A contributor at New York Magazine and contributing editor at POLITICO Magazine, David writes long-form feature stories on politics and the arts, and his work has appeared in publications including Bloomberg, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast. Throughout his career, he says, he has a seen a number of trends change how people perceive and interact with politics.
“The really big change came in around 2005 or 2006, and it was the rise of a beltway-focused political media. Politics became much more like sports, where you’re following it from the sidelines, and it’s not really about impacting people’s lives,” David said during the talk.
“You can really see that now with Trump, who talks about politics like he’s a pundit on cable news a lot of the time. It’s the way everybody talks about politics now,” he adds.
Within the last few years, David has identified yet another significant shift, the rise in impassioned, left-leaning millennial organizers – and he is telling that story the best way he knows: through people-focused reporting.
“I think the best we can do as journalists is take a person and have that person embody an idea that is out in the world, and hopefully that is in tension with other ideas,” he said Thursday. “That’s the sort of thing I like to do, to write about ideas through people.”
David’s upcoming book, The AOC Generation: How Millennials Are Seizing Power and Rewriting the Rules of American Politics, explores millennials’ distinct political power through the story of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Nicknamed AOC, Ocasio-Cortez famously defeated 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in the 2018 midterm primary, later winning the general election to represent New York’s 14th congressional district.
Just 30 years old, Ocasio-Cortez embodies the bold, hyper-liberal shift that David has seen in millennial organizers – and he should know. He lives in her district and followed her historic campaign up close.
“She became this huge, huge, huge phenomenon, like nothing I had seen in politics. She’s a superstar the world over,” he said.
Like the congresswoman, he says, millennials are young, energetic, determined individuals who are not willing to “wait in line” or “wait their turn” to make a difference. They would rather charge ahead and do it now.
Slated for a March 2021 release, The AOC Generation will examine these traits, analyze millennials’ leftward leanings, and gauge the effectiveness of their methods, as well as speculate on the future. Going forward, David expects that millennial organizing will have a long-term effect on our political landscape.
“We’re just at the start of this generation that is hyper liberal coming into the electorate,” he said. “I think it’s really going to change politics in profound ways.”