Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls out ‘double standards’ in American politics: Paul Ryan a ‘genius,’ while 'I’m called a ‘fraud’

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Photo: AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Here’s a riddle: Two rising political stars elected at age 28 propose radical policies that could create real change. One is a “genius.” The other a “fraud.”

What’s the difference? Gender, according to representative-elect Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

Once again, Ocasio-Cortez has called it as she sees it. This time, she’s taking aim at the double standard with which she says male and female politicians are viewed by the media and the public. Prompted by a story by Vox’s political pundit Ezra Klein on Paul Ryan’s controversial fiscal policies, Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to point out the very different response she has had as a female politician launching her career.

Ocasio-Cortez argues that during the brief period in which she has become one of the youngest women elected to Congress, she has been unfairly “scrutinized” and accused of “being a fraud.” Meanwhile, at the same point in his trajectory, she says, the outgoing Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, was praised as a “genius” after launching his career in Congress at the same age.

Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, who was also elected in this year’s Women’s Wave, quickly stepped up to support Ocasio-Cortez, tweeting, “your village has your back.”

“These double standards are more commonly known as #Misogyny and #Whiteprivilege,” Omar posted.

The New York House representative has been a center of media attention since her upset victory against the 14-year incumbent and powerhouse Rep. Joe Crowley in the Democratic primaries. Ocasio-Cortez’s every word and every outfit have made headlines since her move to Capitol Hill. She has also attracted attention for giving the public an unprecedented and unapologetic glimpse of the inner workings of Congress, documenting her days and maintaining a strong presence on social media platforms.

Despite her conspicuous media profile, Ocasio-Cortez says she has been the recipient of unfair “suspicion,” as she champions such policies as the Green New Deal and pledges to pay her interns $15 an hour.

But that hasn’t deterred the congresswoman-elect from her promise to represent the underrepresented in Congress and make real change happen.

“Some of the most important people in movements are the early adopters,” she recently tweeted. “They are the risk-takers, the ones who stand with the courage of their conviction before the odds of success are known.”

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