Ocasio-Cortez, Like Trump, is Immune to Fact Checks

In both cases, appeals to emotion are not diminished by disregard for accuracy.

WaPo’s Glenn Kessler once again finds a statement by freshman phenom Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lacking in accuracy. He awards Three Pinocchios to this statement by the New York Congresswoman:

“I think it’s wrong that a vast majority of the country doesn’t make a living wage, I think it’s wrong that you can work 100 hours and not feed your kids. I think it’s wrong that corporations like Walmart and Amazon can get paid by the government, essentially experience a wealth transfer from the public, for paying people less than a minimum wage.”

He points out that, while “living wage” is an elusive category, there’s no reasonable measure by which anything close to a majority of Americans live below it. The best estimates are anywhere from 32 to 43 percent. Similarly, while part-time workers for both companies can struggle, Amazon and Walmart both pay well above minimum wage.

This is not by any means the first time Ocasio-Cortez has been called out for errors. She brushes them off without concern; indeed, she makes fun of the whole process of fact-checking.

While the wanton disregard for actual truth may be infuriating to her critics—a bonus!—the fact of the matter is that she has a genius for self-promotion and is touching a nerve pointing out issues that concern real people. Even Kessler gives her credit:

Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for using her high profile to bring attention to income inequality. However, she undermines her message when she plays fast and loose with statistics.

In this regard, she’s much like President Trump. While I think he’s much more brazen in his disregard for truth—often spewing statements with no mooring in reality whatsoever—the fact of the matter is that their supporters are interested in the messaging and emotional appeal, not technicalities. In both cases, they revel in ruffling the feathers of the opposition and of the elite media. Both have mastered staying in the spotlight on a daily basis, leveraging social media to their advantage.

FILED UNDER: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Donald Trump, Media, Politics 101, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Argon says:

    *sigh*

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  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    In this regard, she’s much like President Trump.

    Dude…your “bothsiderism” is off the rails.

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  3. Not the IT Dept. says:

    No, she is not “like Trump” on any front whatsoever. Please stop now with the effort to normalize Trump by comparing him to decent people.

    We get it. You want to be a Republican again and with your dignity intact. Well, the GOP has some work to do on that front – namely, understanding what it did to enable Trump in the first place and what responsibility it has in getting voters so worked up about cultural issues that they turned on the GOP en masse. And then making sure it never happens again. That’s what you should be concentrating on.

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  4. Blue Galangal says:

    Amazon and Walmart both pay well above minimum wage

    Now they do. The bigger question, and one AOC is bringing the focus on, is why Jeff Bezos and the Waltons have so much money they couldn’t spend it all if they tried while Amazon pays workers $15/hr (notably they did not give people making above $15/hr an equivalent raise, so that in and of itself was more fluff than substance) and won’t let them have bathroom breaks, and Walmart threatens to shut down any given Walmart that shows signs of unionizing along with too many examples to recount here of Walmart’s abusive scheduling practices, including split shifts, that essentially pre-empt their employees’ ability to attend school conferences, have a family life, or, of course, hold down a second job?

    AOC is inaccurate from time to time, but she doesn’t outright and maliciously, repeatedly lie the way Trump does. It’s wrong to put them in the same category. She is not like Trump – she is curious, she is smart, she is earnest, and she is good hearted. AOC is talking about the overarching problem of income inequality and wage stagnation (along with student loans and the gig economy). American workers’ productivity continues to increase even as wages have stayed stagnant. Employers are making do with fewer employees and more contractors, and the employees who do retain jobs are expected to do the work that 2-3 people did before. This is the reality that middle America faces every day, along with the millennials working in a gig economy and most not having access to any kind of retirement or pension plan. WHen AOC talks about the majority of Americans not making a living wage, she’s talking about the whole picture for middle America, along with the decidedly un-rosy picture for our kids and our kids’ future. Hyperbole, yes. Trumpian lies, no.

