NEWS: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s anemic poll numbers are not a natural phenomenon. Conservatives and the far right have attacked her since the day she defeated 10-term incumbent Joseph Crowley (D-NY). Their goal is to make AOC the face of the Democratic Party, and they’re getting some unexpected help from inside.
“This new poll isn’t a one-off finding. Three prior surveys — one in January from Morning Consult, one in February from Fox, and a third in mid-March from Gallup — all found that more Americans had negative views of AOC than had positive ones. This might surprise a lot of Democrats, who see all of her viral clips and impressive performances in congressional hearings and assume she’s a popular rising star.
So what’s going on? Ocasio-Cortez herself has a preferred explanation — that she’s been vilified on Fox News and in other conservative outlets, and they’ve driven her national approval rating down. If this theory is right, then you’d expect her negative favorables to be driven almost entirely by Republicans detesting her and everyone else not being as familiar with her.
And that appears to be exactly what is happening.
If you look at the detailed breakdown of the latest poll, from Quinnipiac, you’ll see that Ocasio-Cortez is viewed extremely favorably among Democrats: 47 percent view her favorably and 7 percent view her unfavorably. By contrast, she’s viewed overwhelmingly unfavorably among Republicans: A scant 2 percent view her favorably while 74 percent view her unfavorably.”
“Conservative media’s war on AOC is hammering her poll numbers” | Vox | Zack Beauchamp | 03/28/2019
1) Gotta love that clapback. A tweet from AOC perfectly captured the nature of the organized information campaign against her:
It’s almost as though there is a directed + concerted far-right propaganda machine with a whole cable news channel, and a dark-money internet operation propped up by the Mercers et al dedicated to maligning me & stoking nat’l division, reported on by @JaneMayerNYer or something https://t.co/HChBp04c8W
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 29, 2019
2) When a dead horse beats you. A right-wing anti-AOC information campaign kicked into gear long before Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez actually took office. Propagandists swung wildly but landed no real blows because they were preaching only to the converted. Those fearful of a hamburger-less future are already in Trump’s bag. So captured are they by ideology, the Fox News echo chamber, and conspiracy theories that the returns on more AOC bashing can only be diminishing. The vitriol aimed at her is better deployed bashing Amy Klobuchar or Beto O’rourke.
Thus, an anti-AOC propaganda operation only works for the right if it can be outsourced at zero cost.
3) Centrists carry water for free. Cue the centrist Democrat, unwittingly the “my friend” in a new, shrewd iteration of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Centrists attack Ocasio-Cortez specifically and progressives in general “from within” in ways the right never could. In short order, the centrist’s “middle of the road” bona fides convinces the conservative echo chamber that it was right all along.
To Claire (“I’m not one of those crazy Democrats”) McCaskill, Ocasio-Cortez is a ““a bright and shiny new object who came out of nowhere and surprised people when she beat a very experienced congressman.” To billionaire bean-roaster Howard Schultz she’s just a socialist who’d bankrupt America. Even former finger-wagger in-chief Barack Obama, completely repudiating every time the right called him a socialist, recently cautioned new House Democrats about the high price-tag of Medicare For All and The Green New Deal.
As “moderates” (which they definitely aren’t), centrist, neoliberal Democrats portray themselves as their party’s safety valve against anti-corporate extremism. Never mind their record of supporting one disastrous fiscal or foreign policy initiative after another. (Globalization, mass incarceration, financial deregulation, austerity, regime change, mass surveillance, quantitative easing, forever warfare, and the general erosion of social safety nets are just a few.) Corporate funding deployed along lines of pro-market, pro-identity group political agendas is the only reason why these people stick around, even after they’ve lost elections like McCaskill. Or Hillary Clinton.
While many American voters are moderates, it’s not clear that “being in the center” makes one a centrist. This is because centrist policies are aligned with the political or economic interests of the party’s major funding sources, not the interests of the average American voter.
4) A spoonful of centrism makes the medicine. Centrists will be deployed throughout the 2020 presidential race. Their job will be to 1) press the attack on progressive and “democratic socialist” economic ideas and the candidates who support them (Sanders, Warren); 2) make sure the identity politics candidates (Harris, Booker) are also on-board with market-driven social policies for education, housing, infrastructure etc.; 3) make even more sure Joe Biden (if he makes it through the #MeToo gauntlet) will be the last man standing at the end of the primaries. (If not Biden, they’ll get behind the clearly centrist Klobuchar, or the maybe kinda could be centrist O’Rourke.)
After that, Ramblin’ Joe, always a mediocre presidential campaigner, or Angry Amy will blow billions losing to Donald Trump just as other electable, white, centrist, mostly northern Democrats lost presidential races in 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, 2004, and 2016.
Let the prospect of seven losses over four decades sink in—28 years for Republicans, 16 for Democrats.
When it’s defeated by an orange man with oranger hair the Democratic Party as we know it will be finished. Instead of collapsing under its own weight, it will simply drift apart from a severe lack of gravity. Then centrists, because they privilege technocracy over ideology, will drift towards the Republican Party, but will be rebuked for being worse than RHINOs.
Good riddance to them.
“The Potency of Republicans’ Hamburger Lie” | The New Republic
“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Conservative Obsession” | The Atlantic
“AOC is the right’s new villain. And in Queens, they love her for it” | Christian Science Monitor
“Ocasio-Cortez Pushes Democrats to the Left, Whether They Like It or Not” | The New York Times
“The Lies Underpinning the Centrist Pushback Against Ocasio-Cortez” | Washington Monthly
IMAGE SOURCE: Women’s March on NYC 2019 (CC0 Creative Commons)