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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warns there's 'a very real risk' the US won't be a democracy in 10 years

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2/14/2022 gpanetta@businessinsider.com (Grace Panetta)
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, right, and Democratic Congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros speak to the media before a rally, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay © AP Photo/Eric Gay U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, right, and Democratic Congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros speak to the media before a rally, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says the US may not be a democracy in 10 years. 
  • "I think there's a very real risk that we will not," Ocasio-Cortez told The New Yorker.
  • "What we have is the continued sophisticated takeover of our democratic systems," she said. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said "there's a very real risk" that the US will return to Jim Crow policies and won't be a democracy in the next 10 years in a new interview with 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," Ocasio-Cortez told the New Yorker editor David Remnick.

While the New York congresswoman said the situation is "not beyond hope," she argued the US is seeing "the opening salvos" of the end of democracy with a "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" combined with "white-nationalist, reactionary politics." 

"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," she added. 


Video: 'Facebook should be broken up': Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Yahoo! Finance)

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Ocasio-Cortez specifically predicted that the US would return to the Jim Crow area of disenfranchisement and oppression of Black Americans and other minority groups. She pointed to "Jim Crow-style" laws restricting voting access that have been proposed and passed in states like Texas, Florida's state legislature watering down a ballot initiative rolling back the state's formerly draconian felon disenfranchisement law, and efforts "to replace teaching history with institutionalized propaganda from white-nationalist perspectives in our schools." 

"This is what the scaffolding of Jim Crow was," she said.

"There are many impulses to compare this to somewhere else," she said. "There are certainly plenty of comparisons to make...But you really don't have to look much further than our own history, because what we have, I think, is a uniquely complex path that we have walked."

The most pertinent question facing the United States now, Ocasio-Cortez said, is "was the last fifty to sixty years after the Civil Rights Act just a mere flirtation that the United States had with a multiracial democracy that we will then decide was inconvenient for those in power?" 

Ocasio-Cortez added that she's not interested in "navel-gazing" or trying to parse which Republicans are similarly worried about the fate of democracy "because, at the end of the day, they all make the same decisions." 

"At the end of the day, you know, who cares if they're true believers or if they're just complicit? They're still voting to overturn the results of our election," she said. 

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