Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — the 28-year-old Democratic Socialist who shot to political stardom when she stunned longtime incumbent Joe Crowley in a congressional New York Democratic primary in June, as CNN reported, joined the outpouring of tributes to late Arizona Republican Senator John McCain on Saturday. However, Ocasio-Cortez's fans were not happy about it.
Ocasio-Cortez has allied herself closely with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, working for Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign and more recently campaigning alongside Sanders for other Democratic Socialist candidates, as The New Yorker reported. Sanders himself also posted a message on Twitter honoring McCain on Saturday, following McCain's death from brain cancer at his home in Arizona.
"John McCain was an American hero, a man of decency and honor and a friend of mine. He will be missed not just in the U.S. Senate but by all Americans who respect integrity and independence," Sanders wrote on his Twitter account.
Ocasio-Cortez — who as a 20-year-old, per the Mic news site, served an internship with Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy (who died in 2009) — posted a Twitter message of her own that closely echoed Sanders' tribute, while including her own experience.
"John McCain's legacy represents an unparalleled example of human decency and American service. As an intern, I learned a lot about the power of humanity in government through his deep friendship with Sen. Kennedy," Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "He meant so much, to so many. My prayers are with his family."
But Ocasio-Cortez, if she was checking her Twitter notifications, would have quickly learned that expressing any kind of positive sentiment toward McCain was not a popular move among the Democratic Socialist rank and file — at least judging by those who posted replies to the congressional candidate's Twitter message. One fan even let Ocasio-Cortez know where she thought McCain had gone after his death.Another now-former fan labeled Ocasio-Cortez a "sell out" for her Twitter message demoralizing McCain, while another branded her a neoconservative. California Green Party congressional candidate Kenneth Mejia also took the New York Democratic Socialist to task.But not all of Ocasio-Cortez's followers expressed bitterness over her kind words toward McCain. Some lamented what they said was the nasty and hostile tone of the replies, and questioned whether she had a realistic view of the Sanders supporters who have also supported her since she won the Democratic congressional primary in New York's 14th Congressional District. And another saw evidence of sexism in the response to Ocasio-Cortez, a charge that has long been leveled at Sanders' supporters. In fact, according to research data cited by Slate, sexism played a major role in the refusal of 25 percent of Sanders' primary voters to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump in the general election.Ocasio-Cortez faces a Republican opponent, St. Joh's University economist Anthony Pappas, in the midterm general election in November, but in her district in which Democrats outnumber Republicans six to one, she is considered a prohibitive favorite to win, according to the New York Post.