hey democrats, stop stanning your senators

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is sharing cooking videos. Beto O’Rourke is giving us the inside scoop on his dental cleaning. What does this have to do with policy-making? Nothing.

The new breed of Democratic politicians is trying to be our BFF. Why? There is a notion within the Democratic party that hinges on the idea of likability and relatability. While this is important, it seems as though it has become the main focus of a campaign or serving term.

The more hip, personable or quirky you are, the more likely you are to build a base of followers. The political savvying of young people has come to a phenomenon of stanning political incumbents.

If you are unfamiliar with social media culture, stanning is when a celebrity’s fanbase romanticizes every detail about the person to the point where they can do no wrong. While this infatuation is creepy, it is not unusual– celebrities have a long history of being lauded by their fans. But celebrities are not responsible for dealing with health care, welfare, school funding or regulating safety concerns.

The stanning problem began in the 2016 presidential election when many young Democrats stanned Senator Bernie Sanders. This created a culture bent on demonizing other candidates like Hillary Clinton despite the fact that Sanders was out of the race after the primaries. With his cute old man persona, Democrats flocked to his base, but the only thing they accomplished was aiding the Trump base in trashing Clinton. Purely out of stan culture, Bernie was given much more recognition than his campaign deserved. And in this upcoming election, the Bernie base is ready to destroy other Democratic candidates out of support for him. Already, the Bernie base has tried to discredit popular Texas Democrat, Beto O’Rourke.

The typical Democrat laughs at the hordes of middle America Trumpers clinging to their trust in anything POTUS does, despite how ridiculous, nonsensical or bizarre it is. His loyal base is constantly criticized– and rightly so –for being blind to his shortcomings. However, Democrats are doing the same thing by treating leaders as celebrity idols.

Sanders is not the only one being propped on a pedestal. Beto O’Rourke, who takes monetary support from fossil fuel companies and has a history of voting red, has taken the hearts of a large part of the Democratic party. Other than being a charismatic blue speaker in a red state, O’Rourke does not have much to set him apart from the crowd. However, the stan culture that has adopted O’Rourke and treats him like the future of America and the ideal of progress. No mind to other promising Democrats like Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar.

The stan culture has faced the most heat with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) for her social media involvement, youthful age and readiness to refute conservative commentators coming after her.

All of this stanning takes attention from policy. Politics should not be a personality contest– Beto is not a contestant on The Bachelorette, Bernie is not your grandpa and AOC is not your cool older sister. Focus on their proposed plans, ideas and values and stop deflecting. These political figures are responsible for the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans. They aren’t our friends.

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