Ocasio-Cortez raises eyebrows after citing national park as example of Democratic socialism

Left-wing Democrats have long said that implementing Democratic socialism is easier than conservatives claim. But according to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s a walk in the park.

The overnight Democratic superstar, who rose out of obscurity after beating Rep. Joe Crowley, D-NY, in June’s primary, has been widely mocked for a number of gaffes and misstatements she has made on a subsequent media and campaign tour.

That mockery looked set to continue this week after she took a leisurely stroll through Maine’s Acadia National Park, and declared it -- along with other benign Sunday stops -- an example of democratic socialism.

She cited not only her visit to the park, but also eating a breakfast sandwich at a cafe co-op, and “supporting worker-owned businesses.” She also added as a “bonus” that she spotted a Planned Parenthood branch “helping people, per usual.”

She posted a number of accompanying pictures -- including her relaxing under a bridge, and another of her smiling outside the aforementioned Planned Parenthood center.

But while worker-owned businesses may have a ring of “Workers of the World, Unite!” to them, Ocasio-Cortez took heat for what critics described as the common mistake of equating some things government-run to socialism.

“The National Park System is not socialism in action: It is a mix of public goods, like monuments, and government maintenance of park land, which is not an interruption of private economic activity or a usurpation of private property rights,” The Weekly Standard’s Chris Deaton wrote in a column.

Deaton added that "contra Ocasio-Cortez, a fishing trip to Yellowstone is not a celebration of Marx and Engels."

She was similarly knocked on Twitter, including by some users who noted that the billionaire Rockefeller family -- associated more with capitalism than socialism -- has ties to the park.

“Acadia National Park was created by private philanthropists who made land donations and paid for its design, John D. Rockefeller in particular,” one user tweeted. “Read the signs next time. “

Fact-checkers have been hitting Ocasio-Cortez hard for a number of misstatements on everything from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to healthcare. She has shrugged off the criticism.


Conservatives have delighted in attacking her both for her gaffes, and her left-wing worldview, which they say represents a new extreme direction for the Democratic Party.

In an email push last week, the Republican National Committee referenced Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as it called her “the Mini-Maduro foreboding the future of Democrats.”