Tomi Lahren, the right-wing political commentator who rose to fame for her viral social media videos, says progressive darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is only big on Twitter and not "successful in real life" — proving once again conservatives only like the "pull yourself by the bootstraps" narrative as long as it's theoretical.
During a Fox & Friends segment Thursday morning, co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked Lahren what she thought of the Democratic presidential candidates who are emulating some of Ocasio-Cortez's policies such as the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is very successful and she’s the darling of the Democratic Party," Earhardt said of the New York lawmaker, who in November became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
But Lahren believes Ocasio-Cortez's rise to political stardom is not a sign of success. "There’s a difference between being successful on Twitter and social media like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and being relatable on social media platforms and actually being successful in real life," she said.
Conservatives have been obsessed with Ocasio-Cortez ever since she defeated the fourth-ranking House Democrat in a surprise primary upset last summer. The 29-year-old has used her megaphone to push for progressive policies, ranging from higher taxes for the super wealthy to paying congressional interns and staffers a living wage. Many Democrats are following her footsteps: For example, before she was even sworn-in she helped launch the Green New Deal into the nation's consciousness, leading to around 40 House Democrats pledging to support the policy. And now, it looks like climate change will be a main issue in the 2020 election, with several Democratic presidential contenders adopting the Green New Deal as part of their platforms.
It's easy to forget that barely a year ago Ocasio-Cortez was running her congressional campaign out of the Union Square bar where she worked as a waitress and bartender. The right's criticism since she won her primary — about her clothes not looking poor enough, her humble childhood home, how much money she has in the bank, the decent public high school she attended, and now, how she's not truly successful despite defeating a Democratic giant and making longtime lawmakers follow her policies — runs counter to the conservative's favorite narrative of "pulling oneself up by the bootstraps."
In fact, Ocasio-Cortez and her family has never received any praise for embodying what that popular American narrative looks like. Ocasio-Cortez's late father was a small business owner and her mother cleaned houses; both worked hard enough to uproot the family from the Bronx and relocate to Yorktown, where they knew Ocasio-Cortez would have access to better opportunities. It helped Ocasio-Cortez make her way to Boston University, from where she graduated. But after her father died of cancer, she became an educator with the nonprofit National Hispanic Institute and waited tables and bartended on the side to help her family.
It all led her to become the youngest congresswoman in history, and a lawmaker with significant amount of power for a first-term representative, which seems like the type of "American dream" Lahren mentioned in her segment. The political commentator is right about Ocasio-Cortez's social media genius, where she talks everything from her beauty routine to demystifying how Congress works. But to deny the freshman congresswoman is also successful "in real life" it's dishonest as it's delusional.