Did you just emerge from a 100-year slumber or years-long coma? If so, welcome back, hell is all around us! If not, you’re probably aware of everyone’s favorite new leftie congresswoman on the block: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
I’m weary of building too up much of a cult of personality around any elected official (although Bernie is my dad, AOC is my cool aunt, and Jeremy Corbyn is my eccentric British granddad), so I’ve been watching Ocasio-Cortez spar with her critics on Twitter with bated breath. Everything that goes up must come down! But for now, covering politics every day can be deeply depressing, so whenever she posts one of her Instant Pot cooking videos or dunks on Chris Cillizza and scores of conservative weirdos lose their minds, my heart feels light.
Ocasio-Cortez’s social media presence works because she has that special sauce. She never comes off as forced, it feels like she actually believes in the progressive politics she espouses, and she’s charming as hell. These are undoubtedly some of the same qualities about her that appealed to voters! It’s also exceedingly rare that a politician is good at posting, which is yet another reason she’s amassed a huge following.
But there’s a downside: every Dem and their centrist cousin now wants a piece of the action. AOC and a colleague kindly hosted a training on Thursday to try to teach their colleagues how to tweet good. This is shorthand for teaching them to be likeable and relatable to everyday people, something they are profoundly not. We can see what this sort of desperation has wrought:
Now, to be fair: Chris Murphy and Brian Schatz have both been actively (and engaging) on Twitter for some time. So I’m going to focus on Chuck Schumer inserting himself into this interaction in the most Hello Fellow Kids way possible. I would bet my right hand that Schumer didn’t tweet this; he quite likely wasn’t even aware his verified account was out here hyping Cardi. This doesn’t sound like him, it makes no sense coming from him, it’s not fooling anyone. So why do it!!
The entire exchange feels like one of those cursed threads where the Denny’s account and the Burger King account and like, Red Lobster all started tweeting “lol it’s lit af fam” at each other over the news of the day. You can’t force a brand—especially a politician as brand—to be likeable, and you certainly can’t seed authenticity in a field as barren as Schumer’s. But still, every elected asshole with a Twitter feed is going to try to tweet like AOC. It’s hard to make Twitter worse than it already is, but this could definitely do it.