In an Instagram Story video posted late on Tuesday night, the Democratic congresswoman suggested she could take the edge off “contentious” family gatherings with a humorous video to prove her human credentials.
Despite her joking tone and warning that this was “a bad idea”, an accompanying poll came out 94 per cent in favour of her actually doing it, with only 6 per cent voting against.
“Okay so, I had a bad idea,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez told followers. “Here’s my bad idea. I know a lot of y’all talk about how contentious or – ‘interesting’, let’s call it – Thanksgiving dinner can be with some of y’all’s families.
“So what if, for your uncle or family member that thinks that I’m a lizard person or something like that, I just sent you a video?
“Like you tell me your deets in like an [Instagram] question or answer or something, and I’ll be like, ‘hey so and so, hope you’re having an awesome day. Many blessings. Bye bye’.”
Thanksgiving dinners have become a regular cultural flashpoint since the election of Donald Trump in 2016, as young liberal Americans journeyed from college towns or major cities back to suburban or rural family homes in a time of historically bitter partisan divisions.
A poll in 2017 found that 47 per cent of Americans avoid discussing politics during Thanksgiving, with 43 per cent saying they had a no-politics rule, 17 per cent saying they felt anxious about it, and 12 per cent saying they had changed holiday plans to avoid family members that wanted to debate politics.
This year disagreements over Covid rules and vaccines could provide an additional source of strife. Polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that vaccination status increasingly reflects party alignment, with the share of unvaccinated people who are Republicans rising from 42 per cent in April to 60 per cent in October while the share of Democrats dropped from 36 per cent to 17 per cent.