Ignore, Condescend, Dismiss: Debate Playbook for Men Facing Women

Aug 15, 2018 · 543 comments
Arnaud Tarantola (Nouméa)
The advantage of debate,well-intended or otherwise, is that is bursts the Facebook/Twitter bubble that everyone complained about after the last elections, which results in one's exchanging ideas and viewpoints only with those who agree, be"friend" or otherwise "like". Seen from much afar, Shapiro sounds vulgar and crass. Ocasio-Cortez sounds like she prefers navigating her asocial media network, and is using cheap excuses.
CD (Ann Arbor)
Hmmm, sounds to me like Cuomo is a little nervous about debating Nixon. Maybe he should be challenged to another debate at a time when New Yorkers aren't out paddle boarding?
Paul (Phoenix, AZ)
It goes both ways. A couple of weeks ago Ari Melber of MSNBC invited on to his show Candace Owens of Turning Point, USA., a "conservative" group known for its racism and anti semitism. The other guest was Mark Eric Dyson. What a mistake! The woman refused to stick to the agreed upon topics, drew breath and tried to not stop speaking until she could run out the clock on the segment. I guess sh was taught by Kelly Ann Conway.
Jeff Guinn (Germany)
She won't debate Shapiro because her positions are silly, ill-thought out, and indefensible. Which, of course, makes Shapiro a sexist.
SD Rose (Sacramento)
@Jeff Guinn When did anyone running for office debate a political pundit? Aren't there already enough "reality" programs to watch for entertainment?
Phil Kramer (New Jersey)
And yet, after NYU suspended a female professor for sexual harassment following a 9 month investigation, women around the world have rallied around her claiming she is too high profile a person to do it. Sorry ladies, you sabotage the #MeToo movement with your hypocrisy.
Ed L. (Syracuse)
If women want to play with men in the competitive game of politics, they can't have their cake and eat it too. They are either the equal of men or they are inferior, requiring special accommodations. Male politicians brutalize their male opponents all the time and few complain. They know it goes with the territory. My advice to the Feminine Wave: don't hide behind your chromosomes. Doing so makes you look weak.
annie87nyc (New York)
But wait. Do we really want to paint women as the weaker sex? Take Bush's words to Ferraro. What if she didn't understand the difference between Iranian relations and the attack on the Lebanese embassy? What should Bush have said? I know you are a great thinker, but I disagree with you? Aren't we really then just making women a class who should not be spoken roughly toward? What next? Should he help her on with her coat? How about Obama calling Clinton likable enough? Is that sexist? Or it is fair to imply that she is not actually very likable, something that a majority of Americans would agree with? If a man cannot say that a woman acts in a way that is not likable, then we relegate women to a class of persons to whom we cannot speak honestly. Is that what we want?
scottnieto (korea)
She doesn't know how to debate.
Emma Horton (Webster Groves MO)
Not my hometown, but, hoping that crowing about "...collaborating with Ivanka Trump..." will be the political kiss of death for Mr. King.
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
While I certainly don't think she should have debated Shapiro, Ms. Bellafante uses this as a jumping-off point to accuse male politicians of routinely dismissing women and refusing to debate them. Since here it was a woman dismissing a man, how is this an example of Bellafante's central argument?
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
I find this column deeply troubling. While I can forgive Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's ham-handed response to Shapiro (the best response would have been to ignore him, or simply note that the debate would have become a media circus, distracting from the campaign the need to focus on her district), Ms. Bellafonte must know that ALL candidates are subjected to sarcasm and dismissal in debates. To give two immediate examples, there was Benson's withering "I knew Jack Kennedy, and you, sir are no Jack Kennedy" to Quayle; and Reagan's "There you go again" and "Where's the beef" to Mondale. As for Trump, Mrs. Clinton came off relatively unscathed compared to his treatment of his intra-party rivals Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio (what's more "sexist" than inferring that a man is insufficient in his, er, manhood), and Cruz (disgusting remarks about his wife and father). One need only look at Question Periods in Parliament to see how Thatcher, Teresa May and female cabinet members give as good as they get. American politicians have always been famously unbridled in the way they go after opponents. Making Shapiro's farcical offer to debate into a feminist issue does feminism no favors.
Kedi (NY)
Ben Shapiro’s people could have quietly reached out to her people instead of what he did, which was unprofessional and boorish. She knew and handled it appropriately - she nailed him. He didn’t deserve a polite response.
Kam Eftekhar (Chicago)
By not taking him on his offer, she may be sending a signal that she does not have the intellectual horsepower to debate him.
