Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she thinks ‘all the time’ about leaving public office for mass movements

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she thinks about leaving public office “all the time.”
  • “What I want is a lot more decentralized. I think it’s a lot more rooted in mass movements,” she told The New Yorker.
  • Ocasio-Cortez has remained a prominent activist since she was elected to office.  

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of the Democratic party’s most prominent progressives, said in a new interview that she frequently thinks about leaving public office to join people-led movements.

“What I want is a lot more decentralized. I think it’s a lot more rooted in mass movements,” she told The New Yorker.

The New Yorker’s David Remnick then asked if Ocasio-Cortez thought about “walking away from public office entirely and going to a life of mass movements,” to which she responded: “I think about it all the time.”

“When I entertain possibilities for my future, it’s like anybody else,” the lawmaker continued. “I could be doing what I’m doing in a little bit of a different form, but I could also not be in elected office as well. It could come in so many different forms.”

“I wake up, and I’m like what would be the most effective thing to do to advance the power and build the power of working people?” Ocasio-Cortez said.

This is not the first time that Ocasio-Cortez has reflected on a possible career outside of politics. Around the time of her 2020 reelection, she questioned whether she even wanted to stay in her elected position. 

“I don’t even know if I want to be in politics,” she told The New York Times in November 2020. “You know, for real, in the first six months of my term, I didn’t even know if I was going to run for reelection this year.”

At the time, Ocasio-Cortez said she was dismayed with her party’s opposition to progressive causes, such as Medicare for All, that she’s championed. She said she decided to run for reelection to prove “that this movement is real.”

I had to prove “that I wasn’t a fluke,” Ocasio-Cortez told The Times. “That people really want guaranteed health care and that people really want the Democratic Party to fight for them.”

In her New Yorker interview, Ocasio-Cortez signaled that she continues to hold that same determination. 

“I also reject the total cynicism that what’s happening here is fruitless. I’ve been in this cycle before in my life, before I even ran for office,” she said.

The progressive Democrat has remained a high-profile activist since becoming a lawmaker. Last winter, as Texas suffered an intense winter storm, Ocasio-Cortez launched a fundraiser to help the millions affected by the severe weather conditions and power outages. She raised millions, and also traveled to Texas to volunteer at a food bank.

Ocasio-Cortez made a similar plea to her supporters to raise funds for abortion-rights organizations in Texas after the state enacted a strict six-week ban on abortions in September. 

Last summer, Ocasio-Cortez joined climate activists outside the White House in a bid to pressure the Biden administration to address climate change in his infrastructure package. Back in 2018, shortly after she won her election, Ocasio-Cortez also made a splash when she joined more than 200 youth protestors outside then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office to advocate for climate change policy.