Why Democrats Should Elect AOC Speaker of the House

Dr. Munr Kazmir
5 min readApr 7, 2021

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not the least effective member of the House; she is the most potentially effective lawmaker Americans have ever elected.

“Visual listening by Jonny Goldstein”. (photo: jonny goldstein)

“She’s the queen of Twitter- but less successful at lawmaking,” crowed the New York Post at the news that a nonpartisan analysis of the U.S. House of Representatives found Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) one of the least effective members in Congress.

The Center for Effective Lawmaking concluded that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has proposed only 21 “substantive” bills, none of which have made it out of committee. No piece of legislation drafted by AOC has reached the House floor for debate- none became a law. Out of 240 Congressional Democrats analyzed, Ocasio-Cortez was ranked number 230 in effectiveness.

“It’s clear that she was trying to get her legislative agenda moving and engage with the lawmaking process,” said one political scientist involved in the study, Alan Wiseman. “But she wasn't as successful as some other members were- even among freshmen- at getting people to pay attention to her legislation.”

“She introduced a lot of bills, but she was not successful at having them receive any sort of action in committee or beyond and if they can’t get through committee they cannot pass the House,” Wiseman concluded.

Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has often made this same criticism of AOC and her fellow “Squad” members in Congress.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Speaker Pelosi famously told the New York Times last year. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

“Tweeting is easy, governing is hard,” one Democratic lawmaker said of AOC’s approach, which some of her colleagues have panned. “You need to have friends. You need to understand the committee process, you need to be willing to make sacrifices. Her first day in Congress…she decided to protest outside of Nancy Pelosi’s office.”

AOC’s Democratic colleagues have also accused her of being over-focused on media and narrative, often at the expense of governing. Not everyone agrees, however.