The Ocasio-Cortez Threat

Ridicule is a powerful weapon, but must be used with care.

The Democrats and the Republicans have long been referred to by pundits as the Evil Party and the Stupid Party, respectively.  The Democrats are the Evil Party because their policies are destroying the liberties and traditions that made this country great.  The Republicans are the Stupid Party because, although by and large they claim to believe in good policies, they are unwilling to fight for them in any meaningful way.

Conservative voters and ordinary salt-of-the-earth Republicans have finally figured this out; that's why we have President Donald Trump.  He is not recognizably a Republican per se, but he is willing to fight with both feet, both fists, his knees, his elbows, and his teeth.

But there is a right way and a wrong way to fight against the policies being promoted by ill-informed left-wing fascists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Beto O'Rourke.  Our fight is handicapped by the long decades when there was no serious fight going on and the Left has had complete control of our organs of public information and education.

Thanks to massive voter ignorance caused by intentional misinformation from the media and union-dominated public schools, we can no longer count on voters seeing through the impracticalities of what leftist politicians say they want to do.  After all, American voters elected the Obysmal Barack Obama, not once, but twice - and he's still the most popular living president.

Before we can regain traction in overcoming the Left and pushing back their policies, we have a huge mountain to climb: that of educating the American people just why, for example, socialism, welfarism and big government are Bad Things.  We can't just assume everybody knows this, the way we could in the 50s.  Our main concern is that we must be extremely careful not to mock them in a way that increases their support.

We do have to mock our opponents to show our side just how terrible they are - that helps us maintain turnout of the conservative base.  Donald Trump has been spectacularly effective at this, to his benefit and to ours, but despite his best efforts, he hasn't expanded his base significantly.  Our opponents concede that his base is solid, but they're peeling off some of the less fervent.

No matter how effective it is, our mockery won't get through to their base, and in a 50-50 nation, we must bring people over to our side.  What's worse, ill-advised mockery can actually strengthen the opposing message if the fundamental beliefs of the two sides are sufficiently far apart, as they are today.

Spectacular Own Goals

For example, in the 2016 Presidential primaries, the MSM repeatedly mocked candidate Donald Trump for saying ridiculous things such as "We'll build a wall and Mexico will pay for it."

The inhabitants of our lyin' lefty liberal bubble didn't realize how many "deplorable" voters would think this was a Very Good Idea.  They assumed that the voters would see through what they were convinced was utter nonsense, view Donald Trump as a joke, and vote for serious, "most experienced candidate ever" Hillary.  Instead, vast throngs of voters leapt upon Donald Trump's bandwagon with glad cries of "Finally, a politician who says what I think!"  The rest is history.

Those of us who know how impractical "free college" would turn out to be in practice must remember that "free college" was merely the first of the "big frees" which Sen. Bernie Sanders would probably have ridden to the Democrat nomination for President if Hillary's DNC hadn't cheated him.  It is, of course, ridiculous: haven't we seen enough articles about the decline of college standards and the vast number of utterly worthless degrees to know that charging all college costs to the taxpayers would simply bankrupt us faster without accomplishing anything useful?

The trouble is, neither Bernie's base voters nor AOC's have read those articles.  What most people have seen is the objective fact that a college degree has, for no objective reason that anyone can sensibly express, become just about an absolute requirement for any kind of job that pays a living family wage.  They've also seen the truly monumental average student debt load, a relatively new phenomenon which blights at least the first ten years of most people's adult lives.

Now, both of these serious and very real problems should be directly blamed on (mis)government.  The unnecessary college-degree requirement is largely caused by antidiscrimination laws; if companies fail to hire a given minority no matter how grossly disqualified or unappealing they might personally be, they'll be sued even if there's no evidence of actual intentional discrimination due to race.  But if they simply state the requirement of a college degree, that provides them with a perfectly legal and bureaucratically simple way to weed out most of the riff-raff of all races.  The massive cost to young Americans and to a society that is stuck paying for educational credentials that most people don't actually need in order to do most jobs is neither the companies' problem nor their concern.

And the ever-growing cost of college is also caused by excessive government regulations which have caused a monumental increase in the number of highly-paid university administrative staffwho do nothing academically beneficial; they simply check the ever-multiplying government form boxes required to accept federal loans.  In turn, those loans make it marginally possible for students to continue to attend.  If federal student loans were gotten rid of, most students would be unable to pay the inflated tuition; colleges would either have to cut costs by sacking administrative overhead or shut down due to lack of sales.  Either way, life would be more affordable for all concerned - save the laid-off administrators who'd now have to find a real job.

