Last weekend, United States congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appeared on Harris “Hbomberguy” Brewis’s Twitch stream in order to voice her support for the streamer as he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mermaids, a charity organization that provides support for transgender children and their families.
“Donkey Kong 64 is outside of my wheelhouse,” quipped the Bronxite legislator, who was sworn in to represent New York’s 14th congressional district earlier this month. In a tweet last night, however, Ocasio-Cortez showed an interest in a very different game: Super Smash Bros.
“Can’t wait to do a Twitch 101 class with House Dems,” remarked Ocasio-Cortez, making reference to the Twitter seminar she held last week in order to teach her fellow Democrats how to use the social media platform. “So we can finally get the Super Smash Bros. Town Halls we’ve all been waiting for.”
The rising Democrat never owned a Nintendo 64—”I used to go to my cousin’s house all the time, and she had Super Mario 64, Pokemon Snap, and probably of handful of other things,” she said on Hbomberguy’s stream—so it’s possible, and perhaps even likely, that her primary childhood Smash game was Super Smash Bros. Melee. The 29-year-old lawmaker would have been 11 years old when Melee was released in 2001—arguably the target age for the popular GameCube title.
Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet inspired an outpouring of responses from Smash community members interested in learning which character she mains—responses that have unfortunately been left unanswered so far.
This isn’t Ocasio-Cortez’s first foray into the gaming world; in October, she tweeted about her love for League of Legends.
“I’m pretty bad at it so let’s temper our expectations here,” wrote the then-prospective congresswoman, who mains Morgana, Lux, and Miss Fortune in the popular multiplayer online battle arena game.
Regardless of her skill in League, Ocasio-Cortez’s appearance on Hbomberguy’s Twitch stream brings an interesting issue to light: the influence of popular Twitch streamers on the political landscape.
The confluence of celebrity and politics is nothing new; politicians often benefit from the endorsements of popular celebrities, and entertainers with limited political experience, such as Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump, have been bolstered by their celebrity status during successful presidential campaigns. In past elections, video game streamers haven’t had enough followers to be a real factor in the political sphere—but going into the 2020 elections, it’s clear that top streamers such as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins command a following as large or larger than than those of many actors and musicians.
Though Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s appearance on Hbomberguy’s stream was rooted more in her genuine support for trans rights than her crafty political acumen, currying favor with gamers is certainly not a bad idea for the up-and-coming politician.
As Ocasio-Cortez continues to climb the rungs of Washington, D.C.’s political ladder, it’s unlikely that the congresswoman will have enough free time to organize a real “Super Smash Bros. Town Hall” for her constituents. But perhaps, if she’s given a crowdfunded flight via the next The Big House compendium, she’ll show up to the tournament—and we’ll have a chance to find out what character she mains once and for all.