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Following her decisive victory in the Democratic primary race in New York’s 14th District, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become a household name. As the first candidate endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America to capture the midterm election narrative, she also has a target on her back. Conservatives (and even some Democrats) can’t stop taking shots at her.
It is clear that the forces of status quo conservatism are afraid of a rising crop of progressive candidates, and it is their hope that derailing Ocasio-Cortez could slow the momentum of what looks like a left-wing wave.
Though most of the attacks on her thus far have been fairly clumsy, it is clear from their sheer volume that the right won’t be dragged into the terrifying future of universal healthcare and fair housing without a fight.
Meghan McCain, The View, 7/24
Whoopi Goldberg clearly knew she was lobbing a grenade when she brought up Ocasio-Cortez’s platform on last week’s episode of The View. As soon as her name was mentioned, Meghan McCain, the show’s resident conservative, immediately launched into the litany of anti-socialist talking points you’ve heard from your uncle, including raising the specter of Venezuelan socialism and extolling the virtues of hard work.
Meghan McCain, of course, is the daughter of Senator John McCain (R-Az) and inherited massive amounts wealth and status in the political world from her father, which she then parlayed into a career as a conservative political talking head.
Joy Behar sounded like a campus radical responding to McCain’s talking points, standing squarely in Ocasio-Cortez’s corner, and readily rattling off a list of countries where socialist principles have been successful
We welcome the dictatorship of Comrade Joy.
Allie Stuckey, Conservative Review TV, 7/24
.@conservmillen grills congressional hopeful and progressive “it girl” @Ocasio2018 on her socialist agenda and knowledge of government... or lack thereof.— CRTV (@CRTV) July 23, 2018
Watch more Allie on https://t.co/f6Lmpu9LhY! pic.twitter.com/FU1Iv9NSb4
Conservative Review TV (CRTV) is yet another right-wing digital platform you’ve never heard of that keeps most of their content behind a paywall where no one will ever look at it. CRTV graciously gave us a peek at their premium content this week, when they took an artless shot at Ocasio-Cortez.
A segment featuring host Allie Stuckey was spliced in with a PBS interview with Ocasio-Cortez to make it look like they had appeared together. After the “interview” racked up more than a million views and several reporters pointed out the interview was faked, the site added a disclaimer reading “Hilarious satire!”
The interviewer does “hilarious” things like making Ocasio-Cortez’s critiques of America sound like they are criticisms of Venezuela and misrepresenting her complaints about welfare inequality.
As the Intercept pointed out, if this was an attempt at satire, many of CRTV’s fans were not in on the joke.
Virginia Kruta, The Daily Caller, 7/23
One of the funniest attempts at a hit piece on Ocasio-Cortez so far was “I’m a Conservative and I went to an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Rally,” published this week in the Daily Caller by writer Virginia Kruta.
The piece first attempts to prepare you for a meeting with a socialist bogeyman by listing topics from various bits of small talk Kruta hears from the audience: Ferguson, ICE, Palestine, and Assata Shakur are all mentioned.
Then Virginia delivers the death blow. She writes:
“But then Ocasio-Cortez spoke…and I saw something truly terrifying. I saw just how easy it would be, were I less involved and less certain of our nation’s founding and its history, to fall for the populist lines they were shouting from that stage.
- I saw how easy it would be, as a parent, to accept the idea that my children deserve healthcare and education.
- I saw how easy it would be, as someone who has struggled to make ends meet, to accept the idea that a “living wage” was a human right.
- Above all, I saw how easy it would be to accept the notion that it was the government’s job to make sure that those things were provided.”
Truly terrifying stuff.
Kruta then went on Fox and Friends to double down on the piece, which made the whole thing even more hilarious.
Daily Caller writer recounts going to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rally on Fox & Friends: "They say things -- I mean, they talk about things that everybody wants, especially like if you are a parent" pic.twitter.com/bujOEbuLbD— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) July 24, 2018
FOX Business Twitter 7/23
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "We will not rest until every person in this country is paid a living wage to lead a dignified life." pic.twitter.com/6u73x2kyVI— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) July 23, 2018
Another attempt at attacking Ocasio-Cortez fell flat when the FOX Business Twitter account attempted to scare their viewers by sharing a 17-second video accompanied by a quote from Cortez, “We will not rest until every person in this country is paid a living wage to lead a dignified life.”
That feels more like something we would see on an inspirational poster than anti-socialist propaganda, but what do we know?
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fl.), Fox News 7/25
After making headlines this week for saying of Ocasio-Cortez, “This girl, Ocasia-Cortez [sic] or whatever she is, is in a totally different universe,” DeSantis decided to hit FOX News to double down on his insensitivity.
DeSantis, a Florida gubernatorial candidate, launched into a screed about identity politics and political correctness which culminated in, “I don’t care if she’s Puerto Rican, if she’s Anglo-Saxon, I don’t care if she’s an Eskimo.”
Nice, Ron. Real nice.
John Cardillo, Newsmax 7/1
This is the Yorktown Heights (very nice area) home @Ocasio2018 grew up in before going off to Ivy League Brown University.— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) July 1, 2018
A far cry from the Bronx hood upbringing she’s selling. pic.twitter.com/xyOtZzVJII
Due to some crucial shoe-leather reporting from Newsmax host John Cardillo, we found out that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez grew up in…a house.
Damn. Got her.
Sean Hannity, Fox News 6/27
Sean Hannity just presented this agenda as a negative pic.twitter.com/mYoByIRyr5— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) June 28, 2018
Perhaps the best attempt at an Ocasio-Cortez takedown was one of the earliest. Sean Hannity put up a graphic outlining her major policies intended to scare viewers. Instead, the image went viral when the internet thought it all looked pretty reasonable.
Whether Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be hurt by any of these attacks remains to be seen, but considering their quality thus far, it looks like she is going to be just fine.
Brenden Gallagher is a politics reporter and cultural commentator. His work has been published by Motherboard, Complex, and VH1. He’s the co-founder of Beer Money Films, an indie production company. Based in Los Angeles, he works in television drama as a writers assistant.