First it was a photo of long-haired Beto O’Rourke playing in a punk band. Now, it’s college-age Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing on a rooftop.

Both were surfaced by the right to seemingly smear the progressive politicians. Both efforts backfired spectacularly.

The Ocasio-Cortez clip in question shows the politician rocking some 1980s “Breakfast Club”-style dance moves with friends on a rooftop to Phoenix’s “Lisztomania.” The video, shot while Ocasio-Cortez was a student at Boston University, has bounced around the Internet before, but it went viral Thursday.

It first resurfaced on Twitter on Wednesday, the day before Ocasio-Cortez was sworn in as the youngest-ever female member of Congress. A Twitter user that affiliates itself with the far-right conspiracy theorist QAnon posted the video with the caption: “Here is America’s favorite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is…”

But if the point of releasing the video was to mock the young congresswoman, it elicited the exact opposite response.

Since Ocasio-Cortez burst onto the political scene with her surprise primary victory over incumbent Joseph Crowley, she has become a favorite punching bag for the right. They are offended by her politics — she’s a self-described democratic socialist — and her inexperience. They’ve attacked her clothes and that maybe she went by “Sandy” in high school?

But the attacks often fall flat. Ocasio-Cortez, 28, catapulted to celebrity-level fame in the past few months, buoyed by live, unfiltered social media videos that offer a more authentic glimpse at who she is. The right’s attacks target the things that make her so popular: her fresh, unjaded view of what can be accomplished in Washington. Maybe it’s naive, but for many Americans, it feels refreshing.

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