An Idiot’s Guide to Meme’ing a Candidate Into the White House
DISCLOSURE: I’m going to start off with making it clear that this is an opinion. I’ve only written one other article in my entire life, which appeared on this site, and apparently I did not make it painfully, obviously, beyond any shadow of a doubt clear that I am writing opinion pieces unless otherwise specified. The fact my opinion is well reasoned and/or based on factual things that have occurred does not make my opinion piece a ‘hit piece’, or some decree of journalistic intent. It means I am not being fed my opinions by the senior office botshevik or conservadroid with the correct color tie looking over my shoulder as I write out my thoughts in a coherent manner, and not having them give approval or rejection for each final grammatical flare or punctuation choice. So, below you will find my opinion on something that has been going on for approximately the past 5-6 months.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is now a Junior Congresswoman from New York. She is junior in many ways, but one way in particular makes her ‘dangerous’… She’s 29 years old. And to be fair, in my humble opinion, she’s a lovely-looking young woman. Don’t laugh, or pretend to wretch. Putting all ideological differences aside, Ms. Cortez has ‘natural beauty’. And you would be a fool to dismiss that fact as it put JFK (another three letter president) into the White House. Recently a video was ‘leaked’ of a young ‘AOC’ (as her conservative opponents have taken to calling her for short, and I guess for irony through a complete lack of historical lesson-learning) dancing with friends on a roof top. The exact time-frame of this video is not 100% established at the time of writing this, but it seems to range from late high-school to her college days. Given she is wearing a Boston University t-Shirt and that is also where she attended university I prefer to say college.
Below is the video, with what I am assuming is after-the-fact music dubbed in:
What does the video show us? Well, for one, that ‘socialists’ are people, too, and they know it. Trust me I was just as shocked when I found out. Joking, for those without a sense of humor. (Or the SPLC if they ever find this piece.) The original source of the video, as I understand it, was a long-time friend of Ms. Cortez from high-school, which was released on a 3 day old twitter account from someone using a Guy Fawkes mask as an avatar calling the dancing immoral for a congress-woman to do. Odd, that. Days before or just after taking her seat in the house Ms. Cortez has a leak of endearing PR material get out to the public of her being a bubbly young woman with all the optimism of the world? I’m sure it reeks of coincidence to some, but it reeks of something else to me.
Also just a week or so after sitting democratic congressional representatives spat downward at a plan called the ‘Green New Deal’ in which Ms. Cortez seeks to establish a green and renewable energy plan (admirable to some people, including me) but also sneaking in legislation that clearly seeks to establish a progressive agenda aimed at stripping people’s freedoms of speech in order to protect specific classes based on race, sex, gender, etc. And not only the social changes but massive changes to tax laws and rates across the entire federal government, including re-distributions of wealth.
The old-guard democrats, probably fully aware that helping champion this bill will blow up in their face on the congressional floor, indicated such a plan would not be getting partisan support until major changes were made a few days before Ms. Cortez was set to sit down as congresswoman.
The worst part is in that reading the plan of hers... It is half-baked, at best. It establishes results without methods, or uses extremely general methods like ‘raising taxes’ or ‘ending wars’. Imagine it less as a piece of legislation and more akin to a list of demands from a terrorist. Ok… That example is a bit extreme and uncalled for. Perhaps bank-robbers in a hostage situation? A little less extreme, but with all the same levels of authority she has in her own party: None but the threat of take-over.
TL; DR: AOC’s biggest opponent is not the republican party or conservatives at large. It is her own policies, her methods, and the IOUs she pushed onto her constituency. The promises she made on the campaign trail should have been obvious to her voters that they were impossible to obtain. To any reasonable person they are impossible to obtain. But portraying herself as the ‘scary socialist’ capable of triggering conservatives like Ben Shapiro made them think she had a chance to do it. They still do, despite Democrats wagging their head. So now is the time to sit-back and comment on her terrible attempts at legislation as her degree in ‘international relations’ and ‘economics’ didn’t teach her how to navigate the legislative branch of the government. They harped so hard about her education, not because they are a set-up for congress, but because they are a set-up for the White House. And every time you meme AOC not for her policies but for being a young girl, you give her stepping stones toward it. Don’t believe me? I’ll explain further.
