For several years, Candace Owens has been a figure associated with a lot of controversy. A far-right conservative, Owens has most recently worked as the Director of Communications at the conservative advocacy group, Turning Point USA. She really caught the attention of many people for the first time - including me - when Kanye West posted a tweet in April of 2018: “I really like the way Candace Owens thinks.”
She appeared on Fox News the same year and since then has founded Blexit, a conservative movement pushing the exit from the Democratic party, especially for Blacks.
In 2016 Candace Owens attempted to launch a company called Social Autopsy that would target and expose online bullies. Immediately, the plan was met with massive criticism, and ultimately the project failed. The next year she said she became a conservative overnight, listing Social Autopsy as the reason why she became a right-wing member.
Now, let’s hop to a polar opposite figure: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In June 2018, Ocasio-Cortez shocked the US when she won the Democratic Party’s primary election for New York’s 14’s congressional district. Her incumbent, Joe Crowley, had held the seat for ten terms. Later in November she also won the election and became the youngest woman to ever serve in the United States Congress.
Before running for office, AOC worked as an organizer for Bernie Sanders’ campaign in 2016. Prior to his loss, she traveled across America, visiting places that had been affected by the Flint Water Crisis and the Dakota Access Pipeline. After visiting a Native American Indian reservation, Ocasio-Cortez was inspired to run for office when she realized that others put their whole lives on the line to protect their communities. Shortly thereafter, she ran.
After winning the primary, Ocasio-Cortez was launched into the spotlight of the media, attracting attention from all political parties. She has made multiple extreme statements, including a proposed 70 percent income tax, abolishing ICE, and claiming that climate change is the “single biggest national security threat for the United States.”
So, that’s who they are. Candace Owens: Conservative voice speaking out against the Left. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Progressive Democratic congresswoman. Polar opposite political views, but at the same time, the two of them have several similarities. Let’s delve into the ways they are alike.
1 - Activism
Owens and Ocasio-Cortez both are extreme activists. Owens is a popular speaker at many large events. One of her main topics is the story of her past of rising above being targeted in high school to become the outspoken conservative she is today. She also uses her popularity to reach out to African Americans and other minorities. Blexit is her platform to inspire people to leave the Democratic party and join the Conservative group.
AOC, on the other hand, has continually used her massive popularity to push her progressive policies. Constantly making headlines since her primary win, Ocasio-Cortez was interviewed by all of the major media networks. She is an active proponent of progressive views on many areas of politics and government. International relations, immigration, LGBTQ rights, healthcare, and tax policies are some of the largest topics she has spoken out about.
As you and I can now both see, AOC and CO are both activists for their causes, speaking out effectively to their audiences to persuade and recruit.
2 - Revelation and Rise to Success
Ocasio-Cortez had a sudden realization before she ran for Congress. She visited the Standing Rock Indian Reservation and saw how committed the community was to fighting for their homes and families. Inspired by how they put everything on the line, she realized that money, fame, and power weren’t the only factors in political victory.
Based on that revelation, she ran for office. It was a long process, and because Ocasio-Cortez was not in a good financial situation, she worked on her campaign between shifts at her job. In spite of these difficulties, she persevered and won the seat, astounding many people who said it was not possible.
Candace Owens had an experience of her own which left her with a changed mind overnight. After the Social Autopsy situation had panned out, Owens realized that she wasn’t targeting the true bullies. Becoming a conservative, Owens said, was because she realized that liberals were the true trolls. Since that idea, she rapidly began to rise in the political realm. Turning Point hired her as their Director of Communications after the group was accused of being racist.
Candace became even more popular when Kanye West began supporting her. In spite of misunderstandings and confusion about this relationship, Owens remains a well-known voice for Conservatism.
Both Candace Owens and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we see, were both changed by a single event. Both were inspired to rise higher than before by a realization, becoming two of the most well-known names in their respective parties.
3- Minority Stand-outs
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Candace Owens also have another similarity: they are both members in minority groups.
Both of AOC’s parents came from or were raised by Puerto Ricans, and her Hispanic background served her well when she interned at an immigration office. She was the only Spanish speaker who could reassure and talk to immigrants who had family members snatched off the streets.
Candace Owens, too, belongs to a minority group, although a larger one. In her high school years, she was suddenly hurled into a situation where she received racist, bullying phone calls. Even though the event had a lasting impact on her life, Owens eventually overcame her struggles related to the hate call.
Both Owens and Ocasio-Cortez came from a minority group. Both of them rose above difficult circumstances to become the people they are today.
And that brings us to why both of them are so popular.
Young, Sophisticated Members of a Minority.
Why is Candace Owens so popular so that whenever anyone hears her talking, they at least pay attention? How did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez become such a well-known name and figure?
There are many answers to the above questions, but most - if not all - of the answers stem from the title of this section. Both of them are young, sophisticated members of a minority.
Let’s start with Ocasio-Cortez. How did she become so well known and popular?
The Atlantic has some things to say about a subject similar to this topic. Younger people today are leaning left. According to The Washington Post, Bernie Sanders collected more votes from people younger than 30 years old than both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton combined.
Now let’s move to a different facet of this idea. Not only are young people leaning left, they are leaning towards voting for younger, left-leaning people. Obama had overwhelming support from young voters, and he won the Presidential election, of course. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fits both of those criteria. She is young and a progressive Democrat. Millennials can identify with her. She represents many of the policies and ideas that millennials agree with or are at least neutral to.
Candace Owens has a similar reason why she has risen to fame. Not all young people lean left, after all. Candace Owens speaks out strongly on many controversial issues, winning her a strong following of a diverse audience united by one title: Conservative.
AOC and CO have both aligned themselves with a political group, and both have succeeded in raising a following. For Ocasio-Cortez, it was enough for her to win an election. For Candace, it was enough for her to start a successful Blexit campaign.
Almost all political groups try to attract minorities. Minorities are a massive percentage of America’s population, so appealing to the different ethnicities is important for all politicians to succeed. And what better way to appeal to a specific minority than to be a member of one yourself? With all of the racism headlines covering many front pages of major networks, political groups are faced with two choices: either accept the rising star or reject him or her and face possible accusations of being racist.
Candace Owens and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have both taken advantage of this concept, and it has helped them both make it to the high platform on which they stand.
A final reason why both of these women are so popular is because they both present a poised, sophisticated picture to their audience and the world in general. All photographs of them that are used as thumbnails or propaganda show smiling, professional young women whose very appearance oozes confidence and intelligence. No matter your political views, you probably have been impressed by watching one or the other speak. Pointing back to the millennials again, young people want to be professional and sophisticated themselves, just like me, and more likely than not, just like you. If you are in a place to be noticed, who doesn’t want to exude confidence and intelligence like these two political figures?
In this article, I have presented a brief argument for how AOC and CO are alike in three different ways that you can go out and see for yourself. I encourage you to observe this. It teaches us all a lesson about what to look for in a rising, young, political person as well as enlightening us about similarities between people in modern times who have already risen to the heights of politics.
Next, I explained why they are so popular. I’m sure many politicians and speakers are jealous of the way our subjects have surpassed them in attention, but if you only look at the facts, anyone can learn how and why they could become a success, too.
Finally, I hope that you have learned something. I certainly did. I learned about how two people can be so polar opposite and yet so deceivingly similar. From my own research, I know to not only learn from the new and bold, but also to not leave behind age-old morals and standards that should guide us all. I hope you never lose sight of those foundations, either.
Follow this Liberty University student on Twitter, @con_college_kid.