Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made perfect use of this 20-year-old meme

Image: Rick Loomis/Getty Images

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants the super-rich to pay a heavier share of taxes.

The newly elected Congresswoman’s proposal that any earnings higher than $10 million carry a 70 percent tax rate has been widely popular. That’s true even among voters who might be more inclined to put on a MAGA hat; a recent Hill-HarrisX poll showed that some 45 percent of GOP voters agree.

On Friday night, Ocasio-Cortez greeted the news of her plan’s popularity with a play on the deepest of deep cut memes.

“All your base … belong to us,” she tweeted, referring to the GOP “base” that help propel Donald Trump to his 2016 election victory (and which partially turned on him and his acolytes during the recent 2018 midterms). But the phrase Ocasio-Cortez is referencing — “All your base are belong to us” — has some history.

The line has its origins in a 1992 game released in Europe for the Sega Mega Drive (U.S. readers would know it as the Sega Genesis). The game, Zero Wing, had actually been released in Japanese arcades a few years earlier, but its English-language release for Mega Drive featured a wonky translation.

The line of dialogue popped up in the game’s intro cutscene and eventually became a viral hit on the Something Awful message board, a pre-social media gathering place for the early internet. It’s fair to say that “All your base…” is one of the internet’s first real memes.

The line has lived on in various forms and popped up in plenty of odd places during the intervening two decades. But extra points to Ocasio-Cortez here for making that meaningless string of words actually say something.

Maybe that’s why she’s become the go-to tutor for Democratic legislators hoping to master social media.

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