Why is AOC so popular

Jesse Wright is a sturdy, tall fellow in his late thirties. He trained as a Spengler and works in Ohio as an official for a metal union. Wright drives a Ford pickup truck and a Harley. He has a very loud hobby: he collects old steam pipes.

Jesse Wright has always been a Democrat because for him the Democrats are the party of the workers and the common people. That is important to him. Otherwise he is not particularly left. Election researchers would put Wright in the category white working class classify - a white middle-class worker, lower than upper class. But if you ask Wright who he likes best among the Democrats right now, he doesn't have to think long: "I like this Cortez," he says.

"This Cortez" is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old, decidedly left-wing liberal Democratic MP from New York, whose family comes from Puerto Rico. Your constituency includes parts of Queens and the Bronx, poor neighborhoods that are full of blacks, Latin Americans, and immigrants from around the world. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is as far away from Jesse Wright as it is from the moon.

Right-wing media work their way obsessively on Ocasio-Cortez

But that's not true. The Democrats are currently becoming acquainted with a phenomenon that the Republicans experienced - albeit with far greater force - a few years ago: a newcomer stirs up the party, the establishment is piqued, but the grassroots are enthusiastic. A recent poll showed how much: 74 percent of all Democrats could imagine voting for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez if she were to become a presidential candidate. This is not yet possible for AOC, as it is called, according to the constitution, the president must be at least 35 years old. But it shows how much political potential there is in the young parliamentarian who has not been in office for a month.

With the Republicans, the riot was called Donald Trump at the time. At first glance, this may seem like an unfair comparison. And in fact Trump and AOC, the rich, right-wing populist white man and the immigrant daughter who earned her living as a waitress and called herself a "democratic socialist", have nothing in common, outwardly or in substance. What's more, Ocasio-Cortez's election victory was a direct result of the contempt many people in the US feel for Trump.

But both have a similar effect on their supporters and their opponents. You can see that, for example, in the vicious obsession with which right-wing media work on AOC. This is very reminiscent of the excitement that Trump can still trigger at will with his targeted provocations in the left camp. And just as the Trump defenders once defended their candidate with the argument that one shouldn't always take his statements literally, the AOC supporters do it today.

Political messages on "Donkey Kong" live stream

Trump and Ocasio-Cortez are also sometimes similar in disregarding traditional political rules. The real estate agent Trump practically boarded the Republican Party; he never held a party office before his presidential candidacy. AOC sits for the Democrats in parliament because they defeated the veteran Democratic MP from their constituency in the party primary. The party establishment is correspondingly suspicious in both cases. Many Republicans in Washington still consider Trump a usurper, even if they bow to him. Quite a few Democrats are of the opinion that AOC jostled into a parliamentary seat that did not belong to them.

Ninth candidate

The African American Senator Cory Booker has entered the race for the presidential candidacy of the Democrats. The 49-year-old New Jersey congressman announced his application on Friday. He wanted US citizens to "feel pride and not shame" when they see their political leadership on television. The field of presidential candidates for the Democrats has grown to nine. AFP

What Trump and AOC have in common is that they don't really care about such grumbling. Both know exactly how popular they are among the party base - at least much more popular than the gray party officials from Washington. Trump and AOC draw their power from this connection to the ordinary rank and file of the party, which at times seems to be driven more by feeling than by reason. And both communicate directly with their fans at the base.

Trump does this mainly via Twitter and some moderators who are subordinate to him at Fox News; AOC also tweets a lot, their Instagram presence is spectacularly good. A few days ago she was in a place that most of the top Democrats or a metalworker like Jesse Wright probably don't even know: On the Internet platform Twitch, she tuned in to a "Donkey Kong 64" live stream of the Youtubers to Hbomberguy and campaigned for the rights of transsexual youth. The network, at least the part that AOC thinks is great, was enthusiastic.

The position of the Democrats shifted to the left

Trump and Ocasio-Cortez are profiting from a trend that has been around for a long time in America: In the eyes of voters, measurable things such as knowledge, experience and competence are now less important to a politician than a rather vaguely defined "authenticity". Many Trump voters also know that the president is a lying show-off. But they stick with him because they have the feeling that he is just the way he is, and openly say what's going on. Jesse Wright knows this phenomenon. Many of his union friends who have voted for the Democrats in the past defected to Trump in the 2016 election as a result. And that's why they stick with him.

The same applies to AOC. She doesn't lie like Trump does. But even Ocasio-Cortez is sometimes not entirely sure of the facts. Or exaggerate. But that does not affect her followers. Just like Trump's voters, they prefer to look for arguments to prove that their idol is really right and that the others are the liars.

And something else connects Trump and Ocasio-Cortez: Both have significantly shifted the canon of political positions that are considered acceptable and correct in their party - Trump to the right, AOC to the left. Just as the Republicans under Trump have become a nationalist, isolationist, xenophobic party, the Democrats are suddenly talking seriously about left-wing liberal dream projects that AOC has thrown quite nonchalantly into the debate: a top tax rate of 70 percent, the abolition of the border protection agency ICE, a radical one green energy transition.

The fact that the Democrats do not owe their new majority in the House of Representatives to politicians like AOC, but rather to moderate, sometimes even conservative middle-candidates who tweet little, but beat Republicans in the November election, falls under the table. But today nobody knows what these winners are called.