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Why AOC should be next to lead the DNC

Why AOC should be next to lead the DNC
© Bonnie Cash

As difficult as this may be to believe, the person who should be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez says she ranked Wiley first, Stringer second in NYC mayoral vote Five things to watch in the NYC mayor's race primary Heatwaves don't lie: Telling the truth about climate change MORE (D-N.Y.), and President Trump have two very big things in common:  

(A) lack of a filter 

(B) exceptional social media prowess as a result

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Those two items combined serve as the new road map for how politicians will communicate with the masses and, by extension, the media. 

The rhetoric is blunt and unforgiving. And oftentimes, because Twitter serves as a platform for complaining rather than discussing actual solutions, a regular airing of grievances. 

Which makes AOC the perfect politician in a country that loves a good complaint but where solutions to real problems are in short supply (outside of the "solution" of throwing money at the problem). 

To that end, the 31-year-old Democratic socialist is exceptionally adept at telling you what's wrong with X, Y, Z and whom to blame for it. That, my friends, is what gets you more social media followers and traditional media coverage than just about anyone in Congress despite having been in the swamp for less than two years. 

And with that comes enormous power. 

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This week came another call from AOC for House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi quashes reports on Jan. 6 select committee Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs warn against sweeping reform to military justice system | Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal | National Guard may have 'training issues' if not reimbursed On The Money: Powell says pickup in job gains likely this fall | Schumer, Pelosi meeting with White House on infrastructure MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerWhite House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill Harris to preside over Senate for voting rights debate MORE (D-N.Y.) to be removed from their respective positions. But how can that be? Democrats control the House, could win back the Senate through two Georgia runoff elections on Jan. 5 and took back the White House with Joe Biden winning 12 million more votes than his old boss Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama: Voting rights bill must pass before next election The world's most passionate UFO skeptic versus the government Biden plans to host Obama for portrait unveiling that Trump skipped: report MORE won in 2008. 

But when peeling back the onion, the party is in complete disarray. Again, how can that be? Well, Democrats lost seats in the House despite almost every prediction saying they would gain seats. The result is the smallest majority since World War II. More importantly, it sets up a perfect scenario for the GOP, which will assuredly take back said House in 2022 since the party not in power in the White House usually gains seats and the GOP needs very few to win a majority. And if Republicans hold the Senate by winning one of two Senate runoffs in the Peach State, the civil war within the Democratic Party will go full nuclear, with AOC playing the very public role of General Cornwallis.  

Note: The passion within the blue team comes not from the Pelosi/Schumer wing of the party, but from AOC's squad faction. It's also the reason, many political observers point out, why House races went so badly for Democrats last month in somehow losing at least 12 seats, including some in California. AOC’s agenda of “Medicare for All,” defunding the police, abolishing ICE and trillions for the Green New Deal may get the lion's share of press attention, but it’s not the message embraced warmly by the electorate. 

No matter: Ocasio-Cortez believes Pelosi is the problem and needs to go. 

“I do think that we need new leadership in the Democratic Party," she told The Intercept last week in comments that dominated headlines. "The internal dynamics of the House has made it such that there's very little option for succession. It's easy for someone to say, ‘Oh well, you know, why don't you run?’ But the House is extraordinarily complex, and I'm not ready. It can't be me. I know that I couldn't do that job.”

And therein is the perfect microcosm of who AOC is: a complainer and not a doer. One can't simply say this person isn't doing the job without offering up a successor. Pelosi isn't right for the job? Fine. A decided majority of Americans regardless of political affiliation agree with that (Pelosi is at just 33 percent approval in recent polls). But without presenting herself or naming someone else as the heir apparent, Ocasio-Cortez is just another sports talk radio caller ranting about how horrible their team is. 

From a legislative perspective, AOC also has no victories of note to her credit despite all the media hype. Her signature proposal, the Green New Deal, was shot down in the Senate 57-0. According to GovTrack, "zero of Ocasio-Cortez’s 10 bills and resolutions had a cosponsor from a different political party than the party Ocasio-Cortez caucused with in 2019," while she "introduced zero bills in 2019 that got past committee and to the floor for consideration." As for compromise, GovTrack shows AOC "joined bipartisan bills the 2nd least often compared to New York Delegation." Not exactly a surprise. 

So, with the inability to actually get things done and with no desire to guide the party via the House speakership, running the rudderless Democratic National Committee would be the perfect fit. A post-Trump era promises major challenges for the DNC, which benefitted from an anti-Trump wave in 2020 but struggled from a fundraising perspective in the non-election years before it. 

“In the arc of history, defeating President Trump was the most important thing that happened in 2020, but the fact that we lost some key House and Senate races and did not pick up statehouses is a red flag telling us that there’s still a ton of work to do,” David Pepper, chairman of the Democratic Party of Ohio, said last week. “The job will be immediate for the next person who comes in. There were a lot of troubling down-ticket losses, and a bad cycle in 2022 could make things very difficult for us.”  

The key components to fundraising are triggering the following: Passion. Empathy. Anger. Fear. In looking at AOC's Twitter feed and watching her interviews, those four components are prevalent in her toolbox.

If you doubt how powerful the one-time bartender is from a media perspective, check this out: Her response to Rep. Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoOcasio-Cortez on Taylor Greene: 'These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time' Ocasio-Cortez: 'No consequences' in GOP for violence, racism 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics MORE (R-FL) calling her a "f***ing bitch" on the House floor earlier this year was tweeted out by C-SPAN. Within six hours, it became the most retweeted post in the history of the channel, generating more than 16 million viewers for that single tweet alone. 

Within 24 hours, it was C-SPAN's most-watched House clip ever. That kind of social media attention can raise serious money. And no producer on the planet would turn down an AOC airtime request. 

The list is long in finding Tom PerezThomas PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE's successor at the top of the DNC. If fundraising is the ultimate goal, AOC being that person is a no-brainer. 

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.