The Rise of AOC

The Rise of AOC, by Charles Norman.

This last political season, a 29-year-old bartender named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described “radical,” came “dancing across the water” to conquer the Democratic nomination and a congressional seat in Brooklyn, New York.

The emergence of AOC is similar to the 2015 political arrival of Donald Trump in that her personality and superstardom inspire many analogies as well as elaborate think pieces. Like Trump, Ocasio-Cortez understands that you don’t have to be liked by everyone to be a main event. Interestingly, right now they both share almost identical favorability ratings.

Both Trump and AOC inspire atavistic hatred from their detractors. And with good reason. Trump is an archetypal American boss: rich, loud, and probably smoking a cigar as I write. AOC is your freshman college student who just took Humanities 101 and now relishes pointing her finger and shouting “racist!” at every wimpy white person who stands in her way. …

Ocasio-Cortez’s appeal is too good to be true for the liberal: a feisty Puerto Rican, daughter of an immigrant, who rose from political obscurity to take on old white America’s vulgar billionaire president. …

Like Trump, AOC is a loudmouth who uses Twitter effectively. She’s even begun hosting a workshop for other Dems so they can better use the platform. …

AOC strikes me as a millennial above all else, an unashamed self-promoter and a narcissist willing to flog her personal brand at any cost. Ironically, millennials are hyperaware of brands without knowing how toxic the “millennial” brand has become. …

Republicans are dumbfounded over how to defeat the social-media rock star. Democrats had a similar problem with Trump. … Ocasio-Cortez is aggressive, and she gives a decent interview. She can maintain eye contact, which for a millennial makes her some sort of charisma black belt.

So what’s the answer? Wait her out, and don’t attack Ocasio-Cortez. In a two-party democracy you’re only one market crash or unpopular president away from the average person believing that the alternative (any alternative) is the better option. It’s foolish to believe a far-left candidate can’t win.

Luckily, the nature of the social-media beast is to trend and then to untrend. Consider Lena Dunham’s trajectory: seemingly unstoppable, but eventually people tired of her. Likewise, Black Lives Matter seemed like it was here to stay. Fortunately a cop killing at a summer 2016 protest and a press release calling Israel a “genocide state” meant it was done.

AOC has been cagey on the question of Israel and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. I doubt she’ll join fellow female rookie Ilhan Omar in suddenly supporting BDS. Right now she’s only saying “no comment” on the subject of Israel. My guess is that this is where she makes the wrong move.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Setting Women Back Light Years In Politics, by Amelia Irvine.

Despite all the fanfare, her recent “60 Minutes” interview with Anderson Cooper shined a bright spotlight on a painful fact: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will make it harder for young women in politics to be taken seriously in the future.

In mere minutes, Ocasio-Cortez managed to affirm nearly every negative stereotype about the female sex, from the trope that we’re no good at math to the notion that you shouldn’t trust us with a credit card.

I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” Ocasio-Cortez told Cooper after he asked about her careless and incorrect analysis of the defense budget. In one sentence, Ocasio-Cortez portrayed herself as a woman who is ready to subordinate facts to her moral convictions, confirming achingly anti-female stereotypes. She may as well have driven erratically down the highway or failed to catch a gently thrown ball.

Of course, she later admitted that being factually correct is “absolutely important.” She just doesn’t seem to care much about facts and numbers when she’s tweeting.

Or, for that matter, when she’s speaking. In discussing with Cooper her proposal for a “Green New Deal,” which would use the full force of the government in an attempt to convert the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, she could not offer an actual answer for how such an enormous transformation would be possible. “It’s going to require a lot of rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now,” was all she could say.

Shockingly, the reason we “don’t conceive of it as possible” is because it is not possible. Renewable sources generated just 17 percent of U.S. electricity in 2017, so it would be a herculean task to more than quintuple that share in just 12 years. As for the cost, Stanford researchers estimated in 2015 that the machinery and infrastructure investments required to make our energy system wholly dependent on wind, water, and solar by 2050 would cost $13.4 trillion, a sum a bit larger than the entire U.S. gross domestic product was in 2005. And Ocasio-Cortez wants to do it even earlier than that, with little to no concern about the mind-numbing cost.

But her Green New Deal is more than just an energy policy proposal. Because fighting climate change apparently requires implementing every expansive progressive policy, Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal includes a universal jobs guarantee and a commitment, seemingly unrelated to the environment, to “mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth.”