By Chloe Aiello
A progressive, not a moderate, agenda will help Democrats mobilize young voters and win elections, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a candidate for New York's 14th Congressional District, told Cheddar Monday.
"There are actually progressive, rising stars all over the country in the least likely places," Ocasio-Cortez said, pointing to congressional candidate Richard Ojeda of West Virginia as one example.
"When you look even at the results in the 2016 election, it was the progressive message that won over the Midwest ー it was not a moderate message."
A first-time candidate, 28-year-old Ocasio-Cortez unseated 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in June in what has been described as one of the biggest upsets in this year's primary elections. Ocasio-Cortez is a self-proclaimed "democratic socialist" whose platform embraces such progressive goals as Medicare for all, housing as a human right, and abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Ocasio-Cortez said it's issues like these that will help the Democratic party motivate young voters and take control of the House and Senate.
"What I hope our north star is, is establishing very basic elements of our lives, like health-care, housing and education as rights, and that we start to guarantee a living wage, not just a minimum wage, that does not help people make ends meet or feed their kids," she said.
"It's a future of economic dignity, it's a future of social justice, it's a future of equal rights and it's a future of being unapologetic about those very common sense basic values," Ocasio-Cortez told Cheddar on Monday.
Ocasio-Cortez attributes much of her success in the primary to young voters. But young voters historically participate less often than their older counterparts. In the 2014 midterm election, for example, younger generations accounted for 53 percent of eligible voters but cast 21 million fewer votes than Baby Boomers, Silent and Greatest generation members, according to Pew Research.
Ocasio-Cortez said those same progressive issues that will help the Democrats take the House and Senate will help turn out younger voters, too.
"When we actually have the courage to stand up and say, 'Hey, we need to cancel student loans, we need to get to 100 percent renewable energy in 10 years.' Those kinds of ideas are ideas that excite a new electorate," she said.
"It was young people that determined our election, because we had the audacity and the courage and the innovation to stand up for ideas no one else was standing up for," she added.
For full interview click here.