Dancing video of star Democrat lights up Twitter – as troll bid falls flat

WASHINGTON (AFP) – An attempt to discredit new United States (US) congresswoman and leftist poster child Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a video of her dancing as a student backfired spectacularly last Friday, triggering eye rolls and a barrage of whimsical memes.

The 30-second clip of a younger Ocasio-Cortez, now 29, dancing on the roof of a building quickly went viral on social media – but the troll attempt fell flat, with users rushing to praise rather than shame her.

“Well, @AOC is officially done. She’ll never recover from the world seeing her… (watches video) …dancing adorably and having fun with her friends in high school?” tweeted the comedian Patton Oswalt, tongue-in-cheek.

The edited clip that began circulating widely last Thursday shows an upbeat Ocasio-Cortez twirling and hamming it up for the camera.

“Here is America’s favourite commie know-it-all acting like the clueless nitwit she is,” read the original tweet from @AnonymousQ1776, who described it as a video from her high school days.

The Twitterverse later un-earthed the full video posted on YouTube eight years ago, when viral dance crazes began taking the Internet by storm.

The short was filmed at Boston University, and sees Ocasio-Cortez – who graduated from there in 2011 – join peers to pay wholesome homage to an iconic dance scene from the 1980s film The Breakfast Club, set to the French indie pop band Phoenix’s “Lisztomania”.

The trolling intended as a “gotcha” moment for the New York politician – who was sworn in to Congress last Thursday, becoming the legislative body’s youngest woman ever – instead saw social media turn the video into a comical meme.

“Cannot wait for my enemies to post a video of me spinning around looking super hot with the shiny hair of youth and act like they just caught me breaking into the Watergate Hotel,” tweeted writer Nicole Cliffe of the flubbed smear attempt.

The meme mashing up David Bowie’s hit Rebel, Rebel with the footage was particularly apt, playing the lyrics, “We like dancing and we look divine.”

Ocasio-Cortez is a favourite among American progressives, having burst into the public consciousness after beating a Democratic Party stalwart in her first political race, New York’s June primary.

An ally of longtime progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, she has built her platform on championing her working class roots and Puerto Rican heritage.

In response to the dancing video Ocasio-Cortez last Friday posted a fresh clip of herself shimmying into her office on Capitol Hill, as the counterculture classic hit War plays.

“I hear the GOP thinks women dancing are scandalous,” she wrote. “Wait till they find out Congresswomen dance too!”