Nate Silver, the most predictable man in the predictions business, insists that Republican hostility toward Ocasio-Cortez is rooted in her ethnicity and sex. And he’s probably right — but not in the way he thinks.

If a demographically similar candidate — young, female, non-white, from an economically modest background — had been elected to the House as a Republican, you can bet that a bunch of old white guys from Kansas and Oklahoma would be executing joyous somersaults down Pennsylvania Avenue. The Republicans couldn’t even defend incumbent Mia Love’s seat — and she is a Mormon who was running in Utah while sharing a ballot with Mitt Romney. Republican leaders presented with a charismatic young Latina in Congress are not consumed with racism but with envy.

Ocasio-Cortez, seen from that point of view, presents Republicans with a lot of things they despise — her far-left politics — wrapped up in a package that they very much want but cannot have. She’s everything they want and everything they hate at the same time: Odi et amo, RNC chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel might well say.