Things That Matter

AOC’s Average Priced Haircut Has Set Off A Twitter Storm On The Right But She’s Clapping Back

There is a lot that offends people about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: her Green New Deal, her socialism, her dancing, her previous employment as a bar-tender, and now, apparently, her hair.

On Wednesday, a story from a conservative news outlet that shall not be named—nor linked to—attempted to manufacture outrage over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s hair salon bill: There was a reported $80 cut, $180 for lowlights, and pure speculation about a $52 tip, for a grand total of approximately $312. The message? How dare a democratic socialist—and someone in the public eye whose appearance very much matters, for better or for worse—get a haircut at market price for a major metropolis?

Other publications have subsequently seized on the invented “controversy,” even if no one seems truly mad about it except for conservative talking heads. On the contrary, much of the outrage online seems to be on AOC’s behalf—that harping on her haircut is typical sexism and hypocrisy. How quickly the right is quick to ignore Mitt Romeny’s comparably priced $70 cut back in 2011, or John Edward’s $1,250 hair bills from 2007.

But as usual there isn’t much need to come to AOC’s defense when, in fact, no one is better at crafting the perfect response to hypocrisy and nonsense than AOC herself.

According to the paper, a self-described Democratic-Socialist shouldn’t be paying fair market price for a haircut.

“The self-declared socialist, who regularly rails against the rich and complains about the cost of living inside the Beltway, spent nearly $300 on her hairdo at a pricey salon she frequents in downtown Washington…” the article began.

Many on the right were incensed that the congresswoman hadn’t paid a visit to the subsidized Capital Hill barbershop.

Others drew attention to the article’s assertion that Ocasio-Cortez “could have saved roughly $100 for the same hairstyle at the government-subsidized Capitol Hill barbershop”.

“Her high-dollar hairdo stands in stark contrast to that of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former senator from Alabama who is a regular customer at Senate Hair Care Services,” the article said.

“At that place, open to members of Congress and the public, a men’s cut runs about $20, though men’s haircuts there and everywhere else are cheaper than women’s,” the article acknowledges.

Many questioned the choice of Jeff Sessions as a model. “Damn, why didn’t AOC ask for a rec from hair icon *checks notes* Jeff Sessions?” wrote one person.

Of course, AOC had the perfect response to all this BS.

The New York congresswoman noted that if you’re mad about her $80 haircut, which, by the way, she paid for herself, you’re bound to hate vice president Mike Pence’s $600,000 limo bill from his official visit to Ireland last month, which, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Pence billed to taxpayers.

Citing State Department contracts, CREW writes that Pence racked up the steep bill because, despite meetings in Dublin, the VP elected to drive four hours away in order to stay at…you guessed it…President Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg.

So why is AOC’s private salon bill up for debate while Pence’s public limo tab flies under the radar? Sexism. Pure and simple.

And women on Twitter defended the Congresswoman, saying the ones who should be checking their privilege in the haircare wars were men.

It’s obvious men clearly have no idea how much women were routinely charged for haircuts and colour treatments.

“Sorry, you don’t get to create beauty standards that require women to spend hundreds or thousands a year to be considered presentable and then hate us for it,” tweeted the writer Jessica Valenti.

Right now it’s her hair, but the right has come for AOC for so many different things it’s hard to keep track.

And let’s be real. Even if AOC had followed the ‘advice’ and got a $20 bowl cut, she’d still drive them crazy because she is both effective and polished – a fact that makes her feel all that more threatening to her critics.

In the past, her clothes were the “controversy,” from that from-behind photo taken without her consent and tweeted (and later deleted) to the manufactured “outrage” over the borrowed $3,000 Gabriela Hearst suit she wore, fleetingly, for a photo shoot in Interview magazine. It’s almost as if people don’t think AOC deserves to dress, and look, the part of congresswoman.

