Hillary Clinton is no longer the most targeted Republican foe—that dubious honor, ahead of the 2020 election, belongs to freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The New York Democrat's rise to prominence in the GOP mind was on full display Thursday evening in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where President Donald Trump held a "rambling and lie-filled rally," as Common Dreams reported early Friday.
Before the president took the stage, however, his son Donald Trump, Jr., warmed up the crowd by taking potshots at Ocasio-Cortez.
"Think about the fact that every mainstream, leading Democratic contender is taking the advice of a freshman congresswoman who three weeks ago didn't know the three branches of government," Jr. said, referring to the Green New Deal. "I don't know about you guys, but that's pretty scary."
Those comments were met with a chant of "AOC sucks" from the pro-Trump crowd.
"You guys, you're not very nice," said Jr. “And neither is what that policy would do to this country."
Washington Post reporter Isaac Stanley-Becker noted that Ocasio-Cortez may be replacing Clinton as the president's party's primary foe heading to 2020. Chants about the New York Democrat "testified to the first-term congresswoman's rapid ascent to GOP public enemy No. 1, a position that took Clinton slightly longer to reach," said Stanley-Becker.
Ocasio-Cortez's place at the top of conservative horror stories is due in part to a concerted campaign in right wing media against the freshman Democrat. In a piece on the rise of the New York Democrat to the front of the right wing mind, Washington Post analyst Philip Bump put it simply:
Ocasio-Cortez is polarizing and vocal. So Fox News and conservatives make her the “face of the Democratic Party” and focus their rhetoric on her. As a result, Republicans are more likely to know who she is. And what they know, they don’t like.
The congresswoman, on Twitter, wryly noted the push by the right to attack her.
"It's almost as though there is a directed + concerted far-right propaganda machine with a whole cable news channel, and a dark-money internet operation propped up by the Mercers et al dedicated to maligning me & stoking [national] division, reported on by @JaneMayerNYer or something," said Ocasio-Cortez.
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It’s almost as though there is a directed + concerted far-right propaganda machine with a whole cable news channel, and a dark-money internet operation propped up by the Mercers et al dedicated to maligning me & stoking nat’l division, reported on by @JaneMayerNYer or something https://t.co/HChBp04c8W— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 29, 2019
Other commentators noted the right wing obsession with Ocasio-Cortez and questioned where it comes from.
"Wow @realDonaldTrump really hates women," tweeted Oregon writer Nick Jaynes.
"So terrified of a 29 year old Latina," observed political analyst Andy Ostroy.
So terrified of a 29 year old Latina... https://t.co/uQRtcxoxuc— Andy Ostroy (@AndyOstroy) March 29, 2019
But, as reporter Colby Itkowitz pointed out, the focus on Ocasio-Cortez didn't mean that Clinton was completely forgotten.
"It's going to be a long 19 months," said Itkowitz.
To recap Trump's rally last night: crowd chanted "AOC sucks," "lock her up" (still about Clinton), Trump claimed "total exoneration," warned of a deep state coup, mocked asylum seekers... It's going to be a long 19 months... https://t.co/KuSF44YYQp— Colby Itkowitz (@ColbyItkowitz) March 29, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez will deliver her defense of the Green New Deal at 8pm ET this evening on MSNBC's Tonight With Chris Hayes.