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What are young progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez really asking for?

The latest column from Lola Fadulu, a writer at CJR and editor of Webmonkey.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has said the issue has “to be talked about every day, in conversation.” And it’s not just those in opposition she has to contend with. Pop stars like Katy Perry, who was spotted at Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s swearing-in ceremony earlier this month, have waded into the issue, as have big-name politicians like the President and his brother, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Their comments, which range from outright complimenting the new freshman’s economics to denying there’s a problem at all, have further emboldened those of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s generation to express their opinions on issues they feel deeply affected them.

While many worry that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is setting up fights that just won’t go her way, her next big proposal might actually be a good plan, according to former GOP presidential adviser Karen Finney, who advised former Senator John McCain’s 2008 campaign. Ms. Finney pointed to research conducted by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that found that small, incremental increases in minimum wage could have a tremendous impact on the economy. “We would have added probably, over the last 40 years in America, somewhere around half a million more jobs,” Ms. Finney said. A higher minimum wage would also help to close the gap between poor and middle-class households, she said. She added that the fight for higher wages is an American issue, not just a Latino issue, and should be looked at from a “north-south” perspective.

Democrats need to be “modest, smart, incremental in terms of who we’re taking on, the country and the new members,” Ms. Finney said. “Instead of talking about the wealthy, they talk about small business owners who’ve invested in their businesses, and who deserve a living wage.”

To read Ms. Finney’s full column, click here.