MadelineConant (Midwest)
I'm an old lady who had a long professional career, and I can tell you I have experienced being ignored, condescended to and dismissed by (some) men all my adult life, simply for being a woman. This treatment was just par for the course, part of a professional woman's work life. George Bush's comment to Geraldine Ferraro was a perfect example of the sexist weapons (some) men enjoyed using with any woman who had the temerity to think she could succeed in the larger world. If you are a man who never did this, thank you, but don't imagine that it didn't regularly happen. If you are a man who still likes to put women down just for being female, know that you may now get called out for your behavior.
MyOwnWoman (MO)
"Debates in particular have long wielded a special power to trigger male condescension." While in grad school students in the program had to participate in intellectual debates, almost in every class. I was known for being an excellent debater because I focused on the strengths and weakness of each debater's perspective and never resorted to insulting my competitors personally, after all, that is a clear admission that one doesn't have sufficient debating skills or necessary information about the strengths and weakness of competitors' perspectives and it is the surest way to lose a debate. After one class during which I'd basically made intellectual mince meat out of a male student who could not win in a debate with me, he followed closely behind me as I walked through the class room door and as soon as he was near enough to me he harshly whispered the dreaded "B" word used by many men to try to insult a woman. My immediate response was to laugh long and hard because he was too dumb to comprehend that his name calling was yet one more admission on his part that I'd easily won the debate--and that he was just a pathetic sore loser. My advice for winning debates is to ignore the petulant and pathetic behavior of weak men (and women when it applies) and when in a debate focus your critiques on the strengths and weakness of every perspective each person uses in a debate because that enables one to punch holes in the often poorly thought out arguments of competitors.
mikecody (Niagara Falls NY)
So, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was justified in refusing a debate she didn't want to participate in while Mr. Cuomo was being sexist when he did the same thing? This article may well replace the dictionary definition of double standard.
LRay (Topeka)
There are solid comments in this string, and some, clearly sexist. However, one point I'd add about Mr. Shapiro: he's not running for anything, and like Alex Jones et al, he stands on the sidelines, safely tossing spears, instead of mixing it up when he has skin(and ego)in the game.
Rachel Kreier (Port Jefferson, NY)
Peter King in 2018: "changing economic realities now often require both spouses to be working." !!!! If the man had said that in the 1960s, I'd have given him some credit! Maybe he wants to go to the grocery store and marvel at the scanner technology!
Amy Haible (Harpswell, Maine)
This is pretty simple. Shapiro's "invitation" was an attack and Ocasio-Cortez called it out for what it was. She did so with dignity and confidence. Enough said. Part of what degrades politics is on display here - namely the distinct lack of civility, the expectation of insult. Can we please grow up? I don't care if you're a man or a woman - learn to treat others as you would like to be treated. Be an example of what is right, not merely what you can get away with.
J (TX)
I get this article 100%. It is incredibly difficult as a woman to have an intelligent debate with men that does not devolve into a complete mess of insults and stereotypes. Nearly every debate I have had with a man eventually ends with me being called a pet name or a gender based slur. I am told to get back in the kitchen, to educate myself, that I am emotional, or my all time favorite "manipulative". The irony is that these insults and the condescending way they are thrown in my direction only happen when I am holding my own in the debate. It is a fall back position. My points and ideas are sound and cannot be attacked so it is easier to attack my gender instead. I don't blame her for declining the debate. You couldn't pay me to put up with this kind of behavior in public. They don't need to counter your talking points, they simply need to subtly insinuate that your points of view are all based on your flawed personhood as a woman. To them it's all the argument they need.
J.C. (Michigan)
Apparently, whatever a man does it's sexism. If he's too hard on her - sexism. If he's too soft on her - sexism. If he ignores her - sexism. If he pursues her too aggressively - sexism. I can't stand Ben Shapiro, so I'm certainly not here to defend him in any way, but enough already. He offered to debate her, she turned him down. End of story. That's why this piece stopped being about them after the fourth paragraph and proceeded where Ms. Bellafonte really wanted to go all along - down that same worn road of identity politics and male-bashing.
Sundevilpeg (Lake Bluff, IL)
@J.C. Thank you. This badly needed to be said.
MWR (NY)
In my years of unscientific observation, it seems that politicians will refuse an offer to debate whenever they are in a position of superior polling power. It’s a simple cost/benefit analysis: why risk losing support you already have?The underdog has nothing to lose. This is the dynamic more so than gender (unless gender bias is embedded in poll results). Ocasio-Cortez rejected Shapiro’s invitation to debate because he’s not running and she’