alexandria ocasio-cortez representative congress

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is the Anti-Donald Trump of Social Media

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For that last few years, Donald Trump has arguably loomed supreme as the politician who had most effectively harnessed the power of social media. Even if you believe what he’s tweeting is inane, dangerous, rambling, nonsensical drivel, you can’t deny that he succeeds in motivating his base and dominating any and all conversations.

Now, though, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest person ever elected to the House of Representatives, is using social media as an effective tool to have direct and honest conversations with voters and all Americans. But while Trump uses his platform to insult and aggressively attack any perceived opposition, Ocasio-Cortez is using her social media accounts to reach out and forge genuine, if mass, connections.

While she is prolific on Twitter, the representative-elect’s most impressive use of social media has to be her Instagram stories. She’s taken to shooting regular live feeds of herself making dinner while talking about policy issues. It’s an incredibly human display of the care she feels for her constituents.

Last week, Ocasio-Cortez and the other incoming freshman representatives went to Washington D.C. for what she dubbed “Congress Camp.” And in between all the classes and meetings and sneaking away to do laundry, she found time to document the experience for her followers. Her Instagram story on this orientation is a total joy to watch, as she doesn’t try to hide her excitement over her situation (she compares the Hill rotunda to Hogwarts and gushes over the “secret” tunnels connecting government buildings) and breaks down the logistics of what exactly happens after you’re elected to Congress.

In these recent midterm elections, the political landscape underwent a huge shift. More women, more young people, more people of color ran for office than ever before. And the work that Ocasio-Cortez is doing to demystify these higher levels of government is an effort to make sure that wasn’t a one-time occurrence. She’s lifting the veil on an institution that can seem entirely untouchable by those not born into a family or community that already has access to that world established.

ocasio cortez instagram story congress

As you might expect, a lot of establishment figures in that world have been trying to tear these efforts. They pick apart her clothing choices and they dwell on semantic slip-ups she makes during candid these candid and impromptu videos. (She accidentally spoke of the “chambers” of government when she meant to say branches, and by the reaction from the right, you would think that was grounds for impeachment before she even officially takes office.)

Ocasio-Cortez is standing up to those criticisms. She’s hitting back with both solid roasts and direct callouts of the motivations and hypocrisy driving these attacks.

 

Because when it comes down to it, she knows what this is really about.

And she’s not going to let that stop her from doing her job and from making sure her constituents feel seen.

(image: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.