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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an American politician from The Bronx borough of New York City, New York. A member of the Democratic Socialists of America, she garnered national attention after defeating longtime congressman Joe Crowley in the 2018 Democratic Primary for Congressional District 14 in New York. Her victory was seen as a stunning upset by political punditry, perhaps signaling a fundamental ideological shift to the left for the Democratic Party.
Oscasio-Cortez was born October 13th, 1989 in The Bronx, New York. She studied at Boston University, where she was an intern for the immigration office of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy. After graduating, she worked as a bartender in New York City until her run for Congress. She worked on Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign for President.
Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and endorses many progressive policy ideas. She supports Medicare-for-All, a Jobs Guarantee, abolishing ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), enacting gun control policies, and mobilizing against climate change. She has stated that she will support the impeachment of Donald Trump. 
2018 Democratic Primary
Ocasio-Cortez challenged incumbent Democratic congressman Joe Crowley in the 2018 Democratic Primary for New York's Congressional District 14. Ocasio-Cortez was endorsed by Cynthia Nixon as well as progressive organizations such as MoveOn and Black Lives Matter. A month prior to the election, she posted a campaign video to YouTube that gained over 334,000 views (shown below).
Joe Crowley is a well established politician and had served as the district's congressman since 2014, and prior to that served as the 7th district's congressman from 1999-2013. He was seen by many as an "establishment" Democrat and a possible successor to Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic Speaker of the House. Crowley secured endorsements from New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New York's Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. During the primary, Crowley twice did not debate Ocasio-Cortez and sent a surrogate in his place. He had raised over $3 million for his campaign while Ocasio-Cortez spent only $300,000, many coming through small donations. Only 1% of Crowley's money came from small donations.
On June 26th, 2018, Ocasio-Cortez defeated Crowley in the primary election. Because her district is heavily Democratic, with six registered Democrats per one registered Republican, it was expected she will be elected to Congress at the November 6th general election. In January 2019, she became the youngest woman ever to serve in the U.S. Congress.
The only thing more uplifting than @Ocasio2018's victory was her victory speech pic.twitter.com/47Qd2pKi3N
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 28, 2018
Ocasio-Cortez' victory was seen as a major upset by political punditry. Time and CNN both called it one of the most shocking political upsets of 2018 so far. In explaining the significance of the victory, Sean Hannity attempted to smear Ocasio-Cortez by mocking her platform on his show.
However, when he showed Ocasio-Cortez' positions on his show, many noticed that they were actually popular positions. Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence remarked that the issues were presented as a negative, gaining over 28,000 retweets and 90,000 likes, later tweeting "tell me one thing on this list that isn't a winning issue (shown below, left). User @SantaInc noticed that the segment seemed to imply that Hannity was against issues such as "support seniors" and "Clean Campaign Finance" (shown below, right). Reactions to the segment were covered by The Daily Dot.
Fake Allie Beth Stuckey Interview
On July 23rd, 2018, conservative media network CRTV posted a satirical interview which spliced clips of Ocasio-Cortez' interview with PBS show Firing Line with questions from conservative comedian Allie Beth Stuckey, making Ocasio-Cortez look unknowledgeable about socialism and government.
.— CRTV (@CRTV) July 23, 2018
conservmillen</a> grills congressional hopeful and progressive “it girl” <a href="https://twitter.com/Ocasio2018?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">Ocasio2018 on her socialist agenda and knowledge of government… or lack thereof.
Watch more Allie on https://t.co/f6Lmpu9LhY! pic.twitter.com/FU1Iv9NSb4
The satire behind the video was lost on some people from both the left and right. Many commenters in the Facebook post of the video on Allie Beth Stuckey's page feature people taking the video seriously (shown below, left). On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez said Republicans were scared and presenting fake videos as real (shown below, right).
Ben Shapiro quote-tweeted Ocasio-Cortez' tweet, saying "Someone clearly needs to undertake a forced redistribution of senses of humor so that you end up with one." The moment was covered by Daily Dot.
Virginia Kruta Interview
On July 24th, 2018, Daily Caller editor Virginia Kruta appeared on Fox and Friends to discuss her experience at an Ocasio-Cortez rally. She said she felt "uncomfortable" and that it was "truly terrifying" to hear some of Ocasio-Cortez' platforms, saying it would be "easy" to accept certain ideas. She stated:
I saw how easy it would be, as a parent, to accept the idea that my children deserve healthcare and education.
I saw how easy it would be, as someone who has struggled to make ends meet, to accept the idea that a “living wage” was a human right.
Above all, I saw how easy it would be to accept the notion that it was the government’s job to make sure that those things were provided.
Fox & Friends had Daily Caller editor— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 24, 2018
VAKruta</a> on to discuss the fear she felt attending <a href="https://twitter.com/Ocasio2018?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">Ocasio2018 rally.