And that's it's in nobody's interest to tell the kids this: not the universities, not the government, and certainly not the media.  It's much easier for everyone simply to complain that it's the government's job to provide the educational "requirements" for modern work, and let power-hungry politicians make the corresponding promises. We can't count on enough voters seeing the silliness of liberal programs because the rise of Mr. Sanders and his younger acolytes was enabled by the destruction of our education system.

In one form or another, the "free lunch" fantasy has led to millions of deaths in the Soviet Union, China, Venezuela, and other places, but our young people haven't been taught about that.  On its face, though, it is a quite attractive idea.  Convincing people that they're broke because "the rich" are selfish and won't pay their "fair share" is a lot easier than convincing them that they need to get a degree in a viable subject, get a job, and earn whatever they want.

Never forget the reason Mr. Sanders' "you're entitled" message was far more popular than Dr. Ben Carson's "get to work" was.  "You deserve" is also how Democrats have held the black vote since the Great Society welfare programs were put in.  This well-disproved notion is accepted because Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's supporters are as ignorant of economics as she is.

It's not as if the facts were hidden in any way.  The Tax Foundation tells us:

In 2014, the top 1 percent of taxpayers accounted for more income taxes paid than the bottom 90 percent combined. The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid $543 billion, or 39.48 percent of all income taxes, while the bottom 90 percent paid $400 billion, or 29.12 percent of all income taxes.

The rich aren't stealing from the poor, quite the contrary: they're paying overwhelming majorities of all taxes, which is what you'd logically expect to occur since that's where the money is.  Of course, you could simply confiscate their wealth - but then who'd be left to pay next year's bill?

The problem is that, in a capitalist society, the way anyone gets rich is by making a profit in some fashion.  Beto, AOC, and their followers are all totally convinced that profit is evil - just as most of them have been taught from the cradle.  Profits are pried from the bleeding fingers of downtrodden employees or customers; why shouldn't they use political power to extract their "fair share"?

They don't realize that profit fuels civilization.  How did the Babylonians decide that there are 360 degrees in a circle?  They had enough farming surplus that a few men could spend time in research.  How did Euclid and Socrates and Plato and Maxwell have time to think?  There was an agricultural surplus.

How did we get the iPod?  From the profits Steve Jobs made on the Apple Mac.  How did we get the iPad?  From the profit Mr. Jobs made on the iPod.  If government had taken his profits away, we wouldn't have these technological marvels.

Such facts seem to make no impression on Bernie's followers, or on Beto's or AOC's.  After all, as they see it, her degree in economics from Boston University suggests that she knows what's she's talking about when she spouts nonsense like unemployment being down only because everyone is working two jobs, or that we can pay for "single payer" health care by cutting the military budget.

The Power of Bias

When it comes to public relations, their situation and Mr. Trump's could not be more unlike.  Mr. Trump was an outsider and neither party's elite appreciated him at all.  When the MSM spoke about what he said, it was only to mock.  Part of his genius and their ignorance was that their ill-thought-through mockery helped spread his message to a receptive national audience.

AOC and Beto are entirely different - they are insiders being pushed by the liberal establishment.  The MSM will cover for them by being silent on actions that would instantly terminate any Republican's career, like Beto leaving the site of a hit-and-run accident or his promoting the gentrification of large neighborhoods so that his wife's wealthy family - yes, Mr. O'Rourke wisely married into a family of plutocrats - could add even more wicked, wicked profit to their already overflowing coffers.

Occasionally, the truth leaks out: when AOC lobs a particularly nutty statement, the MSM have to discuss it because she has more Twitter followers than the other incoming representatives put together.  But they do their best to sand off the rough edges.  They said she "misspoke" when she couldn't name the branches of government, just as Mr. Obama's "57 states" remark somehow fell down the memory hole.

It is not possible for conservatives to attempt to dispose of what, to them, are transparent loons by ridiculing their lunacy.  We might get a laugh by contemplating AOC's absurd financial miscalculations, but if we make fun of her plans to make college and healthcare free, half the country will simply hear "AOC will make college and healthcare free!" and run to the polls to vote for her.

