AOC doesn’t need your social media advice

Elijah Helton, Opinions Columnist

Can we stop pretending relatable politicians are bad?

Ever since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez burst onto the national scene last June, she’s been attacked for being different. She’s a young female former bartender of color who wants to shake up Washington. She has invigorated the American left while representing a sea change in our country’s youngest generation of voters, and one of the main ingredients of her gravitas is her social media.

Part of being an effective politician in this era is having a strong internet presence. You have to be good online; it’s just a natural evolution from having to be good on TV and radio before that and print before that.

If we take the pessimistic luddite approach to politicians on social media, we’ll stifle their connection to constituents. We make fun of old politicians not knowing how the basics of how Google and Facebook work, but we sneer when a younger one is actually aware of how the digital age is affecting our world. We have to look forward to a future in which more politicians are acceptable, relatable, and able to communicate effectively in online spheres.

Regardless of what you think about her policies, we should all be able to agree that Ocasio-Cortez’s ability to connect with people is a good thing for politics. And it’s not like she’s merely an online personality with a congressional office, Ocasio-Cortez does the work. She campaigns door to door. She has the highest percentage of small donations. She gives speeches, attends rallies, and collaborates with other members of Congress. She does it all in addition to being a social-media powerhouse.

Perhaps a bit more formality would make Congress’ youngest woman a little more palatable to the old guard, but muzzling the Democratic Party’s brightest new star doesn’t really seem like the best move.

Those looking to restrain Ocasio-Cortez’s social media should get out of the way, or else risk their mentions getting lit up like the Fourth of July.

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