This was more than likely just a case of Daily Wire editor Ben Shapiro having some fun with an increasingly mockable Democratic “rising star” but it’s moved beyond social media and popped up on cable news this morning. Shapiro made an offer to Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wherein he would pay her $10K if she would debate him on the merits of socialism. Rather than simply ignoring him as a more seasoned (and cautious) Democrat might have done, Ocasio-Cortez decided to publicly refuse the offer. And in her usual style, she even managed to turn that into a running joke on social media. (The Hill)
Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday dismissed an offer from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro challenging her to a debate, saying she doesn’t “owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions.”
“Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Thursday night. “And also like catcalling, for some reason they feel entitled to one.”
Shapiro said during a segment on “The Ben Shapiro Show” on Wednesday that he would donate $10,000 to Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign if she agreed to debate him.
Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions.
And also like catcalling, for some reason they feel entitled to one. pic.twitter.com/rsD17Oq9qe
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 10, 2018
As far as her reason for turning him down goes, Shapiro saved me a bit of typing with his own response on Twitter.
Discussion and debate are not “bad intentions.” Slandering someone as a sexist catcaller without reason or evidence does demonstrate cowardice and bad intent, however. https://t.co/kYaYuf0W43
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 10, 2018
We can probably assume that this debate isn’t going to happen. While ten grand is a generous offer for an hour of someone’s time, Ocasio-Cortez’s fortunes (both figurative and literal) have changed considerably since her shoestring campaign in the Democratic Primary. At that point, $10K was probably more than she raised in an entire month. But now, with her new status as an up-and-coming “superstar” of the progressive movement, she’ll have no trouble raising cash. And she won’t need much of it considering the party breakdown in her district.
More to the point, Ocasio-Cortez has virtually nothing to gain by accepting the offer. She’s already achieved name recognition that’s off the charts with her upset victory and subsequent national tour with Bernie Sanders. But she’s also firmly established her reputation as someone who is, shall we say, a bit green when it comes to her knowledge of politics, economics, world events and even socialism itself.
I’m not saying that Ben Shapiro is absolutely unbeatable in a debate, but if you’re going to come after him you’d better have your ducks in a row. Anyone who has appeared with him or heard him at one of his many public speaking engagements will tell you that he comes prepared with knowledge of the subject matter at hand and zero fear of challenging any point his opponent brings up. Absent some sort of miracle of biological data infusion, Ocasio-Cortez would likely have come off looking foolish attempting to take him on.
And what would Ben get out of it aside from a five-figure hole in his wallet? Well… it would probably be fun and provide some highlight reel footage for slow news cycles over the coming months. But that’s about it. Perhaps it’s best if this offer remains in the domain of social media and not on an actual stage.