
AOC Is Very Popular On Social Media
AOC has a huge following on social media, which Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have shown are vital for a modern presidential run. She has over 11.6 million followers on Twitter, along with 8.5 million followers on Instagram. AOC’s social media posts get millions of people to engage with them as she frequently uses her accounts to promote her agenda, herself, and to criticize Republicans and the media.
She gets hundreds of thousands of people to watch her on Instagram Live live streams, during which she cooks in her apartment and answers questions. AOC has also recently become active on the game streaming site Twitch, where she has 835,000 followers. Over 6 million watched her stream when she played the game “Among Us” on the service.
If she chooses to run for president, her large social media following would be a vital element in a campaign. Social media would be key to AOC getting her message out, and possibly even more important as a way to generate fundraising.
Polling Shows Many Voters Would Support An AOC Presidential Run
In a December 2019 poll, AOC had support for the 2024 Democratic nomination from 20% of people who responded to the poll. That ranked her below Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Cory Booker, and Vice President Harris, but ahead of many well-known Democrats. But at the same time, she had support on par with Oprah Winfrey and above figures like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and California governor Gavin Newsom.
Other, more recent polling like a January 2021 poll, showed only 6% support for AOC, with the bulk of voters preferring President Biden and Vice President Harris.
The Bernie Sanders Factor
AOC is likely to have the backing of major progressive figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) if she chose to run in 2024. In addition to endorsing him, AOC gave a speech formally nominating Sanders for the party’s presidential candidacy during the 2020 Democratic Convention.
While Sanders has twice failed to secure the Democratic nomination, his backers are extremely enthusiastic in their support and many of them would be expected to be AOC supporters.
Who Would She Run Against?
There is no clear frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Likely candidates include Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and possibly President Donald Trump, running for a second term.
Republicans will have very enthusiastic support from voters who want to win back the White House and many of them would be enthusiastic to run against AOC.
AOC Can Run, But It Won’t Be Easy
AOC has enough support and popularity to run, and enough likely supporters to raise millions of dollars and public perception that she would need to win. But she has to convince voters outside of the progressive movement to back her, despite loyalties to Biden-Harris. She would also have to overcome attacks from conservative media like Fox News, along with criticism from Republicans.
But she has never lost a race and would in all likelihood be a formidable candidate with a very good opportunity at securing the nomination and ultimately winning the general election.
For more on AOC, check out:
- AOC: The Fearless Rise and Powerful Resonance of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
- The AOC Way: The Secrets of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Success
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