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 1:01 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2020 1:01 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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 148387

Reported Deaths: 3769
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto9874101
Hinds9821198
Harrison6982110
Jackson6218119
Rankin5417102
Lee498495
Madison4711106
Forrest375086
Jones352488
Lauderdale3412145
Lafayette319749
Washington3153107
Lamar286349
Oktibbeha243562
Bolivar240884
Lowndes232864
Neshoba2189118
Panola218849
Marshall211950
Leflore203490
Pontotoc199128
Monroe196077
Sunflower191055
Lincoln187865
Warren174157
Tate166951
Union165325
Pike160958
Copiah160440
Yazoo152939
Scott151829
Itawamba151134
Coahoma149543
Pearl River149467
Alcorn148228
Simpson146353
Prentiss143730
Adams139250
Grenada138845
Leake133243
Holmes127861
Tippah123730
George123524
Covington120938
Winston120024
Hancock117639
Wayne116923
Marion114846
Attala111234
Tishomingo108742
Chickasaw106932
Newton104229
Tallahatchie96727
Clay89927
Clarke89153
Jasper81722
Walthall76028
Stone75214
Calhoun73713
Montgomery72825
Carroll71415
Lawrence70714
Yalobusha70527
Smith70316
Noxubee70017
Perry65826
Tunica60219
Greene59722
Claiborne57916
Jefferson Davis56017
Humphreys53119
Amite52714
Benton49017
Quitman4846
Webster42314
Kemper42118
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34711
Franklin3345
Choctaw3157
Sharkey30817
Issaquena1144
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 241957

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31809500
Mobile19651361
Madison12964148
Tuscaloosa12946154
Montgomery12263236
Shelby1016177
Baldwin857698
Lee771866
Morgan648050
Calhoun6215119
Etowah618266
Marshall618255
Houston522438
DeKalb480436
Cullman433442
Limestone418645
St. Clair413655
Elmore403764
Lauderdale396754
Walker3620111
Talladega347954
Jackson311723
Colbert306042
Blount287940
Autauga270442
Franklin250233
Coffee242015
Dale231754
Dallas225232
Russell22123
Chilton220638
Covington218034
Escambia197931
Chambers176450
Tallapoosa175491
Pike158114
Clarke157619
Marion137136
Winston131123
Lawrence126336
Pickens121618
Geneva12108
Marengo120224
Barbour117010
Bibb117017
Butler115341
Randolph101921
Cherokee101024
Hale96031
Clay91024
Washington90719
Fayette89316
Henry8526
Lowndes79429
Monroe78311
Cleburne76914
Macon73022
Crenshaw70930
Bullock69419
Conecuh68314
Perry6836
Lamar6678
Wilcox63118
Sumter57522
Greene42318
Choctaw42113
Coosa3414
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