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  5. James Joyner says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: @Blue Galangal: I make clear in the post that Trump’s lies are more baldfaced. My argument is simply that neither of them are going to be derailed by fact checks in the way ordinary politicians tend to be. Both are connecting on a visceral level.

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  6. SKI says:

    High Broderism strikes again. smh.

    AOC clearly meant Living Wage, not Minimum Wage. But hey, it helps satisfy the Great Broder in the sky, so…

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  7. Michael Reynolds says:

    She is like Trump to the extent that a goldfish is like a great white shark. But that said, I have no more tolerance for B.S. artists on ‘my side’ than I do on ‘their side.’ If I wanted to be lied to I’d be a Republican. She’s being careless and squandering her good will. She needs to climb down off her social media high and start thinking strategically.

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  8. Tony W says:

    Part of my irritation with this “both sides do it” meme is that one of the core indicators of the magnitude of a lie is the degree to which the teller personally benefits from the fabrication.

    On this front there is no comparison. Trump cares about Trump. Period.

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  9. James Pearce says:

    Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for using her high profile to bring attention to income inequality. However, she undermines her message when she plays fast and loose with statistics.

    As the Dems embrace their own form of “truthiness” I expect more fast and loose playing, not less.

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  10. reid says:

    This is an article that didn’t need to be written. By doing so and talking specifically about dishonesty, you’re equating Trump and AOC to an extent, and we all know that that’s not nearly warranted. AOC is more akin to traditional politicians who are lazy about statistics and data. She just gets more airtime and celebrity than most. Trump is utterly dishonest in every way. No both sides here.

    EDIT: I would prefer she was more precise in her statements, of course. I wish all politicians were.

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  11. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Tony W: Again, my argument isn’t that Trump and AOC are morally equivalent. I think AOC is in a bit over her head but is genuinely a believer in her professed ideology while Trump is a huckster. The headline and the subhed are pretty clear what I’m saying: Their appeal is visceral, tapping into perceived grievances, and being proven wrong on facts just won’t dent that.

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  12. SKI says:

    @James Joyner: Except one is making shit up and the other isn’t.

    Cherry picking a single clear mis-statement (living wage vs. minimum wage) and thereby declaring thereby *all* she does is make emotional arguments is complete horse shit.

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  13. reid says:

    For another example, you could’ve written that Obama, like Trump, is immune to fact checks because he said you could keep your doctor and that there are 56 states. And hey, they’re both charming and fire up their and the opposition’s base. But you know that dishonesty would be a ridiculous thing to focus on when drawing parallels.

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  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    @SKI:
    She’s also pushing for 100% renewables in 12 years, which is nonsense. If she wants to raise taxes – and yeah, that 70% is only on 10 million or better, but there would undoubtedly be rises for lower brackets as well – she needs to sell me something more than pie in the sky. I’ll support raising my own taxes for something useful, but not for b.s.

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  15. SKI says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Those are policy differences, not examples of dishonesty.

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  16. KM says:

    He points out that, while “living wage” is an elusive category, there’s no reasonable measure by which anything close to a majority of Americans live below it. The best estimates are anywhere from 32 to 43 percent.

    Soo…. the false part of the statement was the “majority” part even though best guesses put it within 8% of majority (50+1) status? Soooo…. extremely large minority verging on majority status depending on how the economy goes?

    I’m sorry, that’s not a Trumpian type lie. That’s like saying your pants exploded when they merely caught fire. Is it an exaggeration? Oh my yes. But it’s not as far off as you’d think (especially when in said burning pants) and far closer to the truth then critics want to admit. Let me tell you, those 32-43 people out of a hundred don’t care they’re not officially the majority and that it would take another 8 people to reach that benchmark. It’s too many damn people living in circumstances that require 2+ jobs per person, households that live paycheck to paycheck and scrimp by on wages that haven’t reflected inflation in decades.

