The absolutely remarkable social media power of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Florida Rep. Ted Yoho address the heated exchange they had on the House steps, where Yoho allegedly called her a f**king bitch.

Posted: Jul 24, 2020 2:01 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2020 2:01 PM

At 11:02 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday, C-SPAN sent out a tweet with New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's full remarks on the House floor regarding a confrontation with Florida Republican Rep. Ted Yoho on Monday.

Within six hours, according to C-SPAN's Jeremy Art, it became the most retweeted post ever sent by the network. Within the tweet's first 24 hours, it has been retweeted more than 95,000 times and has more than 220,000 likes.

The video itself, which runs just short of 10 minutes, has been viewed almost 12 million times, which, again according to Art, makes it the sixth most-watched C-SPAN video ever. And it is the most-watched C-SPAN House clip ever, although it posted just 24 hours ago.

Ocasio-Cortez's take-down of Yoho for sexism after he called her a "f**king bitch" following the encounter, according to a reporter from The Hill, clearly struck a chord.

This is not an accident or an anomaly. Ocasio-Cortez, despite being in her first term, has the most Twitter followers (7.8 million) of any member of the House. (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has 4.9 million followers; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has 924,500.) Ocasio-Cortez has 1.4 million followers on Facebook. (She said in 2019 that she had stopped personally posting on the site.) She has 5.2 million followers on Instagram. Hell, she's on "Animal Crossing!"

Those numbers are mind-boggling. Especially when you consider that 25 months ago, very few people outside of the Queens and Bronx district she was running to represent had ever even heard her name.

It's no exaggeration to say that, aside from former President Barack Obama (120.8 million Twitter followers), there is no current member of the Democratic Party with more ability to influence the national conversation than AOC. Not even Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee (7.2 million Twitter followers). Not Pelosi. Not Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (2.4 million).

Now, influencing the national conversation isn't the same thing as being able to dictate the legislative agenda of the House or the Senate. Pelosi, who has at times bristled at talk of AOC's outsized influence, has repeatedly made that point in interviews.

"All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world," Pelosi told The New York Times' Maureen Dowd in July 2019 of Ocasio-Cortez and the three other members of the so-called "Squad." "But they didn't have any following. They're four people and that's how many votes they got."

A few months prior, Pelosi had been even more blunt about AOC and the Squad. "While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what's important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House," she told USA Today.

While Pelosi is technically right -- the Speaker has oodles more ability to impact what becomes a law than AOC -- she is also misunderestimating (ahem) the power that AOC's social media might carries.

It has become de rigeur these days to insist that "Twitter isn't real life." (I have said it!) But as NYT columnist Charlie Warzel argues, that oversimplified view misses the point. Here's the key bit from Charlie:

"Still, the notion that Twitter isn't real life is untrue. There's the obvious literal sense. Twitter is a real-world platform and is used by very real humans. Then there's the notion of tangible impact. Donald Trump's use of the platform for campaigning and governing and acting as assignment editor to the media is the sterling example, but it goes well beyond that. Ask a journalist who has been fired for an old, dredged-up tweet or a woman or person of color who has been doxxed, swatted or harassed and driven from his or her home if Twitter is real life. They'll say yes.

"There's also something ineffable about Twitter's influence, especially as it pertains to politics, around movement building and fandoms. Honest, sustained social media momentum behind candidates does seem to translate into something, even if it's not clear how much to trust it."

That second paragraph, I think, really captures why AOC matters so much in Democratic politics -- and the broader culture. She is not just a politician. She is a movement, driven forward to unimaginable heights for a freshman member of Congress by ardent fans who consume anything and everything she says and does.

AOC is the new model of our politics. She represents the future of how politicians will build support and then use that support to accomplish their political and policy goals. (AOC's next goal may well be a Senate primary challenge to Schumer in 2022.)

You don't have to agree with her politics (or even like her) to see that fact.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 730969

Reported Deaths: 13434
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1000031743
Lake53771970
Allen40668678
St. Joseph35733552
Hamilton35629408
Elkhart28577442
Tippecanoe22402219
Vanderburgh22310397
Porter18776308
Johnson17970379
Hendricks17244315
Clark12985191
Madison12673339
Vigo12449247
LaPorte11928211
Monroe11893170
Delaware10696186
Howard9924216
Kosciusko9410117
Hancock8284141
Bartholomew8070156
Warrick7784155
Floyd7669178
Grant7060174
Wayne7051199
Boone6700101
Morgan6576139
Dubois6156117
Marshall6050111
Dearborn581378
Cass5808105
Henry5720103
Noble561384
Jackson501773
Shelby491996
Lawrence4546120
Harrison435872
Gibson435492
DeKalb428485
Clinton427453
Montgomery424189
Whitley396139
Huntington391980
Steuben387857
Miami381866
Knox371990
Jasper366047
Putnam360760
Wabash354179
Adams341354
Ripley339770
Jefferson330981
White314354
Daviess297399
Wells291581
Decatur285492
Fayette280762
Greene278985
Posey271533
LaGrange266770
Scott266354
Clay260247
Randolph240781
Washington240732
Spencer232131
Jennings230149
Starke216654
Fountain212346
Sullivan211942
Owen200256
Fulton195440
Jay195130
Carroll189320
Orange183654
Perry183037
Rush173425
Vermillion169143
Franklin168135
Tipton162845
Parke146316
Blackford134932
Pike134334
Pulaski116845
Newton107834
Brown102141
Crawford99814
Benton98614
Martin89115
Warren82115
Switzerland7918
Union71010
Ohio56811
Unassigned0416

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1085733

Reported Deaths: 19441
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1261201400
Cuyahoga1124072120
Hamilton801491206
Montgomery515591014
Summit47292946
Lucas42275788
Butler38396584
Stark32412907
Lorain25046481
Warren24313300
Mahoning21629588
Lake20725369
Clermont19803238
Delaware18537133
Licking16436212
Fairfield16230200
Trumbull16082468
Medina15309264
Greene15099244
Clark14017299
Wood13113189
Portage12890203
Allen11675232
Richland11382199
Miami10686217
Wayne8843211
Columbiana8816229
Muskingum8815133
Pickaway8582121
Marion8539135
Tuscarawas8487244
Erie7917154
Hancock6929127
Ross6858155
Ashtabula6830170
Geauga6697148
Scioto6417101
Belmont5920167
Union571048
Lawrence5560102
Jefferson5544151
Huron5439119
Darke5364123
Sandusky5359121
Seneca5290121
Athens520058
Washington5160109
Auglaize491984
Mercer480885
Shelby470093
Knox4495110
Madison436661
Putnam4287100
Fulton423969
Ashland423189
Defiance421097
Crawford3978107
Brown395057
Logan382376
Preble379898
Clinton372963
Ottawa367479
Highland355662
Williams340275
Champaign333458
Guernsey316253
Jackson312652
Perry295350
Morrow285639
Fayette282250
Hardin271464
Henry269366
Coshocton265357
Holmes2611101
Van Wert243763
Adams238552
Pike237734
Gallia235949
Wyandot231555
Hocking215462
Carroll191647
Paulding173340
Meigs144940
Noble133337
Monroe132342
Harrison108537
Morgan108523
Vinton83515
Unassigned02
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