What really seems to rankle Republicans is that AOC is, quite simply, very effective at her job. 

On Monday, Republican Representative Paul Gosar, D.D.S. shared a video, riffing on a popular meme, in which an animated Gosar kills Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. When pressed about her boss’s video, which sees Gosar’s avatar swinging two swords at AOC and President of the United States—Jessica Lycos, Gossar’s digital director, said in a statement: “Everyone needs to relax.” She added that the left “doesn’t get meme culture. They have no joy. They are not the future. It’s a cartoon. Gosar can’t fly and he does not own any light sabers. Nor was violence glorified. This is about fighting for truth.” So Congressman Dentist was both kidding and “fighting for truth” with a murderous cartoon, writes Molly Jong-Fast in Vogue.

In the normal world, posting a video of oneself killing a coworker might result in a firing or suspension, but not in the United States Congress, where this kind of behavior is becoming more and more common. That said, Representative Gosar is slightly worse than most normal Republican congresspeople: He’s been disavowed by everyone from his siblings to other dentists. But he is not the only Republican who has targeted AOC. Trump’s eldest son, Don Jr., started attacking the young congresswoman as soon as she was elected. (At one of Trump’s rallies, the crowd chanted “AOC sucks!”) Trump himself went after the congresswoman multiple times. One of the Capitol rioters tweeted “assassinate AOC” after posting pictures of himself breaking into the building. State court employee Brendan Hunt was arrested by the FBI for actively threatening Ocasio-Cortez. (During subsequent testimony, a staffer for AOC revealed that the office keeps a Google Drive folder of the most serious threats against her.) It’s a disturbing trend even outside of D.C.; a particularly disgusting company in California makes an AOC shooting target that you can buy for one dollar and fifty cents.

AOC isn’t the first woman to be harassed by Republican men. There’s a long list of women who have been through this, from Hillary Clinton to Vice President Kamala Harris to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Powerful women are one of Republicans’ go-to punching bags—but why? I think it’s too easy to blame misogyny. Sure, the Republican Party has many misogynistic tendencies: they elected Donald J. Trump, they let the Violence Against Women Act expire, they don’t believe in paid leave or legal abortions. But I think there’s more to it than that.

What really seems to rankle Republicans is that AOC is, quite simply, very effective at her job.

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