There is little doubt that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has become a dominant voice in both the media circus and the House carnival since joining Congress in 2016. With the opportunity to speak one’s mind in a large public forum also comes the advantage of being a “talked about” person. In the case of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, such “talking” has recently centered on whether she will make a viable presidential candidate.
Flitting in and out of the Bernie Sanders limelight has not only raised AOC’s public profile by giving her the chance to speak at national rallies, but it has also given her a foot in the door with the Bernie Bros who are determined to see a swivel-eyed socialist in the White House come what may. Is this just a pipedream for those who prefer state regulation over self-control? Or is there a genuine chance that the freshman Representative may have a shot at the top spot?
President of the California Young Democrats, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, along with endorsing Sanders for the nomination, gave his whole-hearted support to the New Yorker:
“The future of the Democratic Party is not Pete Buttigieg. It’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez … She has gripped the attention of fellow millennials across the country. The Green New Deal has changed the conversation on environmental action in the Democratic Party.”
And while AOC may well have captured the attention of environmentally-obsessed Millennials, that does not a successful campaign make. In fact, an Emerson poll in August showed that the entire Squad had a favorability rating far below President Trump. Although the righteous cohort may be making waves among the more radical elements of the party, the majority of mainstream Democrat voters find this particular brand off-putting.
AOC is so closely aligned with Bernie Sanders that when the Vermont Senator’s campaign folds – as it appears it must – the support for the old-style socialist revival tent will shift to a younger, more photogenic champion. But is that support really worth much in the first place?
In 2016, much to the chagrin of the anti-Hillary Democrats, Bernie’s run was over before it began. It is not idle speculation to suggest that the only reason he was a main contender is so Clinton’s status as the “anointed one” would not be seriously challenged. He was a sideshow. Nobody in the DNC expected Hillary to lose, and so they created an unintended consequence: an opportunity for Sanders to try again.
Based on his second-place showing in 2016, there are still voters who believe Sanders has a reasonable chance of securing the nomination despite what the numbers indicate. Consider a question: If Bernie misses the nomination in 2020, and decided to run one more time in 2024, would he get more or less support than he has now? This is a question AOC – on her present course – should be asking herself right now.
A Meme in The White House
In the age of memetic warfare, as it was in the days of French satirists, the only thing worse than not being talked about is to be the object of ridicule. While Ocasio-Cortez’s rise to fame has certainly been grand, she is all-too-often regarded as an incompetent ignoramus. While this may be unfair, it is a label that has stuck.
To be the subject of international ridicule is a poor starting position to run for President of the United States. It’s not impossible, but it doesn’t make it easy. Add this to a platform that terrifies conservative voters and mainstream Democrats, and what you have is a recipe for hype, hyperbole, and eventual ballot box ignominy. How will the media be able to pass up an opportunity like this?
Read more from Mark Angelides.