By Emma Kaden
You may have heard of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a socialist millennial who defeated incumbent Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th U.S. congressional district Democratic primary. However, you may not have heard of another millennial in the New York political arena: Naomi Levin, a Republican candidate for New York’s 10th U.S. congressional district. Despite their New York candidacies, there are many differences between these two millennials.
Issue #1: Education
Levin’s public stance on education is focused mainly on K-12 education—she argues in favor of school choice. According to her website, “What do we have to lose by trying more excellent charter school programs in the worst performing areas? I will advocate for directing federal funding to these programs, and fight regulations that impede them.”
Her argument for education savings accounts follows the same line of thought: families should have resources made available to them to be able to send their children to whichever school best serves their needs. According to Levin, “With the ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’, up to $10,000 can be distributed annually to cover the cost of sending a child to a ‘public, private or religious elementary or secondary school’. Though the new Tax Act permits this new 529 plan distribution, that expense was denied as a ‘qualified withdrawal’ in New York, even though this interpretation was accepted in 48 states. Many of our constituents would benefit greatly from the distribution.” It seems clear that Levin is in favor of educational freedom.
On the other hand, Ocasio-Cortez’s stance on education focuses more on higher education. She argues for completely tuition-free college and trade school, as well as “a one-time policy of student debt cancellation, in which the federal government cancels the loans it holds directly and buys back the financing of privately owned loans on behalf of borrowers to liberate generations of Americans trapped in student loan debt and holding back from participating in the greater US economy.” Apparently, Ocasio-Cortez believes the government should increase its involvement in education.
Issue #2: International Safety
A good indicator of how an electoral candidate would serve in office is their stance on international relations. Ocasio-Cortez and Levin pose strikingly different solutions to a shared problem, with Ocasio-Cortez more on the dovish side and Levin clearly representing the hawkish position.
On her website, Levin makes a strong argument against allowing Iran to become a nuclear power, stating, “Iran’s recent drive toward domination has caused much destabilization in the Middle East and threatens our National Security. We cannot allow Iran to become a state sponsor of terrorism with nuclear capability.” She is unwilling to let radical rogue nations gain weapons of mass destruction.
Meanwhile, Ocasio-Cortez demands a much softer plan for international safety. “America should not be in the business of destabilizing countries,” she states on her website. “While we may see ourselves as liberators, the world increasingly views us as occupiers and aggressors. Alexandria believes that we must end the ‘forever war’ by bringing our troops home, and ending the air strikes that perpetuate the cycle of terrorism throughout the world.”
She ends her argument for less military involvement with, “We can become stronger by building stronger diplomatic and economic ties, and by saving our armed forces only for when they’re truly needed.” Unlike Levin, Ocasio-Cortez says she believes the U.S. military is not always a force for good.
Issue #3: Health Care
Nowadays, health care is a hot-button topic, and these two millennials definitely have strong and opposing stances on it. Ocasio-Cortez defends Medicare For All, which would impose a universal health care system in the United States.
“At this point in the US, we’ve tried almost every other system of healthcare, and we know it doesn’t work. The Affordable Care Act was a great step forward to insure the previously ‘uninsurable, but for many Americans, costs are still far too high,” she argues. “The prices of co-pays, premiums, and deductibles are skyrocketing. We’re paying more for less every year. Improving Medicare and extending it to all Americans can fix these problems.” Ocasio-Cortez wants the government to impose a monopoly on health care, clearly setting aside the principles of supply and demand.
On the opposite side of the proverbial coin, Levin reasons the U.S. health care system is overwhelmed with bureaucratic red tape. “The exorbitant price of our healthcare is often at odds with its quality. The prices are driven through the roof by a high demand of services, and the prices (paid by insurance companies, not by the client) are often not reflective of care received. This happens because people get insured against many risks they could easily handle themselves.” Levin obviously believes that the fundamental forces of supply and demand—not government involvement—will dramatically improve the U.S. health care system, if given the chance.
It seems obvious that these two millennial politicians have disparate political views, and it’s important for voters to consider those views. Furthermore, it is important for all Americans to consider the future of politics, especially after navigating the stances of up-and-coming political forerunners. Levin and Ocasio-Cortez are just the beginning—who knows what these upstarts will do next?