For now, the insular New York establishment is eyeing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warily. They want to emulate her—even Gov. Andrew Cuomo, her sworn enemy, has been hitting social media harder, something Albany legislators attribute to Ocasio-Cortez—but they also fear her ability to bring out an army of supporters if they cross her.
But even as leaders of the institutional left praise how much Ocasio-Cortez has done for their issues, and are staggered at her ability to command the media’s attention—“It is like watching Michael Jordan play every day in his prime” said Neal Kwatra, a political operative who has advised both Cuomo and de Blasio--several said that they are still working out the terms of their relationships with her.
“There is a vacuum of vision, and AOC is the natural person to fill that out, but they have to want to,” said Kwatra. “She is a genius at branding and policy explainers, at understanding the news cycle and social media, but the question is does she want to build a progressive movement and use her considerable leverage in order to bring those ideas to fruition here on the ground in New York?”