On Monday night, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mentioned on Instagram that she’d be going dark for a while to get ready for Congress in January, then — just minutes later, but long enough for the thought “What about the Instagram cooking lives?” to enter your mind — followed up to say: Don’t worry, I’ll still be on Instagram and Twitter.
That’s how good the Instagram is. And that’s how big Ocasio-Cortez has gotten, possibly bigger than we even realize. In the space of six months, she’s become a dominant presence in American politics, the kind of person for whom the mere suggestion she might exit Instagram for a month apparently inspires people to say, Don’t go, don’t leave, please stay.
There’s this “lightning strikes” quality with Ocasio-Cortez, like for so long, each day, we prayed for something to fight about that isn’t Trump, and something that is fun, and when both finally came along in one personage, nobody knew what to do or how to explain her prominence. There are ongoing intra-right, intra-left, and generational arguments flaring up about her all the time on Twitter. If it’s not about her worth as a political figure, it’s what it means to grandstand, or what out-of-touch criticism looks like, whether she was right about Amazon, her economics, her civics, how class works in America, if whatever she’s doing will ruin something for someone else.