Political danger is lurking for the social media flavor of the year — AOC, a.k.a. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The super-charismatic Democratic phenom who knows everything about self-promotion but little about acquiring power is a textbook example of what not to do when first elected to Congress.
Her injudicious decision to back novice candidate Tiffany Cabán for District Attorney in the Borough of Queens (one of five boroughs that make up New York City) has yielded a loss (for Caban, AOC, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and local/national progressives).
After a contentious fight, Cabán conceded the race to party regular Melinda Katz who won the race by a mere 55 votes that shocked the political establishment.
This nail-biter should have the local and even national political power brokers more careful in their underestimating of new candidates — no matter how unconventional they may appear at first glance.
This indiscreet act of backing Cabán was taken without input from other Queens politicians, angering not only New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Democratic County Leader Gregory Meeks (who is a Congressional colleague of AOC/member of the Black Caucus) as well as the entire Queens Democratic establishment.
It does not bode well for Ms. Cortez in her re-election run in 2020 — no matter what she and her supporters may think.
As the saying goes, the secret in winning local primaries is getting the most votes, which AOC knew all too well when she out-smarted political veteran Joe Crowley.
Let’s face it. AOC and her backers were clever. They pulled off an upset because Crowley was asleep at the wheel.
Not only that, she understood the importance of getting her vote out in a low-turnout primary.
This aberration will not happen again. Not if AOC’s enemies have anything to say about it! “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” is the mantra that many of her opponents could use as payback.
In 2020, the ever media-savvy Ocasio-Cortez just may get a primary fight from the Queens Democratic establishment. A campaign with a strong candidate which addresses the question of 'what has your congresswoman done for you lately other than increase their Twitter followers' may be a winning message. AOC is ripe for this aggressive challenge given that many may perceive her as self-interested, with little concern for those she supposedly represents.
It should be said that the first rule for surviving one’s first term in Congress is to say nothing unless asked and even then it should be short and to the point. It’s obvious that AOC hasn’t gotten that memo.
From a branding expert perspective, AOC is not a traditional politician. That’s simply not her brand! Her brand is as a promotional genius who knows how to garner eyeballs and receptive ears to process her provocative bromides. But being a promotional genius doesn’t a political wizard make.
Her current personal brand is better positioned as a firebrand talk show host or pundit who can attract both sides of any argument — those who agree with her outrageous statements and more importantly those who find them outright “crazy.” This is the basic formula for success for all great media personalities. Think of her as a female version of the bombastic Howard Cosell.
No matter what the progressive “Talking Heads” would like you to believe, this is certainly a blow to AOC. It is her first election bid loss, and a possible road map for her detractors to beat her in either a primary or unlikely general election. But recognizing this requires her as well as her enemies to realize one thing — it is always easier when you have marketing and branding in mind.
Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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