How did working class women, with no experience of politics whatsoever, managed to shake the establishment in four states of America? That’s the question that Netflix’s documentary “Knock Down the House” suggests answers to, by following outsider candidates at last year’s congressional campaign – the one that saw Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez become the youngest woman ever to win a seat in the American Congress.
“For Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats, the biggest shared goal is removing the corrupting influence of money in politics.” In a bid to bring down “politics as usual”, national grassroot groups Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats recruited outsider candidates from the working class to run against established politicians in the US’s 2018 Congressional and Senate elections. The documentary reveals the lengths the four women went through as minorities, women and coming from a working class background, to even get on the ballot and campaign for seats in Congress and the Senate.
The documentary concentrates on the campaign led by Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s Queens – a disadvantaged district of the Big Apple. “In a district that is overwhelmingly working class, we deserve a working class champion,” said Ocasio-Cortez during a televised debate with her opponent Democrat Joe Crowley, who held the position for 14 years before she won the seat.
The documentary shows the importance of having working class people, who don’t accept corporate donations, in US politics. They have insights to different problems and challenges that citizens in their constituency experience, which many of their opponents wouldn’t have as a majority of them are coming from a privileged background – often being white, rich, straight and male.
Ocasio-Cortez was the only one out of the four women to win a seat. However the documentary shows that with their campaigns, the other outsider candidates left their mark on local politics.
To this day, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is still making strides to fight against important issues and is using her position in Congress to make politics work for the most disadvantaged, rather than the 1% richest.
The documentary proved that the US political system can be changed for the better. It gives hope that, with the right people with the right amount of passion and bravery to fight their way to the top, changes can happen.