Republicans are not a threat to her as much as they think they are. Who bets on a district in NYC to go red? (Not only that but one they have gerrymandered to all hell so it is a democratic stronghold to begin with.) She has little chance to be voted out because the Democrats wouldn’t really back an internal struggle unless AOC shows she is completely unable to play-ball with them. This is not like other situations where she is arguing for moralistic policies. She is arguing for policies that will see people have tons of money shoved into their pockets in a government spending bubble that will make Venezuela look like a practice run. Does the average person know that? Does the average person have time to learn that? Of course not. Instead they take what they can get through memes on twitter and buzzes on social media. And every time someone memes about AOC giving them ‘free healthcare’ or ‘medicare for all’ as she sits there, young and vibrant with a (somewhat crazed) smile on her face it increases her face presence and turns the hate against her into a meme.
Yes, just as the ‘right’ used Trump as a meme to trigger people, you are giving the left their own version of it with AOC. Her policies are half-baked, she’s openly threatening the sitting president with legal action, and her fellow party members are getting threats from her constituency. In two years she will be completely irrelevant in the house and she will have to march home during election season and explain to her voting base why she wasn’t able to flip the entire USA over to a Utopian post-socialist state. She will end up blaming the evil conservatives and democrats, the NRA and the oil companies, etc. etc. etc.
In other words—she will end up having to sound like every-other-politician, ever. But that simply will not happen, as long as you keep signal-boosting her. Every time she gains face-time with the media or on social media, her influence with/against her own party grows. Every time the public sees the mean-old-conservabots trying to make fun of the little girl dancing with her friends, you become bullies.
‘Screw your optics’ is what gets thrown around a lot—but lack of optics is what allowed Trump to get into the White House—for the democratic party it works the opposite. ‘He who gets the most attention is the rightest.’ It’s how they screwed over Bernie for Hillary. It’s how they screwed over Hillary for Obama, etc.
You don’t go after someone/something that isn’t a threat. That is Public Relations 101. If they can’t do anything, if they can’t really rally a base of people to resist you, then no need to concern yourselves with them.
When conservatives are so scared of AOC dancing 10 years ago that they have to meme it in order to ‘pwn’ her— You’re giving them the exact target and candidate they want. You’re giving her bargaining power within her own party. Now she can trade votes for news time. Now she can offer to sell a bill, or name drop another party member at her next press conference, etc. You’re giving someone who is broke enough political capital to become the threat you don’t want her to be.
I’m not alone in this opinion: as to the ‘why you shouldn’t do this’ rather than the outlook entirely. But I did want to be the first Liberalist to put it to pen and paper on the exact details of why. But memers are going to meme. I can’t stop anyone from memeing, and nor would I try. So how do I propose to meme against AOC? Pretty simple: Follow Freedom Toon’s example.
Don’t mock her for being a young woman and dancing with some friends in college, or having intensity/passion, or wanting what is best for people. Those are admirable qualities we (hopefully) all share no matter what political outlook we have.
You need to meme in a way that demonstrates why she cannot possibly know, or fulfill, what people actually need. You need to meme in a way that demonstrates that supporting her to get medicare, means losing massive amounts of day-to-day freedom elsewhere. You need to switch from ad-hominem attacks and go after her policies and arguments. Who cares if she dances goofy? I was at a birthday party two months ago and probably made a fool out of myself. Think of it like a politician would: giving me four weeks of free air-time and social media trends comes at the bargain price of a small portion of my non-existent dignity? Sounds good.
Go after Cortez for being a moron—that even her own party won’t get along with. Go after her for threatening fellow democrats with losing their jobs or supporting her plan. (Something CNN was glad to help her do just two days ago.) In short, go after her for behaving like a Capitalist in Socialist clothing.