I want you to put yourself, however briefly, in the chukka boots of a NYC hipster. You have your skinny jeans rolled up just so, your untucked shirt is just the right amount of wrinkled, your non-prescription glasses make you appear ever so smart, and your ironic lumberjack beard is truly majestic.*
As you relax by a storefront window with your expertly poured latte, several thoughts roll through your mind.
• That was a sweet gig, working as Hillary’s rural outreach advisor
• Should I have gone with the natural tan messenger satchel today? Yeah, I should have gone with the natural tan
• I wish this coffeeshop had Fox News on, so I could find out what I’m supposed to think about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
You might be forgiven for thinking that last one was a lame April Fool’s gag. But actually, it’s a lame attempt at excuse-mongering for AOC’s lousy poll numbers from young adult infotainment site, Vox.
Zack Beauchamp writes:
So what’s going on? Ocasio-Cortez herself has a preferred explanation — that she’s been vilified on Fox News and in other conservative outlets, and they’ve driven her national approval rating down. If this theory is right, then you’d expect her negative favorables to be driven almost entirely by Republicans detesting her and everyone else not being as familiar with her.
And that appears to be exactly what is happening.
In other words, most people aren’t informed enough to hold an opinion about their Congresscritter, and tell pollsters just that. Therefore, it’s well-informed Republicans (Heh. See what I did there?) driving down her numbers.
Except… even if true it hardly matters. Voters in Flyover Country might not like AOC, but we don’t get to vote against her. What really counts are the opinions of her own constituents — and they aren’t happy.
On Saturday the NY Post ran a piece headlined, “‘Her heart is not in the Bronx’: Ocasio-Cortez’s constituents turn against her.”
Some choice quotes:
“I thought AOC would be our savior, but that’s not the case,” complained Roxanne Delgado, a local activist who said she has tried for months to get in touch with the congresswoman for help saving an animal shelter and to clean up parks in the district.
Delgado tweeted, “NO email or contact on @AOC’s page except DC number which has full #voicemail and no one picks up.”
“I want AOC or a representative from AOC to be there,” Anthony Vitaliano, a former cop and Community Board 11 member, said at a Feb. 28 board meeting.
Vitaliano, 78, also wants Ocasio-Cortez to pressure Amtrak to clean up graffiti at property it owns on Tremont Avenue.
“You know, I appreciate what she’s doing, but she has to represent us,” he told the board gathering, where other elected officials — from the city and state but not AOC’s office — sent staffers.
By contrast, he said, residents’ needs received much more attention under Rep. Joe Crowley, whom Ocasio-Cortez unseated in a surprise primary upset last year.
The longtime congressman’s Bronx district representative, Thomas Messina, regularly attended community board meetings, according to Vitaliano.
“Tommy cared about us,” Vitaliano said.
And AND! And:
Although Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about improving mail service in the Bronx this month, Vitaliano said he was still experiencing problems and waiting for her office to arrange a meeting with post office management.
And although a Bronx community rep for Ocasio-Cortez visited the graffiti site, nothing has happened, he said.
Meanwhile, Delgado noted the animal shelter site was spared — thanks to help from the City Council and the mayor’s office.
In other words, Ocasio-Cortez is so busy making headlines about big national news headlines, she’s failing at the very heart of her congressional duties: Constituent service.
How bad is it? The Post also reports that they made “several calls to both the Washington and Queens offices last week. The same recording at both numbers gives Ocasio-Cortez’s website and doesn’t allow callers to leave a message.” Her official website features a “scheduling request,” which appears to be given about the same level of attention as her full voicemail box.
So, sure, Republicans love making fun of Occasional-Cortex, because who doesn’t love a target-rich environment? But her constituents have fallen out of love with her because she’s treating them as the means to her ends, rather than as people who sent her to Washington to represent their local needs. “ME ME ME” is a great way to run a Twitter feed, but it’s no way to run a confessional office. Or, I add pointedly, a re-election campaign.
Vox can spin that all they like, but the fact remains that as a congresswoman, Ocasio-Cortez is a great social media personality.
*The beard applies to male hipsters only. Mostly only.