But in their critiques of Ocasio-Cortez, some conservatives are repeating the mistakes President Trump’s detractors, left and right, made against him. Denigrating unpolished, less-than-flawless politicians who speak to the working class is not a great look, as it turns out. When conservatives swarm Ocasio-Cortez for mistakenly mentioning “all three chambers of Congress” (before immediately correcting herself), it looks petty and elitist. Save the dunking for legitimate absurdities like this one.
Populists may often be of dubious credentials, but smug nitpicking from partisans does more to confirm their narratives than undermine them. When voters see themselves in politicians, they see themselves in the attacks against them. That’s not to say bad ideas shouldn’t be attacked. They can and they must. But sometimes that work has to be done with tact in order to avoid creating martyrs and anti-establishment champions, or insulting people who are understandably attracted to a bartender-turned-congresswoman or freewheeling billionaire.