"Return to Jim Crow": AOC says in new interview she fears end of democracy in U.S.

In New Yorker interview, Ocasio-Cortez expresses concerns that U.S. may not be a democracy 10 years from now

Published February 15, 2022 12:30PM (EST)

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

During her three years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has seen first-hand how ugly American politics can be — from death threats to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. The progressive congresswoman and Bernie Sanders ally hasn't been intimidated, however; she isn't shy about using Twitter to mercilessly troll far-right MAGA Republicans.

Ocasio-Cortez discussed the state of U.S. politics during an interview with the New Yorker conducted on Feb. 1 and published on Feb. 14. And she warned that the assault on democracy from the far right is relentless.

When asked what she sees "in the room" as a member of Congress, AOC responded, "Honestly, it is a shit show. It's scandalizing, every single day. What is surprising to me is how it never stops being scandalizing. Some folks perhaps get used to it, or desensitized to the many different things that may be broken, but there is so much reliance on this idea that there are adults in the room, and, in some respect, there are. But sometimes, to be in a room with some of the most powerful people in the country and see the ways that they make decisions — sometimes, they're just susceptible to groupthink, susceptible to self-delusion."

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During the interview, Ocasio-Cortez expressed fears that the U.S. may not be a democracy 10 years from now.

The congresswoman told The New Yorker, "What we risk is having a government that perhaps postures as a democracy, and may try to pretend that it is, but isn't…. We're never beyond hope, but we've already seen the opening salvos of this, where you have a very targeted, specific attack on the right to vote across the United States — particularly in areas where Republican power is threatened by changing electorates and demographics. You have white nationalist, reactionary politics starting to grow into a critical mass. What we have is the continued sophisticated takeover of our democratic systems in order to turn them into undemocratic systems, all in order to overturn results that a party in power may not like."

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Ocasio-Cortez added that the U.S. will "return to Jim Crow" if the GOP assault on voting rights continues.

"You have it already happening in Texas, where Jim Crow-style disenfranchisement laws have already been proposed," she warned. "You had members of the state legislature, just a few months ago, flee the state in order to prevent such voting laws from being passed. In Florida, where you had the entire state vote to allow people who were released from prison to be re-enfranchised after they have served their debt to society, that's essentially being replaced with poll taxes and intimidation at the polls. You have the complete erasure and attack on our own understanding of history, to replace teaching history with institutionalized propaganda from white nationalist perspectives in our schools. This is what the scaffolding of Jim Crow was."

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By Alex Henderson

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