Feb 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

AOC: "I think we will return to Jim Crow"

Photo of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking into a mic at an immigration rally

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a rally for immigration reform outside the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 7 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) says there's a "very real risk" the U.S. will no longer be a democracy in 10 years, warning of a "return to Jim Crow."

Why it matters: Ocasio-Cortez has said for months that the U.S.' democracy is on the line. Her latest comments, published Monday in the New Yorker, come as Democrats struggle to rebound from an impasse on voting rights legislation.

What she's saying: "I think we will look like ourselves," she said in response to a question about which nation the U.S. will mirror in her prediction. "I think we will return to Jim Crow."

  • "You have it already happening" in Texas and Florida with disenfranchisement laws, she said. "You have the complete erasure and attack on our own understanding of history, to replace teaching history with institutionalized propaganda from white-nationalist perspectives in our schools. This is what the scaffolding of Jim Crow was."
  • "And the question that we’re really facing is: Was the last 50 to 60 years after the Civil Rights Act just a mere flirtation that the United States had with a multiracial democracy that we will then decide was inconvenient for those in power? And we will revert to what we had before, which, by the way, wasn’t just Jim Crow but also the extraordinary economic oppression as well?"

Worth noting: President Biden has also cautioned of a Jim Crow assault in the form of GOP's voting rights restrictions.

  • Some Republicans, including South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, have directly pushed back against what they say is a false narrative.
  • “As I keep hearing the references to Jim Crow, I ask myself how many Americans understand what Jim Crow was,” said Scott, the Senate’s only Black Republican, last month. He said the comparison was “offensive not just to me or Southern Americans, but offensive to millions of Americans who fought, bled and died for the right to vote.”
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