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  17. James Joyner says:

    @SKI: @reid: This is by no means the first time she’s been caught on the wrong side of a fact check. Her PolitFact file, for example, has a Pants on Fire, three False, and one Mostly True. My point is that it doesn’t matter because her supporters don’t care about her facts, just her intentions. Which, incidentally, most of the commenters here are buttressing.

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  18. James Joyner says:

    @KM:

    Let me tell you, those 32-43 people out of a hundred don’t care they’re not officially the majority and that it would take another 8 people to reach that benchmark. It’s too many damn people living in circumstances that require 2+ jobs per person, households that live paycheck to paycheck and scrimp by on wages that haven’t reflected inflation in decades.

    That’s . . . exactly my point.

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  19. reid says:

    @James Joyner: And you think that list warrants being compared to Trump already? If she has 1,000 entries after a year, then yeah, maybe.

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  20. James Joyner says:

    @reid: While I don’t think ACO much cares about facts, I think she’s mostly making mistakes out of inexperience and enthusiasm rather than wanton disregard and malice. But the only point of comparison being made here is the degree to which the fact checks will roll right off them.

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  21. Ben Wolf says:

    Kessler is referencing a Walton-funded think tank that’s giving an opinion. Anyone who accepts anything coming from Mackinac as an established “fact” is an idiot.

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  22. Ben Wolf says:

    Also, Kessler is being taken apart in real-time on twitter. By economists.

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  23. An Interested Party says:

    A troll on another thread tried to compare Obama to Trump when it came to being dishonest and that troll was rightfully laughed at…while I see the point that James is making about appealing to people on a visceral level, the fact is that no one, and I mean NO ONE, can compare to Trump when it comes to lying…he is in a rather low class all by himself…

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  24. reid says:

    @James Joyner: I agree, I think she’s just young, exuberant, and swept up by the excitement of it all to a degree. She’s learning (I hope). And I’m sure people on the other side are trying to make her look bad.

    Trump repeats the same stupid, blatant lies endlessly. Does AOC?

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  25. R. Dave says:

    @James Joyner: My argument is simply that neither of them are going to be derailed by fact checks in the way ordinary politicians tend to be. Both are connecting on a visceral level.

    Yup, and I predict that the comments you get in response to this post are going to perfectly (though obliviously) demonstrate your point too.

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  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Joyner:

    neither of them are going to be derailed by fact checks

    Until very recently Walmart and McDonalds employees were being subsidized by the Government. When that changed, I’m not sure.
    Previously she made a claim that was untrue, and quickly corrected herself.
    I gotta tell you…I think you are tarring her with the same feathers you tarred Clinton with…calling her corrupt in the face of decades of investigations that found, essentially, nothing.
    AOC is probably a bit far out over her skis…but comparing her to Teflon Don is just ridiculous.

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  27. Ben Wolf says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Joyner is citing as fact a reference to a 2005 white paper by an openly anti-labor propaganda organization. “According to economic theory” is an ideologically loaded opinion, not a fact. Both he and Kessler are contriving to get the conclusions they want.

    Which is exactly why the fact-checking industry is a rigged game.

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  28. Blue Galangal says:

    @James Joyner:

    The headline and the subhed are pretty clear what I’m saying

    So is the photo of AOC you chose to illustrate your post.

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  29. SKI says:

    @Blue Galangal: Nice catch. Kinda the tell, isn’t it…

  30. R. Dave says:

    @reid: Trump repeats the same stupid, blatant lies endlessly. Does AOC?

    No, but she repeats the same stupid, blatant deflections endlessly. Take the 70% rate on incomes over $10 million that she proposed. Instead of addressing any of the numerous substantive critiques out there, she just keeps going back to the “Haha! Sean Hannity doesn’t get the difference between marginal and average rates!” schtick over and over and over. She’s simply distracting her fans with shiny/fun Twitter snark instead of making even a basic, minimal effort at substance. Maybe you find repeatedly dodging reality significantly less off-putting than repeatedly denying it, but to my eyes, they’re not really all that different.