So how do we fight them?  Well, when there's an opportunity for an actual discussion, we can engage folks in conversation and hope they still have a residual handful of functional brain cells.  You might ask them,  who pays for college?  If college is important enough that they want me to pay for it, why shouldn't the student pay?  Why should I pay for your voters' goodies?

This won't get any traction with the far left, of course, who believe Somebody Else should pay for everything they want, but we need to pound that home anyway because that idea of "who pays" still has an appeal to moderates. To this end, enlightened self-interest is our friend.

  • Why should we pay higher energy taxes when China and India are increasing their carbon emissions while we cut ours?
  • Why pay welfare to illiterate foreigners who contribute nothing except to America's diverse tapestry of entitlement and sloth?
  • Why pay more for health care?  Obamacare was supposed to cut costs, and we paid plenty more for it.

"Why should I pay for your stuff?" cuts both ways, of course.  As we criticize our big-spending opponents, we need to keep our own house in order.  This means:

  • No taxpayer bailouts, even for reasonably conservative farmers.
  • No taxpayer subsidies for ethanol; alas and to their shame, no Republican politician seems to have the guts to do that in Iowa, the land of King Corn.
  • Entitlement reform - our entitlements are completely out of control, and voters on both sides need to be educated about it.

Education Takes Time, But Smart Ridicule Doesn't

Explaining to the "free lunch" generation that somebody has to pay for all the activities that happen behind the scenes before anyone can eat a lunch of any kind will take time.  In the meantime, we can go after AOC by carefully illustrating the ridiculousness of her positions.

For instance, she threatened to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. because she didn't like some of his comments about her.  Instead of pointing out that threatening voters with retribution through the subpoena power is against the House regulations, he had answered her question "Why are you so afraid of a socialist economy" by pointing out that Americans would rather walk their dogs than eat them.

This is a reference to the socialist miseries of Venezuela where price controls have made toilet paper a luxury good.  Our MSM hasn't been all that forthcoming about the miseries of Venezuela - the total failure of socialism has never been fit to print - but if someone asks, "What is he talking about?" you can explain.

You might also gain some converts by asking, "So, AOC wants to haul in for questioning someone who is making fun of her?  Is that the kind of politician we want in America?  Doesn't that sound more like an old-time politician in a different place who wore a funny mustache?"

Similarly, Cory Booker, another 2020 wannabe, wrote an entire article detailing his sexual harassment of a women in his younger years.  He rightly admitted this was wrong.  Is apologizing for these kind of actions sufficient, though?  At the very least, learning about this double standard might make some of his supporters a bit less enthusiastic.

The MSM has gifted AOC, Beto, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, and several others with name recognition and fame that it took Mr. Trump decades of hard work to achieve via his airline, his casino, his Trump Tower, his golf courses and resorts, and finally his The Apprentice TV show.

To be fair, they've contributed some skill: AOC is as gifted at twitting her followers as Mr. Trump.  Hordes of useful idiot voters hang on her every tweets which will never be censored no matter how much genuine hate she expresses for working people.  She's a formidable enemy of our freedoms!

Once again, the Trumps show the correct response.  As Mr. Trump's namesake son did, we must react to her jibes in such a way that she lashes back in more and more incoherence and blatantly obvious unAmericanism.  True worshippers won't change, but judicious publicity of their worst doings will sway thinking independents.  And if there aren't enough of those left to make a difference, we're doomed anyway, so let's make the best of the opportunity.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

I genuinely applaud your optimism. I fear, however, that all the major issues of the day have now been boiled down to their irreconcilable differences. When the age old tools of reason, logic and historic precedent have been summarily discarded by half the country, the path forward looks pretty grim.
I just can't remember the last time I heard someone say "You're absolutely right; how could I have ever been so wrong...up till now my life has been a lie; you've shown be the truth , the way and the light. Thank you".
Humans just don't do that....especially in these days of identity politics. People's identities are so wrapped up in their beliefs that if they COULD be convinced they were wrong, their only option would be suicide.
All that cheerfulness aside, thank you for a well done piece and a Merry Christmas to you and the other stalwarts at Scragged.

