They all belong to a top grade freshman class that includes a record number of women and minorities for the GOP house. And with their diverse track record and already impressive Twitter followings, the Force could have a disproportionate impact as Republicans seek to recapture the House in 2022 – especially as some are eager to fight directly with the team.
Some incoming lawmakers already have star power in the GOP; Kim and Steel were asked to campaign in the Georgia Senate run-off, where they hope to appeal to the rapidly diversifying communities in suburban Atlanta that have begun to lean towards Democrats.
“I want to be different. I don’t want it to be the same old, same old. It’s a new Republican Party,” said Representative-elect Nancy Mace of South Carolina, the first woman to graduate. from the Citadel. “We have to be different if we are to survive and be successful in the long term.”
As Force members grow their political and social media brands, they draw inspiration from an unlikely but familiar source: Squad Leader Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The New York Democrat has proposed a plan for how freshmen, who are typically underpowered in the halls of Congress, can still exert influence by leveraging their loyal base. The team also includes representatives: Ayanna Pressley from Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar from Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan.
Many members of the GOP Force – who, like the Squad, are mostly young and female – even adopted the Ocasio-Cortez political style. Ocasio-Cortez is known for posting videos as she cooks meals while casually discussing upcoming legislation.
Mace recently documented his freshman orientation journey, which included to get lost in the Capitol building and run through the campus. Salazar, who is given the nickname Force, posted a photo female members of the group with the caption: “We are all working mothers and we are a real FORCE to be reckoned with!”
And earlier this summer, Salazar, a former Telemundo journalist, obtained nearly 600,000 views on a Twitter video in which she checked into the Goya aisle of a grocery store criticizing Ocasio-Cortez for pushing a boycott of the company for its executives’ support for Trump.
“Like a lot of things with branding, it just started to stick,” Elected Representative Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) said of the group’s nickname. “I think the whole class is the Force of Freedom.”
Asked about the GOP incorporating some of its own messaging tactics, Ocasio-Cortez said, “Imitation is a high form of flattery, right? So, I’m glad they think so of me.