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  31. James Joyner says:

    @Blue Galangal: I envisioned her laughing off Kessler.

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  32. the Q says:

    Seems like James is noticing the beauty dot on Cindy Crawford, the flaw in Raphael’s School of Athens….

    Um, didn’t we just watch the scores of federal gov’t employees who are taking second jobs because they live paycheck to paycheck? Seems like these are rock solid middle class jobs but then we see the dire circumstances these folks face when missing a month’s salary.

    Rabbi: “It was a horrible tragedy the Holocaust where 7 million Jews perished”
    James: “Sorry but only 6 million perished.”

    Marxist:”Geez, how much money does Bezos have now? Like a gajillion?
    James: “Actually, 123 billion (before the divorce)….”

    Guy giving directions: “You want to go up the road a half mile and turn left”
    James: “Wait, that sign says the turnoff is 840 yards from here. You’re off.”

    Yes, AOC is off and she should get her facts perfect to avoid comparisons to wingnut lies and deception. But the point she is making is still valid if not 100% accurate.

    I feel guilty we pile on James sometimes. He and Doug do yeoman’s work to provide this forum for us.

    But, James, its like the Godfather, nothing personal, its business.

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  33. R. Dave says:

    @the Q: Yes, AOC is off and she should get her facts perfect to avoid comparisons to wingnut lies and deception. But the point she is making is still valid if not 100% accurate.

    In other words, we should take her seriously, not literally.

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  34. Kathy says:

    You have a real problem, income inequality, with ancillary issues like too much time spent on work for too little money (and the gig economy won’t help as much). That’s serious, deserving of attention, and demands a solution.

    Lying about the problem, however, be it about its scope, magnitude, cause, or who is responsible, will get you to the wrong solution, or will ultimately aid in failing to find a solution.

    Not to mention that focusing on a lie, like Walmart doesn’t pay even minimum wage, let’s real issues slide by, like Walmart has some atrocious labor practices.

    But AOC hasn’t been doing this long. If she checks her lies going forward, good. if she persists in telling the same lies over and over, then she gets an Orange Dennison for her troubles.

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  35. Gustopher says:

    Similarly, while part-time workers for both companies can struggle, Amazon and Walmart both pay well above minimum wage.

    I recall that Amazon would make workers in the fulfillment centers get searched on their way out, to make sure they weren’t stealing. If they refused, they were fired.

    Security searches were after you clocked out, and there were long lines because of Amazn’s famous frugality. Every day, they would steal a quarter to a half hour of each workers time. The workers sued, and lost at the Supreme Court.

    I believe they were being paid close to minimum or minimum wage at the time.

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  36. Gustopher says:

    He points out that, while “living wage” is an elusive category, there’s no reasonable measure by which anything close to a majority of Americans live below it. The best estimates are anywhere from 32 to 43 percent.

    43 percent is close to a majority (not an actual majority, but close. In the ballpark.) so by your standards you deserve a Pinocchio.

    A reasonable definition of a living wage is one that allows you to afford:
    – housing
    – kids
    – kids education
    – food
    – clothing
    – transportation
    – emergencies
    – retirement

    This is also, coincidentally, what I would call middle class. If you don’t think retirement is part of living, you can drop that one.

    Most families in the US would struggle with getting $500 together. A statistic which horrifies me. Most families don’t get a living wage.

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  37. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    She’s being careless and squandering her good will. She needs to climb down off her social media high and start thinking strategically.

    She is careless, but she admits when she was wrong, and doesn’t repeat the same mistakes. She also has a tendency to misspeak (it’s likely she mixed living wage and minimum wage up in the quote we’ve been nitpicking), and that’s a bad combination.

    She also gets way more attention than any other Congress critter of her stature, since she is the right wing’s boogey-person.

    I like her. She allows every other Democrat to say “you can vote for me, I’m a nice, safe moderate, not like AOC.”

