The young darling of the Left, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), is seen by many on the Right as a naïve, entitled millennial, who doesn’t really know how things work. To tell you the truth, I used to be one of those people who viewed her that way, and there is plenty of reason for that. She constantly says things that force her backers to defend her, her grasp on the United States political system is questionable at best, and her only claim to being qualified for the position (a master’s degree in Economics) doesn’t seem to have taught her enough about economics.
Let’s take a quick look at some of her missteps in the areas mentioned above. Firstly, I’d like to focus on two specific times she forced her backers to defend her. The initial instance is her response to political commentator Ben Shapiro’s challenge for a debate, in which he offered a $10,000 campaign pledge or (likely because that’s a campaign finance violation) donation to the charity of her choice. AOC did not need to answer the challenge, but following social media pressure, claimed that she doesn’t owe Shapiro or any other man anything, and accused Shapiro of cat-calling her. Seeing as the debate challenge was literally only about the political debate, and Shapiro has made similar challenges to the likes of Bernie Sanders and Barak Obama before, the claim was ludicrous. This did not stop every left-wing outlet, including The New York Times and Washington Post from printing long op-eds that bend over backwards in an attempt to defend her.
The other instance was her analysis of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians back in July. In her interview with PBS’s Margaret Hoover, AOC referred to Israel as “occupiers of Palestine,” before admitting to not knowing enough about geopolitics to comment. For this, she was correctly attacked by right-wing analysts as someone who comments without knowing what she’s saying, and just basing her talking points off of what she hears others say. Most commentators praised Hoover for the follow-up questions that caused AOC to backtrack on her original point. Not having done so would allow AOC to just maintain that stance moving forward. There was no coverage of this from The New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, or any left-leaning media sources. There didn’t seem to be anything to say to defend her – until a few days later, when satirist Allie Stuckey spliced the video of the interview and interjected her own questions, making AOC look just as ignorant on all areas of policy as she did on geopolitics. This turned out every news media site to defend AOC. The Times, WaPo, and MSNBC were all able to deflect from the actual interview, and focus on the spoof instead, which, of course, they attacked as spreading false information.
One of the pieces of false information they claimed Stuckey had spread was that AOC didn’t know anything about how the United States political system worked. That may have been satire at the time, but she certainly proved it a few weeks ago when she couldn’t recall the three branches of government, deciding that the “three chambers of government [are] the presidency, the Senate, and the House,” instead of the three branches of government being the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial (the last of which cannot be “taken back” as she wants to do in 2020).
Finally, her grasp on economics is fragile at best. If you take a look at her campaign website, AOC lists the areas of importance that she fights for. Of the 15 areas of AOC’s concern, five of them (Medicare for All, Federal Jobs Guarantee, Housing as a Human Right, Climate Change Reform, and Higher Education for All) have astronomical costs involved. The cost of Medicare for All alone will be over $32.6 trillion over ten years (or $3.2 trillion per year), according to a George Mason University study. This number is equivalent to the total tax revenue the Federal Government brought in during 2017. In essence, the government would have to double everyone’s taxes just to pay for one of the plans AOC is fighting for. So how does AOC intend to pay for this? Well, you won’t find the answer on her website. I’ve looked. However, when directly asked about it earlier this month by Jorge Ramos, she answered, “You just pay for it.” That’s not a joke. That was her answer. She claimed that we pay more than that as a country now. There is never an answer from her about these questions. So why should conservatives be afraid of someone with these misinformed, incorrect, and unverified opinions?
The answer is she is more dangerous than you think. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets it. She gets the whole concept of a brand. The AOC brand is exactly what the growing far-left base wants, and is increasingly becoming the Democratic Party’s position. And she is a master at expanding the brand. You want to debate her? You’re a cat-caller. You call her out on not knowing basic civics or economics? You’re a misogynist. It’s the game that politics has fallen into over the last ten years or so. It’s a lot easier and more effective to discredit your opponent rather than fight the points made against you. And nobody gets that better than AOC.
Well, maybe one person. President Trump. The tactics used by AOC are the same ones used by President Trump. AOC’s “cat-calling” is Trump’s “witch hunt.” Trump wages war against CNN. AOC is going up against Fox News. Trump and AOC each came from no political experience. And remember when Donald Trump was running, and when asked what type of justices he would nominate for the Supreme Court? He answered that he didn’t care as long as that person would convict Hillary Clinton of treason. He didn’t know that the Supreme Court doesn’t rule on criminal issues. Trump didn’t know civics either.
The point is that AOC has time to learn the things that she doesn’t know. She has two years to figure it out until her next election, but there is no real reason to think that she won’t be a long-term Congressperson. However, she does have the political acumen, the poise, and the base, and you can’t teach that. She will learn the things she needs to, while maintaining the way she carries herself, and for that, conservatives should be careful to not dismiss her.
By Izzo Zwiren