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Why AOC is the Taylor Swift of the Democratic Party

We should have seen this coming: After less than a year in office, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez already has become the most tediously predictable person in politics.

Ocasio-Cortez, the would-be Taylor Swift of the Democratic Party, habitually dismisses her critics and those of her “Squad” — as the four new champagne radicals in the House call themselves — as racists and sexists. Nancy Pelosi, the leader of her party in the House, is only the latest target of this strategy. Pelosi, she says, habitually singles out “newly elected women of color” such as herself for criticism. It is, AOC says, part of a pattern.

Which is, ironically, part of a pattern.

That pattern goes like this: Ocasio-Cortez or one of her likeminded allies says something regrettable — and is made to regret it. In the latest case, it was a tweet from Saikat Chakrabarta, Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, that today’s centrist Democrats (centrist by comparison with AOC) are the moral equivalents of the segregationist Democrats of the 1940s. Pelosi et al. complained, the tweet was deleted, and the Squad went into predictable Squad mode. Ocasio-Cortez does not have the courage to come out and call Pelosi a racist, and so she only makes suggestive complaints about race and says she is “pointing out a pattern.” Chakrabarta says he wasn’t calling anybody a racist when he wrote that congressional Democrats “seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s.”

All these dolts are missing is a “just sayin’.”

This is all familiar by this point. Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar are Muslims, socialists, and what we have been taught to call “women of color” — the Detroit-born daughter of a Palestinian family and a Somalia-born immigrant, respectively — and criticism of them predictably is recast as criticism of Muslims, women of color, categorically. It is cynical and opportunistic, but it works on a certain kind of gullible constituency.

But in fact the criticism of Omar is not that she was born in Africa, that she follows a certain religious practice, or that she is a woman — the criticism of Omar is that she says and believes awful things and associates with Jew-hating weirdos such as Louis Farrakhan. The criticism of AOC is not that she is young, that she is a woman, that she is brown-skinned, or that she has a Spanish surname — her critics do her the courtesy of taking the ignorant and wrongheaded things she says seriously. Because we live in a civilized country, most Americans are perfectly capable of understanding that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can be shallow and meretricious without taking the entire female or Latino population along with her. Her deficiency is sui generis.

This is, as even Pelosi understands, a species of social-media posturing. The speaker of the house is admirably contemptuous of Twitter. “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” she said after a dustup with the Squad, “but they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”

But it’s a social-media world out there, and so the Squad strategy often is filled out with outrageous cullings, the usual hateful idiocy and threats incubated by the anonymity of Twitter, which are used to smear critics as a group. Hence Ocasio-Cortez’s complaint that the New York Post’s criticism of Omar’s callous remarks about 9/11 were “incitement of violence against progressive women of color.” How so? Because somebody said something on Twitter.

It is tempting to tell the Squad to grow the hell up, but the unfortunate truth is that doing so probably would cost them votes.

Kevin D. Williamson’s new book, The Smallest Minority: Independent Thinking in an Age of Mob Politics, will be published on July 23.

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