- Aug 25, 2016
- Reaction score
- Port Hadlock, WA
- Political Leaning
- Slightly Liberal
Why the Right Is So Obsessed With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
....The right’s obsession with Ocasio-Cortez isn’t merely flimsy. It’s self-refuting. Conservatives and liberal naysayers diminish the congresswoman-elect as a know-nothing millennial whose election was a fluke driven by demographic changes (read: voters blindly ticking a box for the candidate who looks most like them). But if they actually believed she was a naïf with no capacity to effect change, they wouldn’t be hyperventilating over her ascent. During his (ultimately successful) campaign for governor of Florida this summer, Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis called out “this girl, Ocasio-Cortez, or whatever she is” for having “no clue what she’s talking about.” When a gubernatorial candidate chooses a then-28-year-old politician in a state 1,000 miles away as his target before she’s ever taken office, you know she’s onto something.
It’s not hard to see why Ocasio-Cortez is a perfect straw-man villain for the right: She’s young, Latina, working-class, a woman, and a self-identified socialist. But Republicans are even more scared of Ocasio-Cortez’s ideas than they are of her identities. After all the unfounded claims that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would steer the country toward socialism, here’s someone who actually would. (Bernie Sanders is a socialist, too, but he’s also a jovial white grandpa—not enough of an “other” to merit a total pile on from the right.) By elevating Ocasio-Cortez to national prominence, Republicans hope to cast the entire Democratic Party in her image, making a party establishment that wasn’t too thrilled with her win seem like a bunch of radical, freedom-hating communists. It behooves the GOP to talk most about the Democrats its base likes the least.
The trouble is, whenever conservatives think they’ve caught Ocasio-Cortez espousing a position too terrifyingly leftist for America, she ends up sounding reasonable instead. Recall when Fox News host Sean Hannity posted a list of her supposedly radical positions on screen. There were a few that might sound scary to conservatives (“federal jobs guarantee,” “abolish ICE,” “Medicare for all”) but plenty that seemed like things just about everyone likes (“support seniors,” “clean campaign finance,” “criminal justice reform”). The more the right tries to signal its disapproval of the Ocasio-Cortez agenda, the more it sounds jealous that progressives are more amped about her than conservatives are about, I don’t know, Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Even so, the GOP will squeeze all the mileage it can out of the stereotype of socialists as brainless bleeding-heart idealists. It will try to portray Ocasio-Cortez as a hacky-sack player with a Che Guevara poster in her college dorm room, or a teary-eyed activist who likes screaming incendiary slogans but has never read a policy paper. They’ll hop on her every slip-up; she’ll have to be twice as smart to get half the respect of Republican lawmakers who deny the existence of climate change and don’t know how the deficit works. Ocasio-Cortez would be best served by ignoring their insulting tweets and condescending callouts. Her future is in the Democratic Party, not the Republican one, and her ideas speak for themselves.
You know when they get dismissive of people like her, it's the conservative fear rearing it's ugly head.