A key element of Trumpism is feelings over truth. It doesn’t matter that there’s no evidence of mass voter fraud, Trump die-hards feel like there was. It doesn’t matter that many have money and influence, they feel like they’re oppressed. And if you don’t respect these feelings — if you place factual reality above politically convenient false beliefs — then they feel disrespected, and they feel that’s your problem, not theirs.
MAGA media, both professional and social, understand the power of emotion. They’re reacting so strongly to AOC’s video not just because they find her a useful foil, but also because they know it resonates. It complicates their efforts to downplay the Capitol attack, to move on, forget, treat it as just another partisan tiff, rather than what it was: an attack on America, a violent insurrection stoked by the now-ex president’s lies, causing the first non-peaceful transfer of power since Reconstruction.
AOC’s video revived raw feelings of anger and fear that typically fade over time. It connected with audiences most politicians can’t reach, including younger Americans who don’t consume traditional media, and women who have experienced assault. It took the Capitol attack out of the realm of detached news coverage and made it personal.
No wonder the people who want us to let it slide are so upset.