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  38. Tlaloc says:

    Ocasio-Cortez, Like Trump, is Immune to Fact Checks

    Uh, no. Trump is notorious for lying, getting caught lying, and then continuing to spew the same lies hundreds of more times…
    AOC has gotten caught a few times making misstatements, getting corrected, and then not repeating those misstatements.

    COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SITUATIONS.

    For fucks sake, the fact checkers had to make up a whole new category of falseness just for Trump.

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  39. Raoul says:

    ALL politicians in fact distort, fib and exaggerate so by JJs logic they are all like Trump- give me a break.

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  40. Jay L Gischer says:

    I agree with you that AOC speaks to emotional truths first and foremost and that in this regard she is like Trump. It’s at the heart of both their success. The voters have made quite clear that this is what they want from a candidate, regardless of their politics.

    Either of them could be doing this while keeping factual. It’s kind of a tightrope, but Bill Clinton managed it well. Ronald Reagan had a tendency to veer into mythology rather than fact, but he did it better, a lot better, than Trump.

    It’s possible that AOC will learn how to do this, as well. I find it hard to believe Trump will ever change.

    I personally would prefer that. I am excruciatingly aware that I am out of step with a large swath of the country on this.

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  41. The abyss that is "cracker's" soul says:

    He points out that, while “living wage” is an elusive category, there’s no reasonable measure by which anything close to a majority of Americans live below it. The best estimates are anywhere from 32 to 43 percent.

    Yeah, I see the difference already and stand corrected–one third is a bunch smaller than half. Bigly so!

  42. Mike in Arlington says:

    @James Joyner: Bringing Trump into any comparison is a distraction. I think your argument is stronger if you stuck with something along the lines of “we should demand accuracy and honesty from our politicians. AOC has played fast and loose with the facts in the past, and she needs to be better, or she could potentially taint all of her arguments, regardless of their quality, and her voice would lose its potency. If she does misstate something, which happens to everybody, she should move quickly to correct it.” And the living wage vs minimum wage, that’s likely a misstatement, and unless you can show that she really meant minimum wage, it should be labeled as such.

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  43. Teve says:

    My neighbor to the east, a branch from one of his trees fell on my property.

    My neighbor to the west sold my son bathtub fentanyl, raped my wife, shot my labradoodle with a Winchester Industrial Ring Blaster, told the FBI he got his kiddie porn from me, and dropped napalm on my house.

    Both my neighbors are terrible.

    {/Joyner}

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  44. Inhumans99 says:

    @James Joyner:

    For what it is worth James I agree that AOC is immune to fact checkers but I consider this to be a feature not a bug. As mentioned, at least her appeals to emotion are to get people to be better and pay struggling workers a better wage, not appealing to dullards who believe that if you build a wall crime will drop.

    Articles like the one you linked too tell me the GOP is actually a bit fearful of AOC, and I suspect that they will find it much more difficult to demonize her like they have Pelosi.

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  45. michilines says:

    I suspect there is a reason that Doug has not weighed in on this thread — Doug gets it that AOC is just the wingnuts’ person to pick on at the moment. What makes it sad is that he (Joyner) has decided that AOC is the person he has decided to highlight now. A freshman congress person makes a misstatement during a time when everyone is unsure about what might happen is not exactly the sort of topic that inspires anyone but those who wish to pull her down.

    Did you ever write anything similar about Aaron Schock, James? Or were you a fan of his?

    Unfortunately, I think you have fallen prey to the same old sh!t.

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  46. Teve says:

    AOC was off by a few years. In the early days of Walmart, Sam Walton did in fact scheme to avoid paying his workers even minimum wage. He had to be taken to court and forced to pay it. He also deliberately hired women to be cashiers, so he could pay them less, and hired men for management positions.

