AOC Is the Trump-Era Hero We Need
When AOC talks, Republicans know they are losing

byKrystal Ball
21 Comments
AOC galvanizes young people, makes the Democratic Party feel vibrant and full of ideas and cognitive diversity—and drives the GOP to distraction. (Photo: Getty)
AOC galvanizes young people, makes the Democratic Party feel vibrant and full of ideas and cognitive diversity—and drives the GOP to distraction. (Photo: Getty)

On Monday evening, President Trump pressed send on a tweet declaring that in the next week, ICE would begin removing “the millions of illegal aliens” who are in the United States. This, of course, was not true. ICE deports about 7,000 immigrants per month, which is rather short of the roughly 10.5 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the United States. The tweet, coming two days before Trump’s big reelection rally, seemed tailor-made to send Democrats into paroxysms of rage and force us into a law-and-order debate in which we stand on the side of the lawbreakers.

AOC beat Trump at his own news cycle game. Not all superheroes wear capes.
It’s not the strongest ground to stand on. But into the void stepped AOC, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). In one Instagram video, in which she called U.S. detention centers for migrants “concentration camps,” she pushed the president’s law-and-order debate to the side and, instead, forced a conversation about the inhumanity of migrant-holding conditions. When the president took the stage in Orlando to launch his bid for reelection, his speech trended on Twitter — but so too did AOC’s comments. According to Google Trends, interest in “concentration camps” reached its zenith 10 p.m. Wednesday, the time of Trump’s reelection speech. AOC beat Trump at his own news cycle game. Not all superheroes wear capes.

The way that AOC pulled off this feat is worth examining. Her tactics actually were quite Trumpian. First, she expertly stoked the flames of outrage. Not only did she label detention centers as concentration camps but she added “never again” to underscore the Nazi connection. Republicans, who can never resist a chance to take AOC’s bait, predictably pounced. This controversy set the cable news trap, and soon political panels were debating the meaning of concentration camps instead of having to engage with Trump’s law-and-order framing. As David Rothkopf pointed out, if you are explaining why your policies aren’t as bad as Auschwitz, you are losing. AOC, for her part, doubled, tripled and then quadrupled down, offering scholarly articles on concentration camps and retweeting Jewish people who lauded her comparison.

Some Democrats were comfortable with the comparison and some were not. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told CNN, “I have not used that word.” But that’s not the point. Whether it was 4-D chess or just an instinctive knack for the modern media landscape, AOC forced the debate that she wanted to have — and it was a good debate for Democrats. After all, there is no Democrat who would not concede that the conditions in which we hold migrants are abhorrent.

They despise her precisely because she communicates boldly, passionately and in a Twitter-native manner.
This wasn’t the first time that AOC grabbed hold of the news cycle and bent it to her own purposes. Her fingerprints are all over the contours of the Democratic presidential primary. Interest in the Green New Deal skyrocketed after AOC released her GND framework, and now presidential contenders are being judged by how closely they hew to that plan. She argued that a world with billionaires is immoral, and now the New York Times is asking 21 of the candidates whether anyone deserves to have a billion dollars. Remember, this is a freshman member of Congress.

I know this kind of power in the hands of a young lefty makes plenty of Democrats nervous. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) derisively referred to AOC’s Green New Deal as a “green dream.” Every time I talk to a potential Democratic donor, I get an earful about how terrible AOC is for the party. But I think they are looking at this all wrong. They are afraid that her prominence as a Democratic messenger will make it easier for Republicans to caricature Democrats as having been taken over by the “loony left.” I have news for you — they’ll do that anyway.

They’ve been using Pelosi and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Hillary Clinton as boogeymen for years, distorting their positions and caricaturing them in a misogynistic way, and they’ll continue to do so, with or without AOC. But these donors and establishment types don’t recognize how brilliantly effective AOC is as a messenger for Democrats in the Trump era.

Trump won because he got new people to vote who normally didn’t care about politics. He galvanized the energy of his base and he made Democrats reactive, which allowed him to dominate the news cycle. He dictated the terms of the news cycle and he caused the media to fixate on him to the exclusion of the messages of other candidates and politicians — in short, he sucked the oxygen out of the room.

AOC does the same thing. Philip Bump of the Washington Post did an analysis this year showing that Fox News covers AOC more than any other Democrat besides Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). This makes Warren look more moderate, changes which ideas are acceptable in mainstream discourse, and focuses energy on what Democrats want to talk about. AOC galvanizes young people, makes the Democratic Party feel vibrant and full of ideas and cognitive diversity — and drives the GOP to distraction.

The right doesn’t dislike AOC because they fear for the future of the Democratic Party and want to save us from a messaging error. They despise her precisely because she communicates boldly, passionately and in a Twitter-native manner. When AOC talks, Republicans know they are losing.

So let’s stop worrying that we’ll be called socialists (they’d do that even if Warren Buffett were running as a Democrat). Let’s concentrate on winning the social media wars with our Twitter savant, AOC, instead of letting Liz Cheney and Sean Hannity tell us who our messenger should be.

Congresswoman Ocasio Cortez is what the nation needs in these times of Trump

AOC Is the Trump-Era Hero We Need

When AOC talks, Republicans know they are losingbyKrystal Ball

 21 Comments

AOC galvanizes young people, makes the Democratic Party feel vibrant and full of ideas and cognitive diversity—and drives the GOP to distraction.  (Photo: Getty)

AOC galvanizes young people, makes the Democratic Party feel vibrant and full of ideas and cognitive diversity—and drives the GOP to distraction. (Photo: Getty)

On Monday evening, President Trump pressed send on a tweet declaring that in the next week, ICE would begin removing “the millions of illegal aliens” who are in the United States. This, of course, was not true. ICE deports about 7,000 immigrants per month, which is rather short of the roughly 10.5 million undocumented immigrantscurrently residing in the United States. The tweet, coming two days before Trump’s big reelection rally, seemed tailor-made to send Democrats into paroxysms of rage and force us into a law-and-order debate in which we stand on the side of the lawbreakers.

AOC beat Trump at his own news cycle game. Not all superheroes wear capes.

It’s not the strongest ground to stand on. But into the void stepped AOC, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). In one Instagram video, in which she called U.S. detention centers for migrants “concentration camps,” she pushed the president’s law-and-order debate to the side and, instead, forced a conversation about the inhumanity of migrant-holding conditions. When the president took the stage in Orlando to launch his bid for reelection, his speech trended on Twitter — but so too did AOC’s comments. According to Google Trends, interest in “concentration camps” reached its zenith 10 p.m. Wednesday, the time of Trump’s reelection speech. AOC beat Trump at his own news cycle game. Not all superheroes wear capes. 

The way that AOC pulled off this feat is worth examining. Her tactics actually were quite Trumpian. First, she expertly stoked the flames of outrage. Not only did she label detention centers as concentration camps but she added “never again” to underscore the Nazi connection. Republicans, who can never resist a chance to take AOC’s bait, predictably pounced. This controversy set the cable news trap, and soon political panels were debating the meaning of concentration camps instead of having to engage with Trump’s law-and-order framing. As David Rothkopf pointed out, if you are explaining why your policies aren’t as bad as Auschwitz, you are losing. AOC, for her part, doubled, tripled and then quadrupled down, offering scholarly articles on concentration camps and retweeting Jewish people who lauded her comparison.

Some Democrats were comfortable with the comparison and some were not. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told CNN, “I have not used that word.” But that’s not the point. Whether it was 4-D chess or just an instinctive knack for the modern media landscape, AOC forced the debate that she wanted to have — and it was a good debate for Democrats. After all, there is no Democrat who would not concede that the conditions in which we hold migrants are abhorrent.

They despise her precisely because she communicates boldly, passionately and in a Twitter-native manner.

This wasn’t the first time that AOC grabbed hold of the news cycle and bent it to her own purposes. Her fingerprints are all over the contours of the Democratic presidential primary. Interest in the Green New Deal skyrocketed after AOC released her GND framework, and now presidential contenders are being judged by how closely they hew to that plan. She argued that a world with billionaires is immoral, and now the New York Times is asking 21 of the candidates whether anyone deserves to have a billion dollars. Remember, this is a freshman member of Congress.

I know this kind of power in the hands of a young lefty makes plenty of Democrats nervous. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) derisively referred to AOC’s Green New Deal as a “green dream.” Every time I talk to a potential Democratic donor, I get an earful about how terrible AOC is for the party. But I think they are looking at this all wrong. They are afraid that her prominence as a Democratic messenger will make it easier for Republicans to caricature Democrats as having been taken over by the “loony left.” I have news for you — they’ll do that anyway.

They’ve been using Pelosi and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Hillary Clinton as boogeymen for years, distorting their positions and caricaturing them in a misogynistic way, and they’ll continue to do so, with or without AOC. But these donors and establishment types don’t recognize how brilliantly effective AOC is as a messenger for Democrats in the Trump era.

Trump won because he got new people to vote who normally didn’t care about politics. He galvanized the energy of his base and he made Democrats reactive, which allowed him to dominate the news cycle. He dictated the terms of the news cycle and he caused the media to fixate on him to the exclusion of the messages of other candidates and politicians — in short, he sucked the oxygen out of the room.

AOC does the same thing. Philip Bump of the Washington Post did an analysis this year showing that Fox News covers AOC more than any other Democrat besides Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). This makes Warren look more moderate, changes which ideas are acceptable in mainstream discourse, and focuses energy on what Democrats want to talk about. AOC galvanizes young people, makes the Democratic Party feel vibrant and full of ideas and cognitive diversity — and drives the GOP to distraction.  

The right doesn’t dislike AOC because they fear for the future of the Democratic Party and want to save us from a messaging error. They despise her precisely because she communicates boldly, passionately and in a Twitter-native manner. When AOC talks, Republicans know they are losing.

So let’s stop worrying that we’ll be called socialists (they’d do that even if Warren Buffett were running as a Democrat). Let’s concentrate on winning the social media wars with our Twitter savant, AOC, instead of letting Liz Cheney and Sean Hannity tell us who our messenger should be.

The US will never be the same since 2016 and the 2018 election. The next election will determine whether or not democracy can survive in the era of Trumpism

Trudeau will lose seats in Toronto with this disastrous decision. Toronto needs a federal government with guts to stand up to the right wing gun lobby who want Canada to follow the US model. This is big mistake!

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2019/06/18/the-trudeau-liberals-are-wrong-to-duck-a-handgun-ban.html

Chantal Hebert, Toronto Star columnist on the coming election

If every party that entered a pre-election summer with an edge on the competition had beat its rivals to the finish line, then Ed Broadbent, Kim Campbell and Thomas Mulcair would have each been prime minister, Chantal Hébert writes.

POLITICSOPINION

History shows, the best-laid federal election plans can be quickly undone

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By Chantal HébertStar ColumnistFri., June 21, 2019timer6 min. read

MONTREAL—If every party that entered a pre-election summer with an edge on the competition had beat its rivals to the finish line, Ed Broadbent in 1988, Kim Campbell in 1993 and Thomas Mulcair in 2015 would have each been elected prime minister.

Not only have campaigns been shown to matter but public opinion often gets reshaped by events beyond the parties’ control along the way.

Syrian child refugee Alan Kurdi’s drowning at the time of the last campaign was a case in point. More than a few voters found the Conservative reaction short on empathy. And that played to a perceived weakness of the Stephen Harper team.

The best-laid plans of Canada’s federal parties on the way to the Oct. 21 vote are no less at risk of unforeseen change in the dynamics.

Take Justin Trudeau’s announcement this week that his government is going ahead with the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. Polls suggest a majority of Canadians find the decision reasonable. But it might only take a major oil spill to change the optics on the prime minister’s call.

And what of federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s long-awaited climate policy? It was unveiled on a nice sunny day against the pristine backdrop of a western Quebec pond. Conservative strategists have to thank their lucky stars for that clement weather. The area has been prone to tornadoes over the past few summers.

Read more:

Andrew Scheer delivers climate plan with no targets

Despite strong economy, anxieties exist among Canadians that could sway federal election

Opinion | Chantal Hébert: Trudeau’s pipeline support may not be the political problem some think it will be

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But if the Conservative party does not want the many holes that are being poked by climate policy wonks in his environmental platform to register increasingly loudly with voters, it has to hope for a summer and a fall similarly free of severe climate events.

When it comes to climate change and pipelines, Canada’s main party leaders are not only at the mercy of so-called acts of God.

Six months ago, few political insiders factored the Green party in their election calculations. That changed as Elizabeth May’s party and the Green brand became steadily more popular. One recent poll even had her party ahead of the NDP nationally.

As her party eats away at NDP but also Liberal support, May has become a threat to Trudeau’s re-election prospects. But Scheer also has to do his part to keep things that way.

His first strategic mission at the time of his climate announcement on Wednesday was to appease the conscience of the swing voters whose priority is getting rid of the Liberals in the fall by showing them an environmental plan.

But by now Scheer also had to play to a secondary audience made up of voters committed enough to a more proactive climate agenda that they are considering a switch from the Liberals to the Greens.

Ideally the Conservative party would like to convince those voters that the climate change shortcomings of a Scheer government would not really be that much worse than those of the ruling Liberals. In that spirit, a significant part of the Conservative document was devoted to badmouthing Trudeau’s policies.

Political developments at the provincial level also often play out in unexpected ways. And no, this is not just about how Ontario Premier Doug Ford is turning into Scheer’s albatross.

By appealing to other Canadians’ solidarity with Albertans over the course of the Trans Mountain travails, both former premier Rachel Notley and Conservative successor Jason Kenney likely made the audience for Trudeau’s pipeline decision more receptive.

Whether any of those developments will still be top-of-mind next fall could depend on a series of unknowns.

Subject to developments in the U.S. Congress for instance, Parliament could be recalled later this summer to ratify the new North American trade deal. That would provide the Liberals with an opportunity to showcase what many independent critics consider to be their most adult foreign policy initiative.

And then there is no fixed timeline on the ethics investigation on SNC-Lavalin. The Liberals would be happy not to hear from commissioner Mario Dion until after the election. Prudence would dictate he not drop his report in the middle of the campaign but sitting on his findings — if they are ready for publication — until Canadians have voted is not a more palatable alternative.

Earlier this year, the Ontario Court of Appeal heard the Ford government’s challenge to Trudeau’s carbon tax. It could issue a ruling before the election.

Saskatchewan’s top court has already upheld the measure. If the Ontario court issued a decision along the same line, Trudeau’s carbon tax legal case would be greatly reinforced.

But would a second court victory necessarily be a blessing for a campaigning Trudeau or would it simply convince more voters that the only way to get rid of the carbon tax is to vote for the Conservative party? Stay tuned — this election has not really begun to play out!

Chantal Hébert is a columnist based in Ottawa covering politics. Follow her on Twitter: @ChantalHbert