Here’s a Really Dumb Conservative Meme About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

It misses the entire point of her congressional campaign.

G. Ronald Lopez/ZUMA Wire

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Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez instantly became a national celebrity after she upset 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in last week’s primary. Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old member of the Democratic Socialists of America, scored interviews on Meet the Press and the Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and has inspired a whole bunch of op-eds wondering what her lefty campaign portends for the future of the Democratic Party.

Conservative pundits have taken notice too. On Sunday, Newsmax TV host John Cardillo dropped what he considered to be a bombshell. Although Ocasio-Cortez stands to represent a district that includes parts of Queens and the Bronx (where she lives now), Cardillo pointed that she used to live in the suburbs:

That wasn’t quite right, and the candidate eventually set him straight:

But Cardillo’s argument—echoed by places like the Daily Mail—misses something fundamental about Ocasio-Cortez’s message. That house with the leafy yard Cardillo tweeted out? The family nearly lost it after Ocasio-Cortez’s father died of cancer during the Great Recession. In the hopes of keeping it, her mother cleaned houses and drove buses and, and Ocasio-Cortez—flush with a background in public policy and that economics degree from BU—took a job waitressing and bartending at a Mexican restaurant in Manhattan. (Eventually, they sold the house.)

Ocasio-Cortez tells a variation of that story all the time, and for good reason. It’s a classic story of the Great Recession, and even more so, it’s a classic story of millennials during the Great Recession, stunted in their prospects by the failings of political and economic institutions, always one crisis away from disaster. Cardillo is staring right at the essence of Ocasio-Cortez’s message, but he still can’t see it.

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And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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