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/wage-and-means/

  47. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: A far bigger scandal than anything that might or might not come out of the mouth of AOC is how so many corporations seem to do everything they can to stiff their employees and this country…it’s quite pathetic…

  48. Michael Reynolds says:

    No one is saying AOC remotely equals the orange king of lies. That’s not the point.

    The question we have is whether we are going to be so excited by charisma, and so yearning for a hero, that we are going to dismiss bullsht. For my part: no, don’t bullsht me, treat me like a grown-up and tell me the truth. Give me back my nuance. Give me hard-edged reality. Show me your work.

    And I should add I’m not picking on AOC because I want her to fail, quite the opposite, she’s a gift from God, she has star power, she’s bold, I want her to succeed. But if she starts sounding like she’s talking nonsense she’ll flame out.

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  49. Scott O says:

    Kevin Drum on AOC and facts:
    https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/01/whats-going-on-with-aoc/

    I agree with his take.

    And a recent Onion, Fox News Debuts Premium Channel For 24-Hour Coverage Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
    https://www.theonion.com/fox-news-debuts-premium-channel-for-24-hour-coverage-of-1831814505

  50. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: if I understand it correctly, it traces back to a few psycho conservative economists in the mid 20th century, who persuasively argued that corporations only had a duty to their shareholders, and that duty was solely to maximize stock price, at the expense of everything and everyone else.

    If a human being behaved that way, we’d rightfully call them a psychopath. But a lot of people just take for granted that it’s okay if a corporation does it.

    Fortunately, the newest two generations of Americans do not seem to be the kind of idiots who believe that unrestrained capitalism will somehow work out best for everyone. As they get political power, they should be able to rebalance capitalism, and lead us away from the third world ditch we’re rapidly heading towards, where a tiny handful of families own everything, and everyone else is barely subsisting.

  51. Gustopher says:

    I’ve been thinking about this some more…

    He points out that, while “living wage” is an elusive category, there’s no reasonable measure by which anything close to a majority of Americans live below it. The best estimates are anywhere from 32 to 43 percent.

    If she is making people look it up, and stare at the statistic that over a third of Americans are not paid a living wage, and repeat that statistic to prove her wrong… she’s doing something right.

    She might be a bit off on the exact size of the problem (I would quibble with the definition of living wage is too low when most Americans can’t handle a $500 emergency), but she’s making the problem something people won’t completely ignore. (They can dismiss it, but they don’t seem to be able to ignore it, or her)

    And that is why Fox News (and my pathetic brothers) are turning into all AOC all the time, calling her unhinged and radical.

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  52. Bruce Henry says:
  53. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m not picking on AOC because I want her to fail, quite the opposite, she’s a gift from God, she has star power, she’s bold, I want her to succeed. But if she starts sounding like she’s talking nonsense she’ll flame out.

    My sentiments exactly.

    Tangentially, let me propose Joyce’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law: The possibility of rational discussion on a comment thread goes down exponentially each time someone’s honesty is compared to Trump’s.

  54. Tony W says:

    Have been thinking more about this post. I think another key difference, and one source of the contempt James is getting on this post, is the degree to which Liberals and Conservatives are willing to change their minds when new facts are presented.

    Most liberals I know, myself included, are perfectly willing to re-think our positions when the facts on the ground change. My own feelings have evolved in several areas like gay rights, racial equality, and healthcare policy over the years as new evidence comes forward and wise discussion points are made.

    Most conservatives I know have decided what their policy positions are in advance, and are unwilling to alter them no matter the facts. This requires them to dismiss real evidence and even logical consistency opportunistically in order to win the news cycle.

    For conservatives, the point of the debate is to persuade people to leave the system that they understand, or has made them successful, in place.

    For liberals/progressives, the point of the debate is to find the right policy positions that will enable an even playing field for everyone, and tradition or history is far less important than consistency and fairness.

    This makes conservatives far more vulnerable to hucksters like Trump because facts literally do not matter if your goal is to maintain the status-quo.

