Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already the most talked about figure in American politics. As the 29-year-old former bartender pulled off one of the biggest primary upsets in Congressional history with her progressive politics and social media prowess, documentarian Rachel Lears was there, following the political insurgent during her 2018 midterm race, along with three other progressive challengers, Cori Bush, Amy Vilela, and Paula Jean Swearengin. The resulting footage turned into Knock Down the House, a film by Lears, which premiered at Sundance this past Sunday. Ocasio-Cortez was scheduled to attend the premiere in Park City, Utah, but the government shutdown forced her to stay in Washington. Still, she managed to make a surprise appearance, as Ocasio-Cortez is known to do, via Skype — shocking attendees and making the rest of us grin uncontrollably. Who knew a politician could do such things?
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“This is my first time seeing it in its final form,” Ocasio-Cortez said of the documentary. “I mean, I’m still recovering from the tears myself, but I’m just so glad that this moment for all four of us was captured and documented. Not just for the personal meaning of it, but really for everyday people to see that yes, this is incredibly challenging, yes the odds are long, but also yes that it’s worth it and that each and every person who submits themselves to run for office is doing a great service to this country — including Amy, Paula, and Cori.”
Naturally, she was met with a standing ovation.
Though she was the only candidate to beat her opponent, Ocasio-Cortez said each of her three co-stars, “has this very core personal story where us running did not feel voluntary, and it was really of spiritual significance. That’s really the only place where that kind of endurance can come from, because for a lot of us it’s double-duty, it’s multiple jobs, it’s humiliation, to be frank. And I think that we have opened a door… What I would like to do in the next two years is hold the door open so a lot more people can walk through.”
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