Since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's stunning primary win over Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, interest in democratic socialism—the label Ocasio-Cortez unabashedly uses to describe her platform and political outlook—has surged exponentially, prompting corporate TV networks to feature segments on the term and driving a record-breaking membership boost for the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
"I believe that in a modern, moral, and wealthy society, no person in America should be too poor to live."
In an interview on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" Thursday night, Ocasio-Cortez—who is one of DSA's 42,000 members—was given a chance to explain the core principles of democratic socialism to an audience of millions.
"I believe that in a modern, moral, and wealthy society, no person in America should be too poor to live," Ocasio-Cortez told Colbert, who claimed that democratic socialism is "not an easy term for a lot of Americans."
"So what that means is healthcare as a human right," Ocasio-Cortez explained. "It means that every child, no matter where you are born, should have access to a college or trade school education if they so choose it. And, you know, I think that no person should be homeless if we can have public structures and public policies to allow for people to have homes and food and lead a dignified life in the United States."
While democratic socialism may not be an "easy term" for Republicans and corporate Democrats, a large percentage of Americans appear to have no problem with the label.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—who has self-identified as a democratic socialist for decades—is by far the most popular politician in the country, and polls have shown that Democratic voters prefer socialism over capitalism.
In an attempted takedown of Ocasio-Cortez's ambitious progressive agenda, Fox News host Sean Hannity inadvertantly demonstrated why many Americans view democratic socialism favorably, particularly during a time of staggering inequality, soaring healthcare costs, environmental degradation, and falling wages.
"Many are hailing Cortez as a rising star on the political landscape, but in reality, her views, her policy positions are actually downright scary... Look very carefully," Hannity ominously warned in a Wednesday night segment. "This is the future, this is the modern Democratic Party."
The camera then proceeded to show a list of widely popular proposals like Medicare for All as well as basic, humane principles like "Women's Rights" and "Support Seniors."
As Vice summarized, "Sean Hannity accidentally made a great argument for socialism."