After the 2016 election, political pundits asked whether Democrats would edge toward a new seriousness in order to counteract the manifest amateurism of President Trump – or whether they would instead seek to find their own Trump, a charismatic figure with little or no political experience but the unique capacity to troll others and garner massive media attention in the process.
Well, the Democrats have decided. They want their own Trump.
Her name is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Here are six reasons Ocasio-Cortez is the Leftist Trump.
1. She Accomplished A Thing, And Her Supporters Have Mistaken That Accomplishment For A Qualification. Ocasio-Cortez won a Democratic primary in a totally blue district. This victory was treated by the media as a shocking win, and Ocasio-Cortez, a far more radical politician than Crowley – she was a member of the Democratic Socialists of America – was immediately hailed as the face of the new Democratic Party. Like Trump, her victory in a primary was taken as a qualification for office: she wins! It’s not taking anything away from her victory to point out that her district happened to be majority minority: 18.4 percent white, 49.8 percent Hispanic. The representative in that district, Joe Crowley, was white. Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t. Ocasio-Cortez knocked him off in a primary with precisely 15,987 votes, defeating him by 4,136 votes. The population of the district is nearly 700,000. Her win has been her sole claim to fame, and her prior lack of qualifications as evidence of her unique qualifications. This is rather reminiscent of Trump’s primary victories being scored as qualifications for office by his supporters – but he wins! Lack of qualifications were the qualification – he’s an amateur destroying the pros! She’s the same way.
2. The Media Can’t Stop Covering Her. Because Ocasio-Cortez is young (29) and attractive, the media haven’t been able to stop covering her. Her every utterance has been treated as a pearl of wisdom, her every idiocy treated as a new approach to governance. She’s been treated as the head of a movement that, statistically, does not exist as of yet (her attempts to endorse primary candidates backfired tremendously in 2018). She’s been elevated to the highest ranks of the Democratic Party without ever serving in any important committee in Congress, or indeed, sponsoring a bill. She excels in earned media in the same way Trump did. In 2016, Trump received billions in free media coverage. Ocasio-Cortez is playing the same game, and playing it well.
3. She’s Great At Social Media. It’s not just that the mainstream media have made Ocasio-Cortez a star: she’s also terrific at social media (or at least her team is). Her Instagram cooking has become so popular that Elizabeth Warren had to emulate it (poorly). Her dancing video, which supposedly drew right-wing ire (it didn’t), became such a story that Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) unleashed her own weak version. Her Twitter account is active and personal. She plays the politics of personality beautifully. She’s essentially a new-fangled reality TV star. She’s likable (no, that’s not sexist), and looks like she’s having a good time. So did Trump, at least early on – and his social media appeal gave him the unique capacity to go over the heads of the media, which forced the media to play his game.
4. She Says Incredibly Stupid Things Regularly. Like Trump, her idiocies and errors are legion. She says dishonest things, then claims that her morality ought to outweigh her dishonesty. She doesn’t know anything about economics or foreign policy or domestic governance.
All of this actually creates more media around her. Were she highly intelligent and fluent in the basics of policy, she wouldn’t draw as much fire from the right. Her unique capacity to draw cameras, combined with her near-incredible ignorance on a variety of topics, makes it almost impossible for the right wing to ignore her. If they ignore, her media allies simply repeat her stupidities verbatim and pretend that the right has no response; if they engage, her media allies claim she’s in their heads. Ocasio-Cortez’s foolishness is actually a political Venus fly trap. Were she competent, conservatives wouldn’t be nearly as tempted to engage. Reverse the politics, and that’s President Trump.
5. She’s Got A Massive Victim Complex. President Trump has spent much of his candidacy and presidency complaining about the unfair treatment he receives at the hands of the media. In his own words, he whined until he won. It was nearly impossible to imagine a whinier member of the political class – until Ocasio-Cortez arrived. Rarely has a politician ever received such gushing media coverage without qualification – and yet she’s still whining that she’s being fact-checked, that the media aren’t sufficiently racially diverse to properly cover her, that the right-wing is mean to her. It works for her supporters, who see every complaint as evidence that she’s “fighting the system.” The only difference: Trump was correct to claim that the media hates anyone remotely conservative. Ocasio-Cortez’s complaints about media malfeasance are simply ridiculous. But the far-left is under the impression that the mainstream media are their enemies, rather than their chief bullhorn.
6. She’s Terrific At Trolling People. She’s a full-time troll, the same way Trump is. See, for example, this incredibly Trumpian tweet this morning:
So Trump ignores her, and then she says she’s under his skin. She knows this because she served drinks to many men. Trump, by the way, doesn’t drink.
This is top-notch trollery – particularly because it’s so infuriatingly asinine. That’s the appeal: popular, unintelligent, trollish. And she’s even got a three-letter nickname, just like the Notorious RBG! In today’s political America, that’s a fantastic combination.
AOC isn’t going anywhere. She’s the new Trump for the Left. The hilarious part is that the same Left that complains about Trump can’t even see that they’ve become what they supposedly hate.