Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did a thing, which means the right, left, and center will collaborate for one common cause that brings them all together: Bitching about it.
Ocasio-Cortez is featured on the cover of Vanity Fair’s December issue, paired with an interview in which the Bronx representative shares her sudden rise from Manhattan bartender turned controversial congresswoman who proudly calls herself a democratic socialist. While the 31-year-old struggles to make time for yoga and ruminates over whether she should freeze her eggs—and if she can even afford it—she appears far more concerned about the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Ocasio-Cortez made it plain that regardless of the winner, Americans are “still in trouble.”
From Vanity Fair:
Under a President Biden, “if his life doesn’t feel different,” [Ocasio-Cortez] points to a cab driver whizzing by our table, “if their life doesn’t feel different,” she gestures to people walking by the beauty shop and Bengali Halal Grocery, “if these people’s lives don’t actually feel different”—now she is giving a stump speech over her omelet—“we’re done. You know how many Trumps there are in waiting?”
She is tired of incremental change, of “bullshit little 10 percent tax cuts,” she says. “I think, honestly, a lot of my dissent within the Democratic party comes from my lived experience. It’s not just that we can be better, it’s that we have to be better. We’re not good enough right now.”
It’s a fair assessment, as were her observations of the Affordable Care Act’s shortcomings (“it failed me and it failed everyone that I worked with in a restaurant”) and how her working-class background makes her a better politician than her millionaire colleagues on the Hill (“I’ve actually worked for a living”). But why focus on that when we could, instead, fret over her wardrobe?
Critics on the right pounced on the price tag of the Aliétte suit Ocasio-Cortez donned on the cover.
“I wonder what brand of socialism allows you to get a $14,000 suit for Vogue photoshoots,” tweeted Lauren Boebert, a Qanon-friendly Republican congressional nominee for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district. Her claim to fame: Yelling at Beto O’Rourke about guns.
Boebert continued: “See you soon, Alexandria. Looking forward to dismantling your socialist agenda in my finest Macy’s clothes like normal working people.”
Aside from the fact that Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t gracing Vogue, people seem to have little to no idea how photoshoots work: A stylist borrows the clothing they want a subject to wear, the subject wears them, photos are taken, and then the subject takes the fancy clothes off and leaves, only to return the clothing to the designer. Ocasio-Cortez did not buy an outfit worth thousands of dollars to parade in the face of the American people, and it is incredibly rare for a model to be gifted the clothes they wore in a shoot after the fact.
But unless Ocasio-Cortez wears a burlap sack from Home Depot or a peplum blouse from Forever 21 that will fall apart after a single wash, she is, according to these people, skirting her values.
The left criticized Ocasio-Cortez’s Vanity Fair appearance too, mostly wondering why she did it in the first place. But Vanity Fair is a common vehicle for politicians to get a message across. It is not Saturday Night Live or RuPaul’s Drag Race. And ultimately, it’s harmless. Yes, there is certainly a degree of idolatry attached to magazine covers and other mass media—and no one should idolize elected officials—but it’s hard to fathom how Ocasio-Cortez delivering a message that condemns conservatism and moderate Democrats in a well-regarded periodical is anything for the left to get worked up into a tizzy about.