Things That Matter

According To This Fox News Host, AOC’s District Is Dirty Because Of Undocumented Immigrants

Tucker Carlson and guest Seth Barron continued to espouse their conspiracy theory-driven worldviews on his nightly Fox News show, this time targeting the residents of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district. Carlson mocked AOC’s support of the clean energy bill, the Green New Deal, claiming that the areas of Queens and The Bronx she represents are not “clean.” 

The conservative news editor Barron then piled on saying the high percentage of undocumented immigrants in her districts is why they are “dirty.” The comments were immediately met with criticism and accusations of racism from members of AOC’s camp and other advocates. 

Carlson says AOC’s district is dirtier than others. 

“We’re connoisseurs of irony on this show, but if you claim to care about the environment, you’d think that the little piece of America you’re responsible for, that you represent in the Congress, would be clean but hers isn’t. Why?” Carlson asked of AOC during the segment.

The suggestion that AOC’s district NY-14 is dirtier than other neighborhoods is rooted in racism, not just because they’re targets of racism but because the reasons those neighborhoods might appear less tidy is racism. It has been well documented that the less affluent and white a neighborhood the less the state will invest in maintaining its appearance. Low-income neighborhoods are often the targets of dumps and hazardous waste sites

According to research by the University of Michigan, “Several decades of research in the field of environmental justice has established clear patterns of racial and socioeconomic disparities in the distribution of a large variety of environmental hazards. Hazardous waste sites, polluting industrial facilities and other locally unwanted land uses are disproportionately located in nonwhite and poor communities.”

This October the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest released a report claiming low-income neighborhoods in the Bronx and Queens, where some districts are represented by AOC, have become the reluctant receptacles of private waste haulers. 

“Private waste companies increased their use of truck-based transfer stations by 35 percent, with 81 percent of all commercial trash hauled through these stations via truck, the report asserts,” according to the Queens Daily Eagle. “The locations where they stations are, however, such as Southeast Queens, the South Bronx, and Northern Brooklyn, have left residents complaining about the strong smell, air pollution and road hazards from the increased number of trucks.”

Perhaps, this is the reason why AOC supports clean energy and sustainability initiatives: they are in the best interest of her district’s constituents. However, Barron claims that AOC’s district is just downright un-American. 

Barron claims the reason AOC’s district is dirty is because of undocumented immigrants.

“Well, part of the reason is because her district is actually one of the least American districts in the country,” Barron quickly responded. “And by that, I don’t mean that it’s not part of America, but it’s occupied by relatively few American citizens. A very high percentage of her district is, in fact, illegal aliens.”

According to the Huffington Post, there is little evidence that the immigrants who live in AOC’s district are there illegally or that undocumented immigrants, who commit fewer crimes than citizens, are somehow dirtier. Barron said undocumented immigrants ruin the environment by pouring pig grease, which is organic matter and biodegradable, into gutters. 

“So they wind up producing a lot of garbage that the landlords don’t want thrown out normally,” he said. “So hence, you wind up with a lot of garbage on the streets. You have illegal food vendors pouring their pig grease into the gutters. I mean I worked out there, it can be a little gross.”

This year Carlson came under fire for defending child rape and convicted child rapists, calling women “extremely primitive,” and saying he felt “sorry for unattractive women.” Carlson, along with Fox News has seemingly been bleeding advertisers during the Trump era largely due to revelations about intra-company sexual assault, sexist comments, and offensive remarks about immigrants.  

Critics respond to Carlson’s anti-immigrant remarks.

Former AOC strategist WaleedShahid said Carlson was “broadcasting the oldest variety of anti-immigrant bulls**t: ‘they’re dirty'” to target the popular congresswoman. 

Many thinkers on the left called Carlson’s and Fox News racist for the anti-immigrant views they espouse. 

“Every citizen is 100% American no matter where they’re from,” said Young Turks host Cenk Uygur. “This is what GOP thinks of the rest of us—dirty immigrants. Then they wonder why we think they’re racists.”

