“Trump Derangement Syndrome” is a fake disorder made up by conservatives to document a real phenomenon: liberals who are so mad online about the president as to appear deeply unwell.
But the outpouring of vitriol and ire liberals have spewed with renewed vigor this week toward Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young democratic socialist who felled longtime New York Congressman Joe Crowley in a recent congressional primary, makes it clear that Trump isn’t the only one who drives these people absolutely batty.
Look no further than the replies to this perfectly reasonable tweet:
Imagine typing out the words “altar of St Bernard of Burlington” and then hitting send.
Then I had to gouge my eyes out over this stunning message, suggesting that Ocasio-Cortez has simply “not put in the work.”
I need to take a deep breath. Setting aside the sheer audacity it takes for a white woman on the internet to claim that Ocasio-Cortez, a woman of color and community organizer, hasn’t done “the work”—whatever that means—these people are losing their minds over a woman who committed the crime of winning a congressional primary and then immediately stepping up to use her newfound political capital by campaigning for other progressive Democrats.
Did many of them win during this past Tuesday’s elections? Not really, and there were longreads from CNN and Politico pondering whether this means the left wing groundswell in the Democratic Party is dead on arrival. (Even Fox News’ Laura Ingraham got in on the action, albeit with a predictably white supremacist twist.) Yes, it’s also stunning to me that the entire party hasn’t been taken over by members of the Democratic Socialists of America over the course of just a handful of primary elections. Real, grassroots political movements mean losing a lot before you start winning, and movements are first and foremost about people and ideas, not elections.
It’s in establishment Democrats’ best interest to declare Ocasio-Cortez an isolated, narrow case rather than the face of a new and growing movement. The same goes for plenty of mainstream media outlets, who were so keen to crown her as Bernie Sanders’ heir apparent—I love a good narrative!—only to then try to knock her down. These people hate Ocasio-Cortez for many of the same reasons they hate Sanders: She doesn’t do things their way, she’s got young voters excited about her way, and she’s helped put pressure on other Democratic candidates to move left. The vociferousness of the response—from the same crowd that decries “infighting” in the party—shows how big of a threat Ocasio-Cortez and other left wingers are to the party’s elites. They should be very, very scared.