Photo Courtesy of Franmarie Metzler; U.S. House Office of Photography

Sophia Gonzalez

Throughout her career, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes (AOC) has found ways to interact with her target audiences through creative mediums that have set her apart from her competing candidates. Because of this, AOC  has been a driving factor in mobilizing the young voting demographic. 

 Experts agree that young voter turnout will have a profound impact in this election. 

 “Young voters are leaning toward Biden by an even larger margin than they supported Obama in 2008, which saw the highest youth turnout since 1984,” according to Justin Tseng, co-chair of the Harvard Public Opinion Project.

 However, young voters will not only have an impact on the presidential election, but they will also help elect members of Congress and the Senate.

 Although she won the election in 2018, the primary election was the most significant.When AOC was running for congress, she was a waitress and had previously worked as an organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign.  She was a first-time candidate running against Joe Crowley – a 10 term incumbent. 

In order to set herself from her opponent, she focused her campaigning through grassroots movements and did not accept donations from major organizations.

 The New York Times wrote an article about AOC’s victory with the headline Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Defeats Joseph Crowley in Major Democratic House Upset.

 AOC was outspent that year. Crowley spent $1.5 million dollars while AOC raised $300,709 entirely through small donors, according to the Washington Post

 The reason why her past campaign is relevant is because the way that she interacted with her voters then is similar to how AOC interacts with young voters. Now that she has a bigger platform and the resources to reach more people, she finds genuine mediums through which she can connect with young voters and relate to them.

In August, she did a Vogue beauty video explaining her makeup routine, but throughout her routine, she also explains some of the taxing obligations of her job and how she changes her makeup routine depending on what she has to do in her day. She also talks about being a woman in politics and in society. 

 “Our culture is so predicated on diminishing women, right, and kind of preying on our self-esteem,” AOC said. “So it’s quite a radical – my opinion – it’s quite a radical act – and it’s kind of like a mini-protest – to love yourself.”

 Rather than just talking about her makeup routing, AOC used this experience to talk about real issues, such as how women are treated, women’s beauty standards and even about how finding the right shade of sunscreen can be difficult for people with darker skin. These are issues that resonate with women of all ages.

 Most recently, AOC has also reached out to potential young voters by playing the game Among Us.

 She and Ilhan Omar live-streamed the event on Twitch and earned 439,000 live-viewers and 5.4 total viewers. This is a new way to interact with young voters while seeming genuine. 

 This is different from how Bernie got along with young voters. Although Bernie did get a lot of traction from young voters because of his campaign goals, I felt like some of his outreach to young voters seemed tacky and not giving young voters enough credit between knowing the difference between a credible candidate and a “cool” candidate, as he demonstrated when he got Cardi B to endorse him.  

 AOC, on the other hand, gives voters her full confidence and treats her audience as an educated yet young demographic who know what they want. 

“I think young people are actually quite disciplined and quite realistic and pragmatic in their vote, and they want to vote for who they are going to lobby” Representative AOC said on CNN.“Right now, young people are so clear on their stances on many political issues that they believe that they want to vote for a president that is at least going to be receptive to their advocacy, activism and protest.” 

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