Barron later tried to defend his attack claiming that 46.2 percent of AOC’s district is foreign-born and that proves his point. However, Mediaite notes, “It is completely false for Barron to imply foreign-born immigrants are also undocumented or are not US citizens. Notably, the Trump administration abandoned its attempts to add a citizenship question to the census this past summer, after losing a high-profile Supreme Court fight.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Push For A Bernie Sanders Presidency Might Just Be The Fight We Need

Things That Matter

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Push For A Bernie Sanders Presidency Might Just Be The Fight We Need

@realDailyWire / Twitter

As the 2020 presidential election draws ever nearer, the stakes are growing significantly higher for the candidates of both major parties—and quickly. In the case of the Democrats, the top four candidates (Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg) are all closely ranked in New Hampshire and Iowa, and it’s no secret that Iowa is a particularly important state when it comes to forecasting election season. This week, the Des Moines Register poll showed Sanders with a mild lead in this Midwest state, a stat that bodes well for him in the coming months—well, at least, it might. At this point in the game, it’s really impossible to guess what’s to come, especially in the midst of the chaos surrounding our military conflict with Iran and the impeachment of President Trump.

In addition to a millennial-friendly position on a wide range of issues—from healthcare reform to student loan forgiveness—many folks are speculating about Senator Sanders’ success resulting from his endorsement by none other than AOC herself.

Credit: J Pat Carter / Getty Images

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Sanders back in October, and ever since, she’s stood alongside him in several early-voting states, drawing major crowds in Nevada, California, New York, and, of course, Iowa. Sanders’ approach to policy may already pique the interest of the millennial generation, but AOC is, herself, a millennial—she speaks to this age group from her own perspective as a progressive young person, appealing to her peers with firsthand knowledge of what matters to them most. She’s impassioned, savvy, likeable. And she’s not just exciting the millennial demographic—she’s appealing to all kinds of Democrats.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a leader in the progressive movement,” said Jeff Weaver, longtime adviser to Sanders. “She is broadly popular, frankly, among Democratic voters. She is particularly strong with young voters, voters of color. She’s an important national voice and adding her weight to the political revolution is a real coup for us.”

It’s definitely clear that AOC and Sanders are making waves across the country, establishing powerful connections with legions of unlikely and diverse Democratic constituencies. And as they continue to generate energy and excitement, people are starting to wonder: Will AOC ultimately inherit the progressive movement headed by Sanders? Will she occupy the White House one day?

Credit: Kevin Kuo / AP Photo

Again, no one can answer these questions right now. But in the meantime, the political duo is leaving a powerful imprint on enthusiastic delegates, paving the way for what might end up being a highly productive race for the Democratic socialists. With that said, it’s important to remember that Joe Biden is currently favored in Nevada and South Carolina, placing him and Sanders in a sort of limbo, hovering at a similar point  in the race. But if one of them ends up gaining early momentum, either candidate could potentially emerge as a singular favorite by the time Super Tuesday arrives in March.

Waleed Shahid, a former aide to both Sanders and AOC, acknowledged the pair’s recent visit through California, saying that Sanders would benefit from further establishing himself within the Super Tuesday state—a move that would allow him to expand his already strong position among Latino voters. (In surveys of Latino Democrats, Sanders typically polls first or second.) And AOC is, without a doubt, boosting his ratings among this demographic: to make sure their message is being heard, she’s been delivering campaign speeches entirely in Spanish to Latino crowds.

Even if there’s no way to predict AOC’s future role in the Democratic party, there have been hints as to what might come to pass if Sanders is chosen as the Democratic candidate for this year’s election.

Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters

In an election endorsement interview with The New York Times Editorial Board, Sanders said that it was “a little bit premature” to name a running mate, as the first nominating contest is still weeks away. But he continued by saing, “I think Joe [Biden] has had eight years as vice president: probably enough.” He added, “I believe in diversity. I believe and know that my administration and my cabinet will look like America looks like. I’m not going to tell you who it’s going to be.”

While Sanders may be trying to keep his plans on the down low (he isn’t wrong, after all—it is a bit early to start naming potential running mates), it’s clear that he and AOC have a similar vision and a sincere, collaborative chemistry. Plus, he did tell ABC in November that she would “play a very, very important role — no question” if he becomes president. He has even taken to occasionally citing remarks by AOC during his speeches, reiterating that they share a parallel perspective for the future of our country. At this point, all we can do is speculate about a Sanders/AOC ticket. Ya veremos!

AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party

Things That Matter

AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party

@AOC / @JoeBiden / Twitter

New York Magazine profiled the superstar progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fondly known as AOC. The 30-year-old The Bronx native was not afraid to vent her frustrations with Vice President Joe Biden and the right-leaning centrists who seem to dominate the Democratic Party. 

AOC shared the same concern as many progressives: that centrists control the party at a crucial time for democracy and have a misguided approach to governing during a time when the Republican Party refuses to cooperate. 

AOC said she and Joe Biden don’t belong in the same political party.

When reporter David Freedlander asked her what she thought her place might be should Joe Biden become president, her response was candid, to say the least. 

“Oh God,” she said. “In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party, but in America, we are.”’

Freedlander describes AOC as the tenacious hopeful many estimated her to be. She sees no reason to comprise on her values and will fearlessly stand against what’s popular. Notably, in 2019, she was the only Democrat to vote against funding the government because that would mean funding ICE. This might seem like it should be the standard — a leader with a strong sense of justice — but in a representative government, it is more common for Democrats to acquiesce to popular sentiment (i.e. centrist and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waiting for public approval to impeach the president, rather than what the law dictates). 

AOC feels these Democrats cave too easily on the demands of the more conservative members of the party.

“For so long, when I first got in, people were like, ‘Oh, are you going to basically be a tea party of the left?’ And what people don’t realize is that there is a tea party of the left, but it’s on the right edges, the most conservative parts of the Democratic Party,” the representative of the New York’s 14th district said.

AOC describes tension within the party with one side successfully attempting to pull it right, and the other side also quite successfully trying to pull it left (i.e. the rise of progressives like the Squad, Elizabeth Warren and AOC’s 2020 pick Bernie Sanders).  

“So the Democratic Party has a role to play in this problem, and it’s like we’re not allowed to talk about it. We’re not allowed to talk about anything wrong the Democratic Party does,” she said. “I think I have created more room for dissent, and we’re learning to stretch our wings a little bit on the left.” 

AOC says that she learned from her own experiences that fear has begun to dominate how politicians govern.

The freshman congresswoman recounted an incident where she wanted to sit in on a meeting in Pelosi’s office. It was about the Green New Deal, but other members of the squad chickened out at the last minute. AOC wasn’t sure if she should go? Would the move infuriate the eventual House Speaker? 

“I was terrified,” AOC told New York Magazine. “I learned a lot about how fear shapes the decisions of elected officials: ‘I know this could be bad, and this could make someone mad, and I don’t know exactly how they would drop the hammer on me or what hammers would be dropped.’ It felt like the right thing to do, and when you say that people think it’s a form of naïveté and that it’s childish, but I don’t think it was.”

Much of the conflict exists between the moderates and progressives because of what is at stake. While moderates appear more concerned with winning elections to expand the party’s power, according to AOC, progressives seem more concerned with policy-making. That means they aren’t afraid to challenge other incumbent Democrats in elections. However, Freedlander notes that moderates have challenged far more incumbents than progressives lately. 

Progressives are too threatening to some of the more seasoned Democrats.

“As a consequence of my victory, many people are inspired to run for office, and in a body where 70 percent of the seats are safe red or safe blue, that de facto means a lot more primaries,” she said. 

Dissent is a healthy party of democracy, that is why it is protected by the First Amendment. The differences between moderates and progressives can be good: healthy competition can breed better results. However, it can be confusing for voters when such a large spectrum of values and priorities exists within one party. The person who wants Sanders to win probably has little in common with a candidate like Biden. The massive disparity forces voters to either compromise their values or become apathetic. 

“Democrats can be too big of a tent,” AOC said summing up the issue.

But if there’s one way to change politics, it is by changing the attitudes of voters. AOC wants to get more people involved, and she wants to do it by making politics more understandable. 

“Politics should be pop because it should be consumable and accessible to everyday people,” she said. “I think that’s what populism is about.”