Reliably, AOC had the sharpest reply to the latest wave of attention around her appearance. “Our policies, like Medicare for All, advance prosperity for working people,” she tweeted on Thursday of Democratic socialism. As for her critics: “They’re just mad we look good doing it.” Now that’s a hair flip.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Push For A Bernie Sanders Presidency Might Just Be The Fight We Need

Things That Matter

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Push For A Bernie Sanders Presidency Might Just Be The Fight We Need

@realDailyWire / Twitter

As the 2020 presidential election draws ever nearer, the stakes are growing significantly higher for the candidates of both major parties—and quickly. In the case of the Democrats, the top four candidates (Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg) are all closely ranked in New Hampshire and Iowa, and it’s no secret that Iowa is a particularly important state when it comes to forecasting election season. This week, the Des Moines Register poll showed Sanders with a mild lead in this Midwest state, a stat that bodes well for him in the coming months—well, at least, it might. At this point in the game, it’s really impossible to guess what’s to come, especially in the midst of the chaos surrounding our military conflict with Iran and the impeachment of President Trump.

In addition to a millennial-friendly position on a wide range of issues—from healthcare reform to student loan forgiveness—many folks are speculating about Senator Sanders’ success resulting from his endorsement by none other than AOC herself.

Credit: J Pat Carter / Getty Images

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Sanders back in October, and ever since, she’s stood alongside him in several early-voting states, drawing major crowds in Nevada, California, New York, and, of course, Iowa. Sanders’ approach to policy may already pique the interest of the millennial generation, but AOC is, herself, a millennial—she speaks to this age group from her own perspective as a progressive young person, appealing to her peers with firsthand knowledge of what matters to them most. She’s impassioned, savvy, likeable. And she’s not just exciting the millennial demographic—she’s appealing to all kinds of Democrats.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a leader in the progressive movement,” said Jeff Weaver, longtime adviser to Sanders. “She is broadly popular, frankly, among Democratic voters. She is particularly strong with young voters, voters of color. She’s an important national voice and adding her weight to the political revolution is a real coup for us.”

It’s definitely clear that AOC and Sanders are making waves across the country, establishing powerful connections with legions of unlikely and diverse Democratic constituencies. And as they continue to generate energy and excitement, people are starting to wonder: Will AOC ultimately inherit the progressive movement headed by Sanders? Will she occupy the White House one day?

Credit: Kevin Kuo / AP Photo

Again, no one can answer these questions right now. But in the meantime, the political duo is leaving a powerful imprint on enthusiastic delegates, paving the way for what might end up being a highly productive race for the Democratic socialists. With that said, it’s important to remember that Joe Biden is currently favored in Nevada and South Carolina, placing him and Sanders in a sort of limbo, hovering at a similar point  in the race. But if one of them ends up gaining early momentum, either candidate could potentially emerge as a singular favorite by the time Super Tuesday arrives in March.

Waleed Shahid, a former aide to both Sanders and AOC, acknowledged the pair’s recent visit through California, saying that Sanders would benefit from further establishing himself within the Super Tuesday state—a move that would allow him to expand his already strong position among Latino voters. (In surveys of Latino Democrats, Sanders typically polls first or second.) And AOC is, without a doubt, boosting his ratings among this demographic: to make sure their message is being heard, she’s been delivering campaign speeches entirely in Spanish to Latino crowds.

Even if there’s no way to predict AOC’s future role in the Democratic party, there have been hints as to what might come to pass if Sanders is chosen as the Democratic candidate for this year’s election.

Credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters

In an election endorsement interview with The New York Times Editorial Board, Sanders said that it was “a little bit premature” to name a running mate, as the first nominating contest is still weeks away. But he continued by saing, “I think Joe [Biden] has had eight years as vice president: probably enough.” He added, “I believe in diversity. I believe and know that my administration and my cabinet will look like America looks like. I’m not going to tell you who it’s going to be.”

While Sanders may be trying to keep his plans on the down low (he isn’t wrong, after all—it is a bit early to start naming potential running mates), it’s clear that he and AOC have a similar vision and a sincere, collaborative chemistry. Plus, he did tell ABC in November that she would “play a very, very important role — no question” if he becomes president. He has even taken to occasionally citing remarks by AOC during his speeches, reiterating that they share a parallel perspective for the future of our country. At this point, all we can do is speculate about a Sanders/AOC ticket. Ya veremos!

AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party

Things That Matter

AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party

@AOC / @JoeBiden / Twitter

New York Magazine profiled the superstar progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fondly known as AOC. The 30-year-old The Bronx native was not afraid to vent her frustrations with Vice President Joe Biden and the right-leaning centrists who seem to dominate the Democratic Party. 

AOC shared the same concern as many progressives: that centrists control the party at a crucial time for democracy and have a misguided approach to governing during a time when the Republican Party refuses to cooperate. 

AOC said she and Joe Biden don’t belong in the same political party.

When reporter David Freedlander asked her what she thought her place might be should Joe Biden become president, her response was candid, to say the least. 

“Oh God,” she said. “In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party, but in America, we are.”’

Freedlander describes AOC as the tenacious hopeful many estimated her to be. She sees no reason to comprise on her values and will fearlessly stand against what’s popular. Notably, in 2019, she was the only Democrat to vote against funding the government because that would mean funding ICE. This might seem like it should be the standard — a leader with a strong sense of justice — but in a representative government, it is more common for Democrats to acquiesce to popular sentiment (i.e. centrist and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi waiting for public approval to impeach the president, rather than what the law dictates). 

AOC feels these Democrats cave too easily on the demands of the more conservative members of the party.

“For so long, when I first got in, people were like, ‘Oh, are you going to basically be a tea party of the left?’ And what people don’t realize is that there is a tea party of the left, but it’s on the right edges, the most conservative parts of the Democratic Party,” the representative of the New York’s 14th district said.

AOC describes tension within the party with one side successfully attempting to pull it right, and the other side also quite successfully trying to pull it left (i.e. the rise of progressives like the Squad, Elizabeth Warren and AOC’s 2020 pick Bernie Sanders).  

“So the Democratic Party has a role to play in this problem, and it’s like we’re not allowed to talk about it. We’re not allowed to talk about anything wrong the Democratic Party does,” she said. “I think I have created more room for dissent, and we’re learning to stretch our wings a little bit on the left.” 

AOC says that she learned from her own experiences that fear has begun to dominate how politicians govern.

The freshman congresswoman recounted an incident where she wanted to sit in on a meeting in Pelosi’s office. It was about the Green New Deal, but other members of the squad chickened out at the last minute. AOC wasn’t sure if she should go? Would the move infuriate the eventual House Speaker? 

“I was terrified,” AOC told New York Magazine. “I learned a lot about how fear shapes the decisions of elected officials: ‘I know this could be bad, and this could make someone mad, and I don’t know exactly how they would drop the hammer on me or what hammers would be dropped.’ It felt like the right thing to do, and when you say that people think it’s a form of naïveté and that it’s childish, but I don’t think it was.”

Much of the conflict exists between the moderates and progressives because of what is at stake. While moderates appear more concerned with winning elections to expand the party’s power, according to AOC, progressives seem more concerned with policy-making. That means they aren’t afraid to challenge other incumbent Democrats in elections. However, Freedlander notes that moderates have challenged far more incumbents than progressives lately. 

Progressives are too threatening to some of the more seasoned Democrats.

“As a consequence of my victory, many people are inspired to run for office, and in a body where 70 percent of the seats are safe red or safe blue, that de facto means a lot more primaries,” she said. 

Dissent is a healthy party of democracy, that is why it is protected by the First Amendment. The differences between moderates and progressives can be good: healthy competition can breed better results. However, it can be confusing for voters when such a large spectrum of values and priorities exists within one party. The person who wants Sanders to win probably has little in common with a candidate like Biden. The massive disparity forces voters to either compromise their values or become apathetic. 

“Democrats can be too big of a tent,” AOC said summing up the issue.

But if there’s one way to change politics, it is by changing the attitudes of voters. AOC wants to get more people involved, and she wants to do it by making politics more understandable. 

“Politics should be pop because it should be consumable and accessible to everyday people,” she said. “I think that’s what populism is about.”