Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Elizabeth Warren on Wielding Political Power

At The New Yorker Festival, the progressive leaders talk about what will be necessary to defeat Donald Trump.

At the end of September, a reporter asked President Donald Trump a simple question: if he lost the election in November, would he commit to a peaceful transfer of power? We all know, now, how he responded. As The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser put it in her column that week, “There is only one answer to this question in America. The answer is yes. But not for Trump.” This week, as part of the twenty-first New Yorker Festival, the staff writer Andrew Marantz spoke with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren about their perspectives on an especially precarious and consequential election season, and what would happen if the President refuses to accept the results. You can see an excerpt from their conversation in the video above.

Warren’s key message was a familiar one: a call for progressives to vote. “We can’t afford to beat Donald Trump by a little bit; we’ve gotta beat Donald Trump by a huge amount. And that’s how we reassert the strength of our democracy,” she said. Ocasio-Cortez added that, in addition to voting, Americans need to be prepared to demonstrate if Trump’s actions make it necessary. “It’s extremely important that people be ready for mass civil demonstrations. Non-violent, of course,” she said. “There need to be immediate political, popular, and social consequences for leadership that refuses to adhere to the rule of law.” Warren emphasized that it is a combination of different types of pressure that makes political figures change course. She is often asked what her plan is if the President loses the vote and refuses to leave office—and she believes her Republican colleagues should be getting that question as well. “Mitch McConnell should be asked this question every single day,” she said. “?‘What is your plan, Mr. Leader of the Senate, if Donald Trump loses the vote and refuses to acknowledge it?’?”

During the conversation, Warren and Ocasio-Cortez also spoke about the need to address climate change, whether politicians grasp its growing import to voters, and how young people’s politics are being shaped by the tumult of 2020. Like most of the Festival lineup, Warren and Ocasio-Cortez’s discussion with Marantz will be available for viewing, in its entirety, through October 19th, with the purchase of a ticket.