It's no secret that Donald Trump's 2016 election victory galvanized scores of women like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into running for office. But what would life look like for the freshman congresswoman if she hadn't opted to journey a political path? In an interview on Showtime's new late night talk show Desus & Mero, Ocasio-Cortez revealed teaching could've been her next move if it hadn't been for Trump's presidency.
"I don't know," Ocasio-Cortez said when asked if she would've run for Congress had Trump not won the 2016 presidential election. "I could be just like teaching in high school right now."
Prior to her congressional run, Ocasio-Cortez has said she worked slinging drinks as a bartender in New York. While her campaign was initially thought to be a long shot, she defeated 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary to represent New York's 14th district in the House in a surprising upset. The 28-year-old went on to win a whopping 78 percent of the vote in November's midterm, defeating Republican Anthony Pappas to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
While Trump may have spurred a number of people to run for elected office who perhaps wouldn't normally have considered a career in politics, Ocasio-Cortez said it may be for the best. In fact, she argues the recent rise in civic engagement may just be the silver lining to Trump's presidency.
"You know, times of great challenge can also bring out the best in people, too, and so I think that's what we're really seeing," she said of post-Trump America while speaking to Desus & Mero co-hosts Desus Nice, whose real name is Daniel Baker, and The Kid Mero, whose real name is Joel Martinez, on the talk show's premier episode. "Even though things are hitting the fan right now, we're seeing people activate and educate themselves, and mobilize and make amazing art, and hit the streets and run for office," she continued. "And that's really when our country is at our best. So, ya know, a silver lining in everything."
The newly-elected representative also discussed how it felt to be targeted daily by incessant internet trolls on various social media platforms. "It is heavy. But in a weird way, that stuff is validation that you're doing something real," she said when asked if the hate she received from trolls ever made her regret getting into politics. "Because if you're just flying under the radar, just trying to get your check, not rock the boat, then what's the point of being in politics? What is the point of doing things if you're just trying to maintain the status quo that doesn't help people?"
Ocasio-Cortez then shot back at many of the memes designed to attack her and her policy ideas, dismissing them as "so weak" and poking fun at how outdated and uncreative they often appeared to be. "It's like how do you have a computer that runs both Windows '95 and Twitter at the same time?" she joked.