Olivia Julianna wins every time she faces GOP bullies.

The 19-year-old Texan describes herself as a “queer, tall, disabled Latina.” This is the kind of person Trumpists like to target and troll. And she quickly became one of the most formidable enemies of the Republican Party.

The story of how this political strategist from the nonprofit Gen-Z for Change came to haunt so many MAGA Republicans should be a lesson to Democrats: sometimes it’s better to bring a little Texas braggadocio to the war on democracy.

Opinion columnist

John Guerrero

Jean Guerrero is the author, most recently, of “Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump and the White Nationalist Agenda”.

Surely you’ve heard part of the story: This summer, the teenager raised more than $2 million for abortion funds in response to body-shaming Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who makes investigated on suspicion of sex trafficking. . In a July speech, Gaetz described pro-choice activists as “disgusting,” saying they tend to be 5’2″ and weigh 350 pounds. “Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.” , did he declare.

Olivia, who only uses her first and middle names for privacy reasons, saw an opportunity. She tweeted: “I’m actually 5’11. 6’4 in heels. I wear them so little men like you remember your place. Gaetz took the bait. He tweeted a picture of She started fundraising for abortion access in her name, and in less than a week, she had the $2 million. She’s catapulted to stardom. Her TikTok followings, Instagram and Twitter have multiplied to almost a million combined.

It wasn’t the first or the last time Olivia put a bully in her place. She fought a digital battle with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and out-of-state politicians such as Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). She led a campaign that crashed an abortion-reporting website in Texas and another that sabotaged a whistleblower line aimed at “dividing” education in Virginia.

She laughs in the face of fascist tears. “They’ve painted Liberals and Democrats as hypersensitive snowflakes who can’t deal with criticism,” she told me, “when the reality is that these grown men in positions of power are among the most whiny spoiled brats you’ll ever talk to in your entire life.

Now she uses her fame to support opponents of her enemies in Texas, such as Beto O’Rourke for governor, Rochelle Garza for attorney general, and Mike Collier for lieutenant governor. O’Rourke told me, “Olivia is a big reason why I’m so confident the pro-choice candidates will win Texas this year, up and down the ballot.” He added, “Like millions of Texans, she’s not waiting for someone to come to her rescue — she’s stepping up to do what she can.”

His pick me up energy is contagious, inspiring copycat fundraisers that harness the virality of hate to fight like hell to protect his victims. “There comes a time when we have to fight fire with fire,” Olivia told me. “We no longer disagree with people on tax policy or on investments in certain projects. We literally disagree on fundamental rights and basic privacy.

The progressive mobilization in Texas in response to abortion bans echoes a 1990s arc in California in response to the war on immigrants. Prop. 187 in 1994 sought to deny undocumented immigrants access to public education and health care, fueling unprecedented voter registration among Latinos and dealing a fatal blow to Republican control over the state. Now Texas could face a similar fate.

Olivia and the young Latinos who led protests in California have a lot in common. “It all started because these politicians went out of their way to denigrate us and make us feel undesirable and worthless,” said Christian Arana, vice president of policy at the Latino Community Foundation.

A surge in voter registration among women and young people signals that Republicans may have sparked another backlash. But this time, it won’t stay local. The new activists are the masters of social media and reach millions of people from their iPhones.

As Prop. 187, the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade is a war on Latinas. Latinas earn less than all other women; many cannot afford to travel for an abortion. There are language barriers. Undocumented migrants often do not have access to health care. Those who live within the 100-mile border zone where Border Patrol can set up checkpoints cannot travel without risking deportation.

“When we talk about restricting bodily autonomy and common sense public health for women, we’re talking about women of color and we’re talking about Latinas in Texas,” said Sonja Diaz, founding director of UCLA Policy & Politics. Institute. , said. Last week, Olivia participated in a panel on Latinas and abortion organized by the institute. The conversation focused on the urgent need for translation services and other supports for the most vulnerable.

The disproportionate impact on Latinas is one of the reasons Olivia is such an important voice in the fight for access to abortion and other rights. And life taught him not to be silent.

“Anything anyone can tell me online about being overweight or being ugly, those are things I’ve heard all my life,” she told me. “I no longer tolerate disrespect from anyone, whether it’s a member of my family or a sitting member of Congress.”

She grew up in a conservative family and describes her father as a maverick who taught her how to argue: “In a way, I’ve faced Republican opposition all my life in my own home and been told learned to overcome that.”

Now Olivia has co-opted the bullies’ guns. As right-wing trolls target Latinos and other voters of color with misinformation and threats, she’s energizing a diverse coalition to fight back. They are fierce and ready to strike the malditos. And they’re about to take back Texas.

@jeanguerre