New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, currently one of the leading lights of the Democrats’ left-wing, is on a tour of the West Coast -- but is notably avoiding meeting up with the region’s Hollywood elites.
Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the party’s democratic socialist wing, has visited homeless areas on Los Angeles’ Skid Row neighborhood, and has met with liberal activists.
But as she has held low-dollar fundraisers, she has not engaged in glitzy events with high-profile Democratic donors and Hollywood celebrities.
The move has already raised eyebrows, with The Hollywood Reporter asking: “Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Too Far Left for Hollywood?”
The outlet reported that it reached out to a number of “political operatives” and “members of the industry’s donor class,” who all said they were not aware of any meetings with her -- while others weren’t aware she was in L.A.
She also reportedly didn’t reach out to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Instead she held an event with a $27-a-head fee, or $10 for students. The move is is line with her campaign -- which was not supported by the Democratic Party machine, did not receive significant funding, and still managed to upend expectations as she beat Democratic Party mainstay Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y.
While she has picked up the backing of some Hollywood celebrities, such as Susan Sarandon and Chelsea Handler, and has engaged in a whirlwind media tour, Ocasio-Cortez has so far held back from getting too close from the Democratic and Hollywood elites -- unlike other key Democratic figures like former President Barack Obama or 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who were both comfortable in such circles.
Even Sanders, with whom Ocasio-Cortez has allied, occasionally dabbled in the Hollywood fundraising circuit, despite promising not to raise money from millionaires and billionaires. In 2015 he was welcomed at a campaign fundraiser at the Hollywood home of real estate agent Syd Leibovitch -- where those who spent $2,700 or who raised $10,000 were invited to a "pre-event reception."
She has embraced far-left issues such as Medicare-for-all and calls to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE.) She represents a rising left-wing within the party that has only been growing since democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., made a surprisingly strong primary challenge against eventual 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
But Ocasio-Cortez’s rapid ascension from unknown candidate to political celebrity has raised concerns from more mainstream Democrats about how her brand of hard-left democratic socialism will play outside of left-wing hubs of New York City and Los Angeles.
Joe Lieberman, who was the Democratic Party's candidate for vice president in 2000, in an interview with Fox News last month, said that Ocasio-Cortez’s ideas will struggle to gain support across America.
"When I see somebody who really says she's a socialist -- she's a very captivating, charismatic candidate -- when you look at those policies, those policies will not be supported in many places across America," Lieberman said.
Former President Barack Obama issued a lengthy list of midterm endorsements last week -- a list which notably did not include Ocasio-Cortez.
That nervousness is unlikely to have been soothed by recent media appearances. In a recent interview with “The Daily Show” she struggled to lay out how she’d fund her agenda -- that interview quickly went viral in delighted right-wing circles. She also got into trouble after she referred to Israel's "occupation" of Palestine, before admitting she was "not the expert" on the subject.
But in L.A., the enthusiasm for her only appears to be growing. The Hollywood Reporter reported that an event with Ocasio-Cortez quickly sold out with almost no marketing.
"She really inspires me, because she's so young and she's getting so far," said Melainey Jane Foerster, 16, a high-school student from suburban Santa Clarita, told The Associated Press.
“She’s new, she’s a fresh voice — and we’ve been lacking that,’’ Faith Eberling, a longtime San Francisco Democrat, told Politico.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.