When asked on Twitter by Vox's Mathew Yglacias if the constitution should be amended to allow Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newly elected Democratic Representative from New York, to run for president she responded quickly:

Though this doesn't rule her out of running for some high office, this tweet wasn't just a boilerplate denial, it was a redirection to substantive policy issues.

No one has yet declared they're running for 2020 outside of the president himself, but it seems clear that there are some contenders, such as Massachusetts's Elizabeth Warren. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is taking herself out of the horse race for anything but passing policy.

New blood, new leadership

Many people wanted Ocasio-Cortez to run for House leadership -- if not a higher office. It would be rare for a first-term congressperson to be put in any specific position of power, but her national profile could help jump-start her legislative career.

Pelosi, the presumptive speaker, is widely disliked by the leftist Democratic base and hated by national conservatives. She hasn't let many new, young Democrats join leadership. It seems she's on the brink of entering into a plea with a rambunctious wing of the party who wants new leadership to enact Democratic term limits on leadership. Under the deal, the speaker, majority whip, and third top-ranked position will all be limited to 6 years, including time served.

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The number two, Steny Hoyer, is very upset with the deal.

Ocasio-Cortez said early on that she would support speaker Pelosi and wasn't a part of the 16-member caucus looking to unseat her, though she says that she agrees new leadership is eventually needed. Ocasio-Cortez seems willing to wait it out and get on Pelosi's good side before Pelosi exists. Their cordial relationship began right after the young congressperson's election, where she beat Democratic leader Joseph Crowley in a primary. Pelosi called Ocasio-Cortez personally to welcome her to the House.

A bold agenda

The deflection away from power politics comes in tandem with a wave of new Democrats who want to change national policy in a major leftward shift. Ocasio-Cortez is a proud supporter of universal healthcare, paid parental leave, and a vast expansion of voting rights enforcement. Her far-left views have made her a target of right-wing media, but without power in the Senate or White House, there's not much that liberal Democrats can do.

The House under Pelosi still plans to pass sweeping legislation, even if only to die in the Senate. They would like to prove to the world that they stand for something. The first bill to be voted on is reportedly an anti-corruption bill aimed at electoral integrity.

If Ocasio-Cortez and her ideological cohort were in power, it's likely the U.S. economy would see a major shift. They want to legalize marijuana, end mass incarceration, and start a "Green New Deal" or a jobs program focused on building environmentally stable infrastructure.

The Green New Deal is being pushed by many Democrats who want to see a combination of

  • Keynesian economic revitalization
  • Higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy
  • Investment in infrastructure
  • A focus on the environment

Such a vast plan could easily co-opt Republican votes under a Democratic administration. The Democrats, seeming confident they'll win in 2020, have two years to start drafting their plan.

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