Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the combative and irascible freshman congresswoman who is rapidly rising to the top of the Democratic Party’s ranks, thinks “bigotry” is to blame for her dwindling popularity.
Ocasio-Cortez, or “AOC,” became a darling of the liberal media after defeating incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley for the Democratic nomination in New York’s 14th Congressional District, and became one of her Party’s most visible faces after winning the general election in November.
While her visibility level is unlikely to wane anytime soon, people are certainly establishing more defined and intense views of the rookie lawmaker. Just over three months into her first term in Congress, however, she’s already become one of the most polarizing and despised politicians in America.
A new Gallup poll finds that only 31 percent of voters view AOC favorably, while 41 percent give her an unfavorable rating — making for a -10 point net favorability rating. This poll echoes a recent Fox News poll, which calculated a -13 point net favorability rating for AOC based on a 26 percent favorable rating and a 39 percent unfavorable rating.
Another survey, released by Siena College, found that 38 percent of New Yorkers view AOC as a “villain” for her role in killing the deal to build part of Amazon’s “HQ2” project in New York City, which cost the city 25,000 high-paying jobs. Only 12 percent called her a “hero” for helping to dismantle the Amazon deal, which roughly two-thirds of New Yorkers believe was bad for the city.
Most politicians would see poll results like these as a rebuke of their policies, their personality, or both. Approval polls traditionally steer politicians in the right direction when it comes to public sentiment.
But to Ocasio-Cortez, these numbers only prove one thing: bigotry.
“When ‘centrists’ care more about the GOP base than the Dem base, bigotry gets legitimized,” she tweeted after the polls were pointed out to her on Twitter. “This is *the* playbook. GOP does it w/ virtually every Dem figure who isn’t a white male: otherize, demonize + splinter. It’s vital that we adapt & dismantle this approach, not cow to it.”
“We can’t gloss over it, or quietly consider that the ‘shrewd’ thing to do is nominate someone who won’t be subject to bigoted attacks,” she added. “Morally, we can’t give a pass to this dangerous tactic. But even politically, the Dem base is all the people you demoralize by not standing up.”
In layman’s terms, AOC is asserting that the only explanation for opposition to her neo-socialist policies is bigotry, intolerance and racism. If you agree with her, you are a good person. Disagree with her, and you are a bad person whose views are race-based.
It obviously hasn’t occurred to Ocasio-Cortez that there are plenty of other, more legitimate reasons for people to dislike her or her policy agenda.
They might, for instance, be concerned that her ambition to seize control of the American economy will result in the same sort of hardships that people in Venezuela are now enduring after two decades of inept socialist rule.
They might also be put off by her hostile, uncompromising approach to politics, such as her attacks against moderates in her own Party with almost as much gusto and frequency as she attacks Republicans.
Of course, acknowledging the validity of those critiques would require AOC to engage in the hard work of honest reflection and personal growth.
It’s much easier for her to simply write off her detractors as bigots and shift the responsibility for her own failings onto something else.
Diamond and Silk are video bloggers from North Carolina.
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