Redistricting in 2021 May Wipe Out AOC’s Congressional Seat

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a controversial and polarizing figure. Though many in both the youth wing and the more progressive elements of the Democratic Party love her, few others outside of that coalition do. That fact, combined with a few others, may ultimately end up costing her her congressional seat.

Escape From New York

A number of long-standing systemic problems that go far beyond Ocasio-Cortez herself have coalesced to bring this about. First, people are leaving the state of New York—especially New York City—in droves and have been doing so for years. According to Business Insider, 126,000 people have left the state between July of 2019 and July of 2020 alone.

This exodus cannot be blamed entirely on New York City being the epicenter of COVID-19 since this trend has been going on long before the pandemic hit. Between 2018 and 2019, 80,000 people left the state.

There are a wide range of reasons as to why this has been happening, and the pandemic and New York City’s especially stringent lockdown policies—which have driven countless businesses into bankruptcy—are only part of the story. In the wake of recent bail reform policies enacted in NYC, crime rates—particularly violent crime rates—have been spiking. NYC also has some of the highest real estate and rent prices in the country.

Moving Has Consequences

In 2021, congressional districts are to be redrawn in accordance with population shifts that have occurred between the 2010 census and now. Since New York’s population has been cratering, it may well end up losing one of its apportioned congressional seats once this process has been completed.

AOC on the Chopping Block?

If New York does lose a congressional set, there is a good chance that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be the one who gets the boot. Her unpopularity with conservatives is obvious and well-known, but even many mainstream Democrats are unhappy with her. State-level Democrats in New York say that she has long neglected local New York issues to focus on federal-level concerns and on raising her public profile.

Since the New York redistricting committee will predominantly be comprised of state-level Democrats, they may well decide to eliminate her district as a way of expressing their displeasure.

AOC vows to fight this, but what will happen remains to be seen.