December 17, 2018 9:04 PM

Great insight about pretty shallow people. One of their arguments that seems to work is “... if Europe can give out free stuff, why can’t we ? “ Since most of their followers have no idea where/what Europe is, it seems to get a lot of amens. Europe is in big trouble because they can’t really afford their welfare and “ free” healthcare system. Just about all the countries not called Germany, borrow heavily because they know the industrious Germans back the Euro. And the quality of “free” health care is pretty shabby. May be worth some effort for a Republican pol to explain why euro socialism doesn’t really work. It’s easy to mock Venezuela, but if Italy is in trouble, it may get a second thought.

December 17, 2018 10:20 PM

Do you really want to lump Beto in with that NY woman? Beto has a certain amount of sleaze but otherwise sounds like an ordinary politician.

December 17, 2018 11:07 PM

I don't know how we would go about ridiculing this, but there has to be a way. Please note the claim to be representing "all women!"

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2018/12/17/miss-spain-becomes-first-transgender-woman-compete-miss-universe-pageant/?utm_term=.3f719ef31f24

Miss Spain makes history as first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe pageant

Simply by representing her country this year, Ponce became the first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe. After the preliminary rounds, the 27-year-old model said it was “an honor and pride” to be part of the history of the pageant.

“This is for you, for those who have no visibility, no voice, because we all deserve a world of respect, inclusion and freedom,” Ponce wrote on Instagram on Friday. “And today I am here, proudly representing my nation, all women and human rights.”

Though Miss Universe — and other beauty pageants — have undergone scrutiny (and changes) in recent years to avoid objectifying women, Ponce said she embraced the competition as a chance to fulfill not only her personal ambitions but also to be an ambassador for Spanish culture.


For her national costume, she donned a traditional Spanish “bata de cola.”

“This is an iconic piece in Spain, also known all over the world,” Ponce explained on Instagram. “It is a precious reference of my country.”


Ponce said she had been dancing the flamenco since she was 6 years old. For the longest time, her dream was merely to perform the dance while wearing a flamenco dress. That didn’t happen until she was 17 years old.

“For a long time those were things I always wanted to do,” Ponce told Miss Universe organizers. “I put so much focus into it, that in the end, it became a reality.”

She smiled and motioned to herself, as if to emphasize: She wasn’t just wearing a flamenco dress now. She was wearing one at Miss Universe.

December 18, 2018 10:52 AM

I’m afraid I have to agree, on all points, with F. Johnston. Although there is hope of persuading moderates, for many on the left politics has replaced religion, and the devotion to their beliefs rivals that of the most fervent Christian—without, of course, the Christian obligation to show kindness and mercy to their enemies. Leftists are similar to the Inquisitors, searching assiduously for any doctrinal departure and finding the infidels who hold wrong opinions to be worthy of forced recantation or death.

December 18, 2018 12:37 PM

Obama and his 57 states is absolutely correct.

If you look up the definition of "United States" in the United States Code USC you will find many definitions, however, each of them geographically, boils down to this:

The term United States includes District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam and other territories of the Untied States. This term does not include the 50 Union States. Yes there are 57 States. 50 Union States and 7 States of the United States.

These two groups of States are different as night and day. That difference is what makes the Republic. But does anyone even know what the Republic is or how it is structured?

Unfortunately, the Congress that is the what we call the Federal Government, has turned the Republic on its head and is transforming the governmental structure from a Constitutional Republic to Democracy. All, right in front of the faces of the people of this nation but no one knows it and most do not care.

December 19, 2018 7:26 AM

While the analysis is valid no substantive solution is put forth. Educating the populous begs the question as to how. Here the liberals have the decided advantage; a short, emotional layned message (not paying their fair share, profits and businesses are evil etc.), free benefits (college education, health care, living wages etc.), focus on "aggrieved" minorities most susceptible to their message and educational and media bias. The conservative message is more complex and fact based which, given the short attention span of voters, is a more difficult sell. We then should rip a page from the Alinsky manual and act accordingly. For example he talks of freezing your opponent and we should always refer to liberals as socialist which is still a dirty word in America. Equally devastating is referring to them as atheist in a country where 70% of the population profess some religious affiliation or belief. Unfair of course, but throw away a fact based message and substitute a message relying upon an emotional response.

December 23, 2018 3:43 PM

I'm fond of taking to social media and urging Alexandria Occasionally-Cortexted to abandon politics for a career in pornography, a profession for which she is obviously far better suited and in which capacity she will do far less damage.

January 5, 2019 9:34 PM
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