  55. SKI says:

    @Tony W: I too have been giving this more thought – particularly James Joyner‘ stated intent vs the way most of us, Michael Reynolds excepted, heard him.

    To the extent that James wanted to make a comparison with a GOP President regarding the use of imagery over dry details and how fact-checking therefore isn’t as effective, a better comparison would have been Reagan (or GWB), not Trump.

  56. James Joyner says:

    @SKI:

    To the extent that James wanted to make a comparison with a GOP President regarding the use of imagery over dry details and how fact-checking therefore isn’t as effective, a better comparison would have been Reagan (or GWB), not Trump.

    I suppose but Trump is the current President and, while Reagan and to a lesser extent Dubya appealed to supporters on a folksy rather than intellectual basis (although I do think Reagan was a genuine conservative intellectual) neither were as pure id-driven as Trump.

    But the point of comparison is really narrow here: the degree to which fact-checks like Kessler’s can dent their support. As demonstrated multiple times in this discussion thread, supporters are perfectly willing to dismiss gross factual errors on the basis that the larger point she intended to make had merit. Indeed, I think Kessler actually plays into her hands here—doing the leg work of digging up the actual data which indeed supports her complaint, if not her actual telling. A third isn’t anything close to “a vast majority.” But it’s still too high a percentage.

  57. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    I suppose but Trump is the current President

    James, this is like me saying “Let’s compare your conservative behavior with a random liberal, let’s say, Charles Manson.” Whatever discussion I thought I would encourage with my following point, it would inevitably get drowned out by my bringing up a psychotic criminal. And I’m saying this as someone who largely agrees with your main point.

    Also, I see I auto corrected Joyner into Joyce above, so let me restate Joyner’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law: The possibility of rational discussion on a comment thread goes down exponentially each time someone’s honesty is compared to Trump’s.

  58. Lit3Bolt says:

    @James Joyner:

    “You should be making more money for your labor and your billionaire boss less” is not merely a fuzzy, feel-good argument and is nowhere near equivalent to the populist racist screeds by the President.

  59. just nutha says:

    ” (although I do think Reagan was a genuine conservative intellectual) ”

    OooKayyyyyyy. (But only in the sense that if the above statement is true, it’s possible that “conservative” and “intellectual” are mutually exclusive. Remember, he’s the guy who popularized trickle-down economics.)

  60. SKI says:

    @James Joyner:

    although I do think Reagan was a genuine conservative intellectual

    That is a very, very sad commentary on the paucity of conservative intellectuals and the very low bar it must be to reach that status….

  61. Tony Robinson says:

    I’m not sure how you get to Trump being obviously worse than AOC.

    Facts: they both exaggerate. I think they are both directionally correct in their statements, but I’d say Trump is more so. If only because AOC is younger with less experience.

    Racism: Trump WRT brown people. The wall certainly appears racist.
    AOC WRT Jews. Going to the anti-Semitic Women’s March was a mistake I think.

    They’re about even, really.

    They are, obviously, using the same playbook. AOC learned from the master.

    What both AOC and Trump reveal tho, is how all the expert pundits totally ignore the theatre aspect of running for president.

    You don’t get it.

    Trump tells a joke about Russia and Hillary’s emails and the Left starts talking about collusion.
    It’s becoming the same on the right with AOC’s comments. Less so because she’s only a member of the House (for now).

    Everyone on one side takes their guy’s comments seriously but not literally, while taking the other guy’s comments literally but not seriously. (That is totally evident on here, both in the articles and the comments.)

    It’s how Trump won.

    It’s how AOC will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

  62. An Interested Party says:

    You don’t get it.

    That’s awfully rich coming from anyone who tries to soft-pedal Trump’s racism and his ties to Russia…

  63. Tony Robinson says:

    @An Interested Party: what in the fuck are you talking about?

    AOC approach == Trump approach

    That’s it.

    Anything else you’re reading into that is just projection and your own biases.