Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) said in a new interview she is "thankful" people see the "fragility of our system" in light of the coronavirus pandemic and are thus more receptive to government remedies.
"Government at its best is an instrument to the public and the public's means of taking care of itself, and this pandemic has just exposed us [to] the fragility of our system," she said on "The Daily," a New York Times podcast. "I already hear people telling me, ‘I can't believe I didn't see this before. I cannot believe I didn't see this before,' and I'm just thankful that people are seeing it now."
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Ocasio-Cortez pointed to increased support for Medicare for All, the single-payer health care system championed by fellow democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.). A recent Morning Consult poll found 55 percent of registered voters support it, the highest recorded in the survey since June 2019.
Her New York City district, which covers parts of Queens and the Bronx, is among the worst affected by the virus in the United States.
"Do you think this moment represents an opportunity for the progressive [movement]?" podcast host Michael Barbaro asked, adding it was "weird" to think of a tragedy that way.
"Yeah," Ocasio-Cortez said, noting progressive movements flourished following President Donald Trump's victory in 2016.
Other Democrats have made similar remarks about the disease that has killed more than 30,000 Americans. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) said the coronavirus gave Democrats a "tremendous opportunity" to advance their policy goals. California governor Gavin Newsom (D.) said the virus presented a chance for a new "progressive era" and could "reshape the way we do business and how we govern."
Ocasio-Cortez, who supported Sanders in the 2020 presidential primary, told Barbaro she would vote for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in November, in spite of her past critical remarks about him. She previously said if she lived in a different country, she and Biden wouldn't belong to the same political party.