Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made just one speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, but it’s already a classic.
The freshman Congresswoman from the Bronx has amassed an extensive nationwide following in just a few months since she burst into the spotlight with a shocking primary win over longtime Democrat Joseph Crowley. That has continued as she’s taken office, and the Hill reports that Cortez has already set a record for C-SPAN viewership.
With her first speech from the House floor, Cortez now has the most-viewed Twitter video in C-SPAN history, attracting nearly 2 million views in less than a day.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used the speech to say that the ongoing government shutdown represents that “erosion of American democracy” and accused Donald Trump of using the lives of federal workers as a bargaining chip. Cortez has been one of the most vocal critics of the shutdown and steadfast in her stance not to give in on Trump’s demand for border wall funding.
“It is not normal to hold 800,000 workers’ paychecks hostage. It is not normal to shut down the government when we don’t get what we want,” she continued.
“And it is certainly not normal to starve the people we serve for a proposal that is wildly unpopular among the American people.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knows a thing or two about using social media to connect with supporters. Even before she burst onto the national scene, Cortez had built a massive following on Twitter which she used to espouse her progressive ideals and take on Republicans. And during her campaign, Cortez took to Instagram to post live videos that intermixed her personal life with her policy stances.
First House Floor speech from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC): “The truth of this shutdown is that it's actually not about a wall...The truth is, this shutdown is about the erosion of American democracy and the subversion of our most basic governmental norms." pic.twitter.com/r8tmsGSNtT— CSPAN (@cspan) January 17, 2019
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's first speech made C-SPAN history In just over 12 hours C-SPAN tweet of @RepAOC floor remarks last nite have become most-viewed twitter video by @cspan of any remarks by a member of House either party. 1.16M,” https://t.co/tByKoTXV6b via @nypost— JusticeToAll ⚖️ (@JusticeToAll) January 17, 2019
Cortez has often sparred with political opponents on Twitter as well. This week, former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took to Twitter to attack Cortez using an incorrect example of her proposal to tax income over $10 million at 70 percent to fund her Green New Deal and other progressive ideas. Walker said he was sharing the idea with fifth graders, asking if it would be fair if their parents took $7 from every $10 they earned.
Explaining tax rates before Reagan to 5th graders: “Imagine if you did chores for your grandma and she gave you $10. When you got home, your parents took $7 from you.” The students said: “That’s not fair!” Even 5th graders get it.— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) January 15, 2019
Cortez, never one to back down from a fight on social media, had a viral response that set Walker straight.
Explaining marginal taxes to a far-right former Governor:— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 15, 2019
Imagine if you did chores for abuela & she gave you $10. When you got home, you got to keep it, because it’s only $10.
Then we taxed the billionaire in town because he’s making tons of money underpaying the townspeople. https://t.co/Wcnn2sEgek
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is now passing those skills on to her Democratic colleagues. As CNN reported, she joined with another Democrat to offer a workshop on how to make the best use of Twitter to connect with voters and share their policy ideas.