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Ocasio-Cortez Violates House Ethics Rules, Threatens Trump Jr. For Trolling Her On Twitter

It would be absolutely great for Americans if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could adhere to the House Ethics Manual and not undermine democratic norms next time she chooses to stand up for socialism.


Last night, Donald Trump Jr. sparked a bit of a feud with incoming Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). He posted a meme to his Instagram account that directly poked fun at Ocasio-Cortez and her self-proclaimed socialist affiliations, along with the caption “It’s funny cuz it’s true!!!”:

Ocasio-Cortez escalated by seemingly threatening to subpoena Trump Jr. once she takes office in a month. Not only is this horrifically immature, it’s also a violation of the House Ethics Manual.

Now, in a perfect world, we’d be holding debates about the merits of state-controlled economies versus markets via more dignified forums and mediums, but that’s not how things go in 2018. Not only is this all absurdly juvenile, but Ocasio-Cortez should be aware that, per page 150 of the House Ethics Manual, “Members…are not to take or withhold any official action on the basis of the campaign contributions or support of the involved individuals, or their partisan affiliation. Members and staff are likewise prohibited from threatening punitive action on the basis of such considerations.”

Perhaps Ocasio-Cortez should have read her orientation documents a bit more closely.

The two takeaways from this feud are clear: Ocasio-Cortez is a social media wizard hellbent on showmanship that titillates her base — which should terrify conservatives, because it worked for President Trump — and Trump Jr. has a point about socialism being the system that has created mass starvation for millions of people around the world. It also, perhaps not coincidentally, is highly correlated with authoritarianism, which of course includes speech controls.

Perhaps because she didn’t want to reveal too much, too fast, Ocasio-Cortez quickly started to walk back her threat on Twitter.

As senior contributor Jesse Kelly noted earlier this week, Ocasio-Cortez is young, relatable, pretty, and “her naiveté about the things of government make her more appealing to the common man, not less.” She knows how to weaponize the social media du jour and excite her base. She excels at the clapback. She might claim to be just an average working-class girl, but she or someone on her team clearly has enough social media savvy to anticipate what plays well with her supporters. Ragging on the Trump family, while tying it all into the Robert Mueller investigation and taunting with the threat of a subpoena absolutely fits the bill.

All social media knowhow aside, Ocasio-Cortez will have to contend with the fact that socialism has a rightfully earned nasty rap sheet. If she wants to defend her Bernie-esque, bankrupting proposals, she might have to at some point deal with the whole bread-lines-and-food-shortages component of her cute talking points. And it would be absolutely great for Americans if she could adhere to the House Ethics Manual and not undermine democratic norms next time she chooses to stand up for socialism.