Commentary

Fact-Check Scorns 'Girl From the Bronx' Socialist Icon, Actually Grew Up in 8th Wealthiest County

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Bernie Sanders is so 2016. The left has found a new socialist darling: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The Latina from New York, who pulled off an upset victory in the Democrat primary against incumbent Joe Crowley, has a lot of things going for her … at least if you don’t mind backing disastrous economic policies.

She looks good on television. She checks several “diversity” boxes at once. And, not unlike a once-obscure candidate named Barack H. Obama, she’s working overtime to sell the public on an underdog story about growing up in low-class America.

Obama expertly swept his time studying overseas and living in idyllic Hawaii under the rug, and instead presented himself as a product of inner city Chicago. It wasn’t all a lie, but neither was it entirely the truth.

It seems Ocasio-Cortez is taking a page from the same playbook, with the Bronx replacing Obama’s Chicago. She’s trying hard to tout her scrappy upbringing and “woman of the people” image, with one glaring problem: She didn’t grow up so blue collar after all.

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“Well, you know, the president is from Queens, and with all due respect — half of my district is from Queens — I don’t think he knows how to deal with a girl from the Bronx,” Ocasio-Cortez recently declared to Stephen Colbert, according to Breitbart News.

It was a bizarre comment if you think about it. First of all, she needs to actually get elected to Congress first. Plus, Trump is most likely more comfortable dealing with New Yorkers than he is anybody else.

Then there’s the fact that she would be one of the lowest-ranked lawmakers on Capitol Hill, yet is under the illusion that she’ll be “dealing with” the president of the United States on a regular basis. One thing at a time, Alexandria.

The openly socialist candidate made a similar statement to The Washington Post, again highlighting her alleged from-your-bootstraps Bronx upbringing.

Do you think Ocasio-Cortez is purposely mis-representing her background?

“I wasn’t born to a wealthy or powerful family — mother from Puerto Rico, dad from the South Bronx. I was born in a place where your ZIP code determines your destiny,” she insisted.

Again, it was a quote that doesn’t actually make much sense when you think about it. What does “born in a place where your ZIP code determines your destiny” mean? That’s the antithesis of everything American.

Has she not realized that any 18-year-old with a $50 bus ticket or a $100 tank of gas can go anywhere in the United States and get a fresh start? That’s not just rhetoric: Countless people have proven over and over that your ZIP code is one of the least likely things to determine your destiny … and even Ocasio-Cortez’s admittedly impressive campaign victory should demonstrate that.

Even setting those odd statements aside, there’s no escaping the fact that the up-and-coming candidate seems to be fibbing about how she actually grew up.

“Around the age of five, Alexandria’s architect father Sergio Ocasio moved the family from the ‘planned community’ of Parkchester in the Bronx to a home in Yorktown Heights, a wealthy suburb in Westchester County,” Breitbart reported.

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The median salary for an architect today is about $77,000 a year. It was just as respected and well-paid of a profession when she was a child.

“In a 1999 profile of the area, when Ocasio-Cortez would have been ten years old, the [New York Times] lauded Yorktown Heights’ ‘diversity of housing in a scenic setting’ – complete with two golf courses,” Breitbart continued. Sounds rough.

“The paper quoted Linda Cooper, the town supervisor, describing Yorktown as ‘a folksy area where people can come, kick off their shoes, wander around, sit in a cafe, listen to a concert in the park, or go to the theater,'” the news outlet explained.

All of that is fine. It was probably a great place to grow up. What it wasn’t, however, was particularly blue collar or even very “Bronx.”

It turns out that the area where the left’s new darling socialist grew up was actually pretty ritzy and not very diverse.

“Westchester County…  ranks #8 in the nation for the counties with the ‘highest average incomes among the wealthiest one percent of residents,'” explained Breitbart, quoting CNBC. “According to the Economic Policy Institute, the county’s average annual income of the top one percent is a staggering $4,326,049.”

“Yorktown Heights, specifically, offers a sharp contrast from Bronx living. According to USA.com, the town’s population is 81 percent white, and median household income is $96,413 – nearly double the average for both New York state and the nation, according to data from 2010-2014,” summarized the news outlet.

It’s simple: Not only does Ocasio-Cortez support shockingly socialist policies like unsustainable guaranteed employment for every person — a pledge being made obsolete by near record low unemployment — and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement currently protecting the border, but her backstory is not how she presents it.

It is a false narrative that falls apart when confronted with facts … and that makes it a perfect example of modern liberalism’s core problem.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.




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