Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Fox News

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Won’t Let Fox News Turn the Issue of Economic Disparity in Politics Into a Joke

They should know better than to come for her.
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In a recent interview with the New York Times, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez commented on her post-election transitional period. The transition from campaigning (and before that, bartending) to taking office will be “very unusual,” she says, “because I can’t really take a salary. I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real.”

Ocasio-Cortez has been honest about her struggles as a working-class young person and her unusual path to where she is now.

Her story about the apartment wasn’t just about her individual situation. It was a comment on the ways in which the political system is set up to favor the independently wealthy and/or those who play nice with lobbyists.

Washington D.C. is one of the most expensive cities in the country, but for a 29-year-old working class person to pick up and move to a new city to start a job from which she’d have to wait three months to collect a salary would be nearly impossible no matter the circumstances. Even after they’ve beaten the odds and won their race, the political system simply isn’t designed for the average person to succeed.

But over on Fox News, the pundits found this story hilarious and entirely mockable.

Two of the pundits basically said they agreed with Ocasio-Cortez (even though they couldn’t pronounce her name correctly) that D.C. is expensive and it’s hard to live there (only part of the issue), but they said all this while laughing and weirdly dismissing her words as “playing to her base” and “a brilliant political line.”

Ed Henry, on the other hand, trotted out the old she’s not really from the Bronx line, saying, “It turns out, when you read deeper, she had a lot more formative years in Westchester County, New York.”

Yeah, Ed. You don’t have to “read deeper” to know that. You could just read her own words, where she’s shared that information openly. Yes, her parents sacrificed to be able to move to Yorktown for the schools. Her father’s business and much of her family remained in the Bronx, leading her to split her youth “between two worlds,” and giving her insight into what a huge difference a zip code can make in a person’s life.

Ed Henry says Ocasio-Cortez has been “all over the map” on these issues. She hasn’t, but admitting that makes it harder to take her seriously, which they’re determined not to do.

He also pretended he didn’t know how photo shoots work, balking at the outfits she’s been photographed in that “could pay a month’s rent in Washington D.C.” He works in television. He knows those are on loan, not things she pays for herself—just like he and everyone else using these arguments knows that going to an Ivy League school is not contradictory to her status (they would say “image”) as a working class person. (There are these things called loans and grants and debt, you know.)

They know these things, but they don’t care. They are so out of touch with regular people that they legitimately find this funny, like it’s a game. The fact that Fox News has convinced millions of viewers that their network cares about working Americans might be the most impressive (and despicable) con of our lifetime.

(image: Rick Loomis/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.