My second column at The Federalist this week is titled “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is The Unicorn In A Field Of Fantasy Candidates,” which is a better title than whatever I proposed.
Regular readers know I believe that a mass audience tends to prefer reading about people over events over ideas. So while the column is ostensibly about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s really more about populist politics disadvantaging anyone with a political record — and the origin of that sentiment in political psychology. Indeed, I originally pitched this column as a more abstract thinkpiece about the 2020 Democratic primary field before realizing I was violating one of my own guidelines. And AOC is a hot topic right now (my last column got plenty of clicks), so I moved her from the second act of this drama to the first.
Space considerations caused me to leave out a bit about the role youth plays in this dynamic, particularly with Millennials and Gen Z having favorable opinions of “socialism,” a term every bit as ill-defined as “capitalism.” Some of this is the after-effects of the Great Recession, and some the result of so-called “higher” education today, but also the romantic feeling of being part of something “revolutionary,” which fits nicely into my argument as published.
I also could have delved much further into the sources of political disappointment mentioned in the column. For example, one could argue that modern capitalism produces a sense of alienation, or a sense of entitlement, and occasionally both in various segments of the population — all of which contribute to people investing far too much of their identities into politics (and politics as a religion, a topic I’ve written about often). But that was sort of the problem — a book could be written about that subject, so I had to stick to keeping today’s argument flowing.
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