"They talk about things everybody wants, especially if you're a parent. They talk about education for your kids, health care… it was really uncomfortable." #BeyondParody pic.twitter.com/BULE0KFuPJ
On Twitter, the interview was mocked as some users found it amusing that Kruta would be scared to accept the idea of a living wage as a human right and that her children deserve health care and education. Author Sarah Jaffe said that Fox was creating unwitting advertisements for socialism, gaining over 25 retweets and 130 likes (shown below, left). Writer Bill Corbett sarcastically tweeted it was "scary stuff" to imagine not going bankrupt when one's child has cancer (shown below, right). The interview and Twitter reactions were covered by The Daily Dot.
Ben Shapiro Debate Request
On August 8th, 2018, Ben Shapiro posted a challenge to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to debate him, and offered her $10,000 to do so.
Hey, @Ocasio2018, what do you say? pic.twitter.com/lKDtmMc8Us
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 8, 2018
In a tweet, Ocasio-Cortez responded by rejecting the offer, saying "Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions. And also like catcalling, for some reason they feel entitled to one."
The response riled conservatives who took umbrage with the comparison to Shapiro's unsolicited offer to catcalling. Shapiro said that the response demonstrated "cowardice" on Ocasio-Cortez' part (shown below, left). Conservative commentator Mark Dice called her a "crazy-eyed lunatic" for the response (shown below, right).
Others pointed out that Ocasio-Cortez, a congressional candidate, was under no obligation to debate a media personality. Twitter user @brooklynmarie said the reaction to the outrage was ironic, considering Ocasio-Cortez was exercising her free will and autonomy by declining the offer (shown below, left). Comedian Patton Oswalt joked that Shapiro should debate him, as he's "also a short clown no one takes seriously" (shown below, right).
Knock Down the House
At the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, the documentary Knock Down the House, which followed the congressional campaigns of Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin won the Festival Favorite Award selected by audience members. The documentary was directed by Rachel Lears.
Netflix purchased streaming rights to the film for a reported $10 million, which would make it the most expensive Sundance documentary deal to date. In its coverage, Reason praised the free market and criticized Ocasio-Cortez for wanting to overturn Citizens United. The news gained over 630 points on /r/movies.
"Weak Meme" Criticism
On February 21st, 2019, Ocasio-Cortez appeared on the premiere episode of Showtime's show Desus & Mero. While being interviewed by the eponymous hosts, Ocasio-Cortez joked that the memes made about her were "weak," quipping "It’s like, how do you have a computer that runs both Windows 95 and Twitter at the same time?" (shown below).
Ocasio-Cortez also discussed her popularity on social media, saying, "it is heavy, but in a weird way that stuff is validation that you’re doing something real,” she said. “Because if you’re just flying under the radar, just trying to get your check, like not rock the boat--then what’s the point of being in politics? What is the point of doing things if you’re just trying to maintain a status quo that doesn’t help people?” The interview was covered by The Daily Dot and Huffington Post.
On January 14th, 2019, Twitter user @lipandbone tweeted, "GUYS I GOT ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ’S BIRTH TIME 11:50AM! Thank you THANK YOU @AOC and your staff for being willing to share this information! The astrological community thanks you!" (shown below, left). The tweet gained 890 likes in two months. The email exchange between himself and representative was attached (shown below, right).
That same day, Twitter user @astrojen posted the who sign chart which accumulated 30 likes (shown below, left). Astrologers began interpreting the chart and sharing their findings (shown below, right). @anyatheinfinite found the chart to signify a powerful and progressive politician.
@AOCPress Parody Account Suspension
On May 6th, 2019, Twitter suspended the @AOCPress parody account and the personal account of its creator Michael Morrison. That evening, Twitter user @hollandcourtney posted screenshots of Twitter's suspension notification, claiming the account violated site rules against "fake accounts" (shown below):
OfficeOfMike</a> has confirmed to me that he has been PERMANENTLY suspended from Twitter.<br><br>He also ran the <a href="https://twitter.com/AOCpress?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">AOCpress account which is also permanently suspended.
Twitter claims he violated the rules with creating
AOCpress</a> even though it clearly stated it was a parody account <a href="https://t.co/ecMopPfE4w">pic.twitter.com/ecMopPfE4w</a></p>— Courtney Holland 🇺🇸 (hollandcourtney) May 7, 2019
In response, many expressed outrage over the suspension, arguing that the account was labeled as a "parody" (shown below).
The following day, The Daily Dot published an article titled "Ocasio-Cortez parody suspended by Twitter--and conservatives are fuming," which included a statement from Twitter regarding the suspension:
"While you may use Twitter pseudonymously or as a parody, commentary, or fan account, you may not use misleading account information in order to engage in spammy, abusive, or disruptive behavior, including attempts to manipulate the conversations on Twitter."
Meanwhile, the news site The Wrap reported that "a person familiar with Twitter's decision" revealed that there was evidence suggesting "Morrison used other accounts to recirculate its tweets, violating the company’s rules against spamming."
Concentration Camps Controversy
On June 17th, 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez published an Instagram live video in which she accused the United States government of running "concentration camps on the southern border." She was referring to the detention centers that house undocumented migrants that had been apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexico border (clip below).
The following day, various conservative news outlets and commentators picked up on the comments and criticized them. Daily Wire reporter Real Saavedra tweeted, "Ocasio-Cortez falsely claims Trump is operating concentration camps, compares the situation to the Holocaust: 'The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are. … ‘Never Again’ means something … we need to do something about it.'" The post recevied more than 923,000 views, 5,100 likes and 2,300 retweets in 24 hours (shown below).
Ocasio-Cortez falsely claims Trump is operating concentration camps, compares the situation to the Holocaust: “The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are. … ‘Never Again’ means something … we need to do something about it” pic.twitter.com/F2MmZ8y2dT
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) June 18, 2019
As the news continued to spread, Ocasio-Cortez shared an article from Esquire magazine in which an expert on concentration camps, Andrea Pitzer, author of the book One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, shares Ocasio-Cortez's opinion. Pitzer says, "We have what I would call a concentration camp system and the definition of that in my book is, mass detention of civilians without trial."
Ocasio-Cortez added, "This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis." The post received more than 58,000 likes, 27,000 retweet and 10,000 comments (shown below, left).
Representative Liz Cheney tweeted, "Please @AOC do us all a favor and spend just a few minutes learning some actual history. 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this." The post received more than 20,000 likes, 19,000 comments and 6,500 retweets in 24 hours (shown below, center).
Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Hey Rep. Cheney, since you’re so eager to 'educate me,' I’m curious: What do YOU call building mass camps of people being detained without a trial? How would you dress up DHS’s mass separation of thousands children at the border from their parents?" The tweet received more than 81,000 likes, 16,000 retweets and 9,000 comments in 24 hours (shown below, right).
Members of the Jewish community also weighed in on the controversy. Twitter user @bessbell tweeted, "Jew here. @AOC’s point is exactly why we say 'Never forget.' The Holocaust did not begin with the murder of 6 million Jews. It began with the same dehumanization, deportation, and internment we see today. You, sickeningly, invoke the Holocaust to minimize their suffering. Shame." The tweet received more than 35,000 likes 7,100 retweets in 24 hours (shown below, left).
Twitter user @RabbiShmuley tweeted, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says US running 'concentration camps' on border – outrageous & nauseating trivialization of the #Holocaust by @AOC. She is utterly ignorant of the horrors of the Holocaust and must immediately apologize to Jewish community." The tweet received more than 250 likes, 100 comments and 90 retweets in 24 hours (shown below, center).
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg tweeted, "Ok, Internet. Time to learn the difference between concentration camps and death ('extermination') camps. Germany started with concentration camps in 1933. Death camps started in 1941. Never again is now." The tweet received more than 49,000 likes, 17,000 retweets and 1,000 comments (shown below, right).
That day, Ocasio-Cortez defended her use of the word because "it is rooted in academic definition." She continues, "One of the biggest lessons that we learned from both Holocaust historians, civil rights academics and experts is that it takes a process, a slow gradual process of increasingly dehumanizing steps and once you have convinced an electorate or once you have convinced a community that a certain group of people are bad or less than, it justifies and allows people to feel more comfortable with the dehumanization and dehumanizing acts and the violation of their rights" (shown below).
 Wikipedia – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
 TIME – How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Pulled Off the Biggest Upset of 2018
 CNN – A 28-year-old Democratic Socialist just ousted a powerful, 10-term congressman in New York
 Twitter – @ndrew_lawrence
 Daily Dot – Sean Hannity accidentally airs a wonderful ad for socialism
 SF Examiner – Primaries upend political landscape ahead of midterm elections and could spell trouble for Trump
 Facebook – Allie on CRTV
 Twitter – Ben Shapiro
 Daily Dot – Fake Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez interview defended as ‘satire’ after backlash
 Daily Dot – Conservative reporter goes to an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rally and becomes a meme
 Tech Crunch – Netflix reportedly paid $10M for campaign documentary featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
 Reason – Netflix Paying $10 Million for Ocasio-Cortez Campaign Documentary. Isn't the Free Market Great?
 Reddit – Netflix Purchases Documentary 'Knock Down The House' For a Record $10M – Follows the Campaign of Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez
 Daily Dot – Ocasio-Cortez slams trolls who come at her with ‘weak’ memes
 Huffington Post – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shuts Down Mocking Meme-Makers With Windows 95 Zinger
 Twitter – lipandbone
 Twitter – anyatheinfinite
 The Daily Dot – Ocasio-Cortez parody suspended by Twitter--and conservatives are fuming
 The Wrap – Twitter Bans Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Parody Account for Manipulation
 Esquire – An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That's Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border
 Twitter – @AOC's Tweet
 Twitter – @Liz_Cheney's Tweet
 Twitter – @AOC's Tweet
 Twitter – @bessbell's Tweet
 Twitter – @RabbiShmuley's Tweet
 Twitter – @TheRaDR's Tweet
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