John F. Kennedy, our nation’s 35th president and the youngest ever elected, said it well: “Life isn’t fair.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest female ever elected to the Congress of the United States, may be thinking the same thing right now, after last night getting just 60 seconds to make her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

The Democratic Party elders’ who limited her time proved prescient: AOC snubbed the Party’s presidential nominee, Joe Biden, by ignoring him and seconding the nomination of Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.

AOC had a lot to say, and she packed in much in her single minute. Truth is, she hasn’t stopped talking since her stunning primary victory in 2018 by defeating a 20-year congressman who was fourth ranking in the House Democratic leadership.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the most impactful members of Congress in the last two years, and she’s only in her first term. AOC is not merely a “rising star.” On both policy and politics, she is a burgeoning force.

Almost singlehandedly, AOC is shifting the Democratic Party further to the political left, especially on climate issues, which have a widespread impact on the economy and society. CFACT has been documenting and accurately criticizing her many inane assertions on climate change. Her policies would cost trillions of dollars, would harm our economy and lead to millions of lost jobs – all for a purported problem with no guaranteed fix.

AOC’s presence was felt early on in Congress, as I wrote about (here and here). One specific, well known example was her leadership in sponsoring the Green New Deal. Nearly all of the two dozen candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination copy-catted the GND as part of their campaigns. [Addendum:  insightful analysis of AOC from last year I initially missed is here, by CFACT blog contributor, David Wojick.]

When former Vice President Joe Biden became the presumptive nominee for president, after prevailing over AOC ally, Sen. Sanders, Biden soon moved to assuage his rival and Ocasio-Cortez by naming her co-chair of his climate panel. His since released, updated climate plan has their fingerprints all over it. Bernie confirmed this in his own convention speech on Monday night, when he stated, “many of the ideas …that were considered ‘radical’ just a few years ago are now mainstream.”

Early on, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was dismissive of the plan and of Ocasio-Cortez, and Whoopi Goldberg advised her to “sit still.”

No longer.

That is due to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez becoming a political force, which matters more to most politicians than policy positions.

AOC has backed numerous Democratic candidates to challenge other Democratic officeholders in Party primaries – with mixed success. For example, she backed several losing candidates in Texas and California, but helped to defeat veteran Congressman and fellow New Yorker, Eliot Engel, her biggest casualty. He is likely the first of many former politicians who will be mounted on her proverbial game room wall. Jamaal Bowman, a school principal and fellow traveler on far-left policy with Ocasio-Cortez, defeated this 30-year incumbent. CFACT last June reported on his ascension.

That AOC would undertake such a political effort to challenge her Party’s incumbents is impressively audacious.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has been criticized for backing challengers to her fellow Democrats. She properly justifies her role by saying primaries are the only way to give voters a choice in gerrymandered districts dominated by a single political party.

AOC’s influence also is remaking the New York State Legislature—the farm team for future members of Congress—into a more “progressive” body, with the help of the Democratic Socialists of America. Last June, six incumbents in the state Assembly lost primaries to more leftist Democrats – unprecedented in a single state election cycle.  Such a changeover forces other more conventional Democrats to lurch leftward to preclude a primary, which is occurring in the Legislature, and slowly but surely in the House of Representatives.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also easily dispatched with her own primary challenger by winning by a 3-to-1 margin.

AOC’s star power and political influence are likely to grow, especially as media sycophants continue to give her a pass on her recurring falsities about climate and other topics. That bodes ill for the Democratic Party, and the country.

Perhaps it’s too much to focus on a single minute of convention speaking time as a diss to AOC (though she dissed them back). After all, how many first-term members of Congress get any role at a national convention? A month shy of her 31st birthday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be speaking for a lot longer in prime time at many Party conventions for years to come.


  • Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at CFACT. He has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twitter: @PeterMurphy26 Website: