America's Sweetheart... vs Schumer?

How many Twitter followers does AOC have today. Let me look... oh... 4.37 million. That's a lot. Like let's compare that to the whole Democratic and Republican House leadership teams combined. On Team Red:

Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader)- 288K
Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise)- 304K)
Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney)- 93.8K
Tom Emmer (@RepTomEmmer)- 12.6K
total reach- 698.4K

And Team Blue?

Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi)- 2.59 million
Steny Hoyer (@LeaderHoyer)- 116K
Jim Clyburn (@WhipClyburn)- 68.8K
Ben Ray Lujan (RepBenRayLujan)- 21.7K
Hakeem Jeffries (RepJeffries)- 130K
Cheri Bustos (RepCheri)- 32.3K
total reach- 2,958.8 million

So... the entire House leadership-- both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party has 3,657.2 million. That's a lot of reach, though they have some catching up to do if they ever want to have the reach AOC has. What was that again> Oh, yeah... 4.37 million-- and that's without her posse/back-up support team:

Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN)- 1.08 million
Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib)- 542K
Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley)- 289K

All those followers... that's a big incentive for the media to cover the 29 year old freshman from the Bronx-- far more than they cover almost any other member of Congress. During a typical week, Fox News and the Republican Party echo chamber mentions her name more than every single Democratic House member-- not counting Speaker Pelosi-- combined. Eliot Engel has represented parts of the Bronx in Congress since 1989-- a year before AOC was born. Currently he's the Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee. Other than political junkies and Likud-sympathizers, how many people have even heard of him? Anther Bronx member of Congress, José Serrano, one of Congress' most far left members and the longest-serving Hispanic-American in the House, has been in office-- first in the Assembly and then, the year AOC was born, in Congress-- since 1983 and how many people outside of political circles have ever heard of him?

This week the media has been abuzz about how AOC "could" run against Chuck Schumer or Kirsten Gillibrand for Senate-- when she's old enough to be a senator.

[T]he possibility of Ocasio-Cortez taking on Schumer or Gillibrand raises the question: How would she fare in a statewide race? The Democratic representative handily defeated Crowley in 2018, which was the most difficult part. The Republican  she faced in the general election, economics professor Anthony Pappas, ran a very flawed campaign-- and she received 78 percent of the vote, while Pappas received only 13 percent.

So far, Ocasio-Cortez has only run for office in her district, where she’s quite popular. The question now is: How would she fare in a statewide race against Schumer or Gillibrand that requires competing not only in Queens and the Bronx, but also, everywhere from Buffalo to Syracuse to Albany? And if she did manage to defeat Schumer or Gillibrand in a Democratic primary, how would she fare against a Republican statewide in the general election?

Most New York voters vote for a "D" or for an "R," regardless of who the candidate is. No one gives a crap about Kirsten Gillibrand-- if they did she wouldn't be polling so horribly in New York-- but "she" still managed to beat generic Republican Chele Farley last year 4,056,931 (67%) to 1,998,220 (33%). Evan a hated, positively loathed Democratic crook like Andrew Cuomo managed to win convincingly against generic Republican Marc Molinaro-- 3,635,340 (59.6%) to 2,207,602 (36.2%).

Schumer is up for reelection in 2022. AOC will be old enough to run. Last time he ran, he didn't have a primary opponent. In the general he faced a random Republican sacrificial lamb and beat him 70.4% to 27.4%, taking 55 of New York's 62 counties. Schumer's job approval among New York voters is just 47% and his disapproval is 34%. 19% of New York voters say they either don't know who he is or have no opinion one way or the other. Compare that with Bernie Sanders, of whom 64% of Vermont voters say they approve (as opposed to just 28% who don't).

I got off on a bit of a tangent there. I wanted to mention how the media covers AOC, even when there's no real news story. Yesterday at sunrise, the L.A. Times ran with a story by Janet Hook, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Dangles 2020 Endorsement: Bernie Sanders Or Elizabeth Warren? It's a silly story but... click bait, that even manages to include something about Warren and Ocasio-Cortez making a passing reference to the finale of Game of Thrones. "Warren fans," wrote Hooks, "wonder whether-- and hope that-- Ocasio-Cortez may eventually endorse the Massachusetts senator in her bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. But the freshman House member, a superstar of the progressive movement, has more history with Warren’s leading rival for progressive votes in the 2020 Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. They too have teamed up on many legislative and political matters. Many Democrats find it hard to imagine Ocasio-Cortez will not eventually back Sanders, as she did in 2016. The fact that a 29-year-old freshman House member is being sought out by two presidential candidates with years of congressional seniority who are more than twice her age speaks volumes about the state of the the Democratic Party and the dynamics of its primary process."

That's news? Does this make it newsier? "I would argue that she is one of the most important endorsements in the Democratic Party right now," said Rebecca Katz, a strategist who used to work for former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). "She has a huge reach beyond any other member of Congress. She knows how to use her voice." How about this? "One candidate she almost surely will not endorse in the early primaries is Biden. He 'does not particularly animate me,' she said in an interview earlier this spring with the Yahoo News podcast Skullduggery... She called for former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland to end his long-shot presidential bid after he was booed at the California Democratic Party convention for saying Medicare for all was bad politics and policy."

A UK magazine, Stylist covered AOC yesterday in their "People" section with an essay by Hannah-Rose Yee, From Trump Takedowns To Epic Clapbacks: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Best Twitter Moments. Talk about click-bait! Even in Europe! "How do we love thee, AOC," starts Yee. "Let us count the ways." She's "one of the most exciting, inspiring figures in politics today. She’s a fearless warrior for equality, sustainability and progress. She refuses to be boxed in by the institutionalised misogyny of certain circles of American politics. And she continues to use her voice to speak up for those who can’t. She’s also using social media in a way rarely seen before in politics. For a digital native, Twitter and Instagram come easily to AOC, who is as at home delivering a blistering speech on the Congress floor as she is hosting an Instagram live about her skincare routine or a recipe for one-pot noodles."

Here are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s best Twitter moments:

When she perfectly clapped back to the person who called her the "Donald Trump" of the Democratic Party

When she hit back at men who like to question her intelligence (and savagely burned Trump)

When she perfectly summed up why it’s important to elect a diverse range of politicians

When she kept the receipts of the man who tried to fashion-shame her

When she corrected critics who tried to call her a diversity hire

When she called out Republicans for spending their time fact-checking her instead of engaging in open debate

When she reminded everyone how hard it is to be a person of colour and a woman in politics

When she encapsulated the ridiculousness of people being afraid of her political platform

When she equated trolling to catcalling

When she reminded everyone that anything is possible

When she called out the very system that she is a part of

When she wouldn’t let her critics attack her just because she likes to dance

When she called out people who continue to mispronounce her name

When she summed up why she’s so good at clapbacks

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