Why does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old freshman Congresswoman from New York who was only sworn into office this week, attract so much negative attention from the Right? You can hardly go anywhere in conservative media – Fox, talk radio, conservative magazines and websites, Twitter and other social media – without seeing somebody mocking or criticizing her. The latest example involved an old video of her in her late teens doing some goofy dances (including a Breakfast Club homage that ought to have been endearing to Gen X-ers). The video made her look somewhat silly, but no sillier than the average person is at that age; as I noted on Twitter, it was also a reminder that we now have Members of Congress young enough to have been in internet videos as teens.

Naturally, her fans see all the negative press as something nefarious or unfair, or alternatively as a sign of conservative fear of her. And some conservatives wisely fret that our side is just helping create a monster by elevating the profile of a glib young person on the other side with star power. In fact, there are a number of different reasons why “AOC” is such a magnet for negativity from conservatives, some of them more justifiable than others, but all of them grounded in the realities of political commentary in 2019.