Chris Johnson

I thought Kevin Bacon and Men Without Hats already settled this

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., laughs out loud as she talks with other new House members on the opening day of the 116th Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., laughs out loud as she talks with other new House members on the opening day of the 116th Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. AP

Because only about 17 people in the United States still vote based on ideas, platforms and proposals, that leaves political operatives and candidates relying on identity politics and basically scaring the uninformed or gullible into voting for them.

They engage in hyperbole with commercials of the GOP pushing grandma over the cliff or warning of a caravan of disease-ridden Hispanic terrorists charging the border — right where there is already a wall, ironically.

But even more effective than hyperbolic rhetoric involving gays, guns, Muslims, socialists or Russians is the boogeyman. If you want to mobilize the ignorant masses, you must have a boogeyman.

President Trump knows this well. He keeps trotting out Nancy Pelosi, “Crooked Hillary” and even President Obama as his favorite boogeymen for riling up his base on Twitter. And the other side’s favorite boogeyman is, well, President Trump himself.

But there’s a new boogeyman in town these days. Actually, she’s more of a boogeywoman. Or, more accurately, a boogie woman.

Alexandria Cortez-Ocasio is the youngest Congresswoman in history at the ripe old age of 29. She’s everything the far right hates — supporting health care for all, advocating for college students, proposing higher taxes on the super-rich and connecting with youth and women in a way that rich old white guys struggle to. She’s also from New York. Ugh.

She’s been called a commie and a nitwit. I suspect she’s the first nitwit to have an asteroid named after her because of her science prowess as a youth. Of course, she’s been called a nitwit mainly by old white guys whose major accomplishment is having a sandwich named after them at their hometown diner or holding the local record for eating lamb fries in one sitting. (My mark stands at 27, by the way.) She’s also been made fun of for not being wealthy — something almost no one in Congress can understand.

Worst of all, she danced. Yes, there is a video of her and other Boston University students dancing 10 years ago in a promotional video. It’s not risque, but it indeed involves body movements set to music, which is something I imagine many of the rich old fogies in Congress aren’t used to seeing without carrying a roll of lobbyist’s cash in their pockets.

I understand that her connecting with a younger generation upsets folks. I understand that her focusing on working-class families instead of the rich and corporations really rocks the boat in D.C. But I cannot understand how innocent dancing is a problem. Didn’t we settle this back in the 1980s when Men Without Hats said we can dance if we want to and Kevin Bacon clearly made the case for dancing in the political thriller “Footloose?”

If this has the stodgy folks in D.C. upset, they’d better gird their loins because the next couple of decades are gonna be more shocking. As new generations of congressional representatives come into power, there are going to be social media records of them dancing, listening the devil’s rock’ n’ roll music, dumping ice buckets on themselves, cussing, playing Grand Warcraft Halo Assassin 4 and flipping water bottles until they land on their tops — which, like many other other old white dudes, I still don’t get.

It’s a new era. Careers are going to be destroyed by actual horrible things people have done or said that have been captured for eternity by social media. Gone are the days when your sinister past disappears beyond vague notes in a high school yearbook or cloudy 30-year-old memories from alcohol-soaked parties.

Folks on the left and right are going to rein in their overreactions and hyper-political correctness. Otherwise, when they yank their leash of righteous indignation, they just might hang themselves.

Of course, if it’s a video of me dancing, feel free to be both offended and disturbed.

Chris Johnson’s annual “Year in Preview” is now online at