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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

America’s “Radical Chick”

I adore Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, says Van Badham in The Guardian. On Monday she turned heads at the annual Met Gala in a “slyly bridal” white Aurora James dress adorned with the words “Tax the rich”. And the backlash was “instant and glorious”. Of course, the socialist Democrat congresswoman wasn’t the only person at the $35,000-a-head New York fashion bash to “take a political statement as her date”: soccer megastar Megan Rapinoe carried a clutch emblazoned with the words “In Gay We Trust”, Cara Delevingne wore a top that read “Peg the Patriarchy”. But arriving in “the blood-spattered garments of fighting class war” is a surefire way to get noticed.

The “Bolshevik Barbie” is in a class of her own at “getting people to look at her”, says Kyle Smith in the New York Post. In a room full of “dimwit divas”, our favourite “Radical Chick” stole the crown. “You’ve been out-preened, Rihanna!” The paps don’t care that the richest 10% already pay 71% of America’s taxes, and the bottom 60% pay zero federal income tax. Or that Boston University international relations and economics grad AOC once thought John Maynard Keynes’s first name was “Milton”. She has a genius for grabbing attention, but that doesn’t make her a sharp politician. “Barbra Streisand is a genius singer, but you wouldn’t want her analysing your X-rays.”

I’m not convinced her message really works, says Julia Craven on Slate. The dress was designed by a woman “reportedly dating the son of billionaire Edgar Bronfman Jr”. And apart from becoming a “regurgitated Twitter talking point”, what has AOC achieved? She’s a national figure who is supposed to be beholden to her constituency, says culture writer Shamira Ibrahim on Twitter. Yet while New York is fighting for federal funds to recover from a hurricane “she’s at a wealthy tax write-off talking about her dress”.

If the Republicans had any sense, they’d hail Ocasio-Cortez as one of their own – and not just “for shedding her Covid mask and fearlessly partying on”, says Dominic Green in The Daily Telegraph. She’s using “a younger, left-wing version of Donald Trump’s playbook”: cut the establishment out of the joke. AOC isn’t stupid. Any inherent contradiction is “the kind of woke trolling” that the young left love, “especially because it enrages the old right”. Ocasio-Cortez knows her audience, too: 12.7m Twitter followers, and 8.7m on Instagram. That’s a lot more than 110,000, which is the number of voters who first elected her in New York’s 14th district. She was born in 1989. The Cold War, and real-world socialism, are “ancient history” to her “millennial cohort”. And Generation Z, who adore her, is also just starting to vote. “Tomorrow belongs to her.”