Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn't back off Socialist label on Trevor Noah's 'Daily Show'

New York Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explained to “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah on Thursday night what it means to be a Democratic Socialist – and she didn’t shy away from the polarizing label.

Noah kicked off the interview by congratulating Ocasio-Cortez on being a “dream” for half the country and a “nightmare” for the other half since her shock victory over veteran congressman Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary.

“I’ll take it,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Noah said the term “Democratic Socialist” has newfound weight coinciding with Ocasio-Cortez’s rise to fame and asked what the she wants people to think when they hear the term that is rejected by many Americans.

“We live in a society that is capable, we are capable of insuring that we have basic frameworks where people can be covered by health insurance, can send their kids to college, where we can pursue a very bold action on climate change and save our future and is part of a moral and ethical economy,”  Ocasio-Cortez said. “I believe we are morally obliged to pursue it.”

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Progressive challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is joined by New York gubenatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon at her victory party in the Bronx after upsetting incumbent Democratic Representative Joseph Crowly on June 26, 2018 in New York City. Ocasio-Cortez upset Rep. Joseph Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) and New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon (center).  (This content is subject to copyright.)

Noah then asked if she has considered taking the term “socialist” out of her label, while keeping her current platform, because the word is so polarizing.

Ocasio-Cortez said the socialist label is “something the media cares more about” and she is simply being genuine.

“I don’t knock on a person’s door and is like, ‘Hey, let me tell you about socialism,’ Like, that’s not how I campaign,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And I also think that I don’t knock on a person’s door and say, ‘Hey, let me tell you about being a Democrat.’ No, I don’t say that. I speak to people’s needs.”

Noah then asked who would pay for all of the free things that Ocasio-Cortez wants to give out

“This is an excellent, excellent question,” she fired back. “I sat down with a Nobel Prize economist last week, I can’t believe I can say that, it’s really weird, but one of the things that we saw is if people pay their fair share… if corporations and the ultra-wealthy… as Warren Buffet likes to say, if he paid as much as his secretary paid, 15 percent. If he paid a 15 percent tax rate… if we raised our corporate tax rate to 28 percent… if we do those two things, and also close some of those loopholes, that’s two trillion dollars right there.”

I don’t knock on a person’s door and is like, ‘Hey, let me tell you about socialism’

- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Ocasio-Cortez said a “carbon tax” and “reprioritization” would be necessary to generate additional revenue needed for her socialist agenda. She also suggested taking funds away from the military as part of what she called reprioritizing.

“Healthcare is important enough for us to put first,” she said. “Education is important enough for us to put first.”

Ocasio-Cortez said it will require “political and moral courage” to accomplish her goals. She has emerged as a liberal darling since bursting onto the scene – but not everyone is a fan.

Comedian Lewis Black, who also considers himself a socialist, told The Daily Beast that Ocasio-Cortez is not the answer during a recent interview.  

“The one thing I’ve learned in my lifetime is that we’ve got to get to the middle before we start pushing things in other directions. We’ve gotta get to the middle, and they have to sit down and decide how to do things,” Black said when asked if Ocasio-Cortez provides a “glimmer of hope.”

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.