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Expand chart
Note: Kamala Harris tweets under both a private and a Senate account. Her total is combined; Data: CrowdTangle; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

A freshman congresswoman who has held office for less than a month is dominating the Democratic conversation on Twitter, generating more interactions — retweets plus likes — than the six most prolific news organizations combined over the last 30 days.

The big picture: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is miles behind President Trump in the influence of her Twitter account. But he's the president — she's a new member of Congress who shot out of a cannon following the midterm elections. And she has far more power on Twitter than the most prominent Democrats, including the congressional leaders and the likely 2020 presidential candidates.

Ben Thompson — founder of Stratechery, and one of the most pioneering online thinkers — points out that neither Ocasio-Cortez's "background nor her position as a first-time representative are ... noteworthy enough to be driving the national political conversation. And yet she is doing exactly that."

  • "In short, she is the first — but certainly not the last — of an entirely new archetype: a politician that is not only fueled by the Internet, but born of it."

Antonio García Martínez — author of "Chaos Monkeys," about Silicon Valley — wrote in Wired that she's "a harbinger of a new American political reality":

  • "[W]hen a 29-year-old former bartender of Puerto Rican descent beats a senior Democratic leader of the House, and then proceeds to set the political agenda during her first week in office, it’s more than a cute social media story."
  • "AOC is one answer to the bigger question of how social media impacts not just the portrayal of political power, but its seizure and exercise."

The main takeaways:

  • Among 2020 Democratic hopefuls, Sen. Kamala Harris (combining her Senate and personal accounts) had the highest Twitter engagement at 4.7 million interactions over the last 30 days — but that's still way behind Ocasio-Cortez.
  • Even former President Barack Obama was far behind Ocasio-Cortez, at 5.3 million interactions (but she's a lot more active on Twitter).
  • Other notable Democrats:
    • Bernie Sanders: 3.2m (combined Senate and personal account)
    • Nancy Pelosi: 2.5m
    • Chuck Schumer: 1.9m
    • Elizabeth Warren: 1.5m (combined Senate and personal account)
    • Beto O'Rourke: 1.5m
  • News organizations' metrics do not include numbers from their star journalists. CNN's Jim Acosta generated 2.2 million interactions, compared to the network's 3.3 million.
  • On the right, individual personalities out-index partisan news organizations. The biggest conservative megaphones — aside from the president — are Charlie Kirk (7.8 million interactions) and Donald Trump Jr. (2.4m)
  • The volume of tweets is an important variable to consider:
    • Trump: 9.1 tweets per day
    • Ocasio-Cortez: 7.2
    • Harris: 10.5
    • Obama: 0.4
    • CNN: 136

Two notes about the data: Not listed is Fox News, which has boycotted Twitter since November. These numbers do not account for Twitter activity from bots.

Note: This article was updated on Jan. 19 to reflect the most recent data.

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Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
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  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
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Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.