In just a few short months on the national political scene, New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has distinguished herself as a remarkably effective social media voice, using platforms like Facebook and Twitter to easily demolish right-wing smears and falsehoods while also pushing her positive progressive vision.
“It’s kind of amazing that one of the most naturally talented politicians to emerge in some time also happens to be a highly effective, aggressive, and rather merciless combatant in social media messaging.”
—Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept
By contrast, the Democratic National Committee (DNC)—with midterm elections looming—has a relatively paltry social media presence and is notorious for its horrendous messaging, leading some prominent progressives to suggest that the DNC should immediately hand its accounts over to Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a landslide upset in June with no establishment support.
The latest example of Ocasio-Cortez’s strength as a progressive social media presence came Thursday night, when the 28-year-old democratic socialist systematically rebutted right-wing provocateur Dinesh D’Souza’s unsubtly racist insinuation that Puerto Rico contributes nothing to the United States.
In response to Ocasio-Cortez’s series of tweets, The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald on Friday echoed Huffington Post writer Ashley Feinberg, who suggested last week that the DNC would be “insane” not to give Ocasio-Cortez full control of its Twitter account.
“It’s kind of amazing that one of the most naturally talented politicians to emerge in some time also happens to be a highly effective, aggressive, and rather merciless combatant in social media messaging,” Greenwald wrote Friday. “As Ashley Feinberg said, the DNC should just turn over its accounts to her.”
Since her victory in June, Ocasio-Cortez has been the frequent target of hysterical attacks by Fox News and other right-wing outlets, which have often resorted to bizarre smears and outright red-baiting. But because of her clear policy positions and ability to respond sharply to the right-wing onslaught, these attacks have almost always backfired.
One prominent example was Fox News host Sean Hannity’s attempted attack on Ocasio-Cortez’s agenda that inadvertently turned into a free advertisement for her ambitious platform.
One reason the DNC may ultimately prove reluctant to heed calls to hand over its social media accounts to Ocasio-Cortez is because the young congressional candidate has not hesitated to use social media to call out the Democratic establishment as well as the Republican Party.
After Senate Democrats voted unanimously to approve a $17 billion increase in military spending earlier this week—an increase that only Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and six Republicans voted against—Ocasio-Cortez mockingly responded, “But how do you pay for it?”
This response echoes a question that both centrist Democrats and right-wing pundits often level at those pushing for policies that—unlike massive hikes in military spending—would actually benefit the majority of Americans, like Medicare for All.
As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the Democratic leadership is already indicating that they will revive the fiscally conservative pay-go rule, which would preemptively hamstring Ocasio-Cortez’s policy agenda.
In July, Ocasio-Cortez was also quick to debunk Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s (D-Ill.) claim that left-wing politics can’t win in the Midwest—an assertion that has been repeated by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“With respect to the senator, strong, clear advocacy for working class Americans isn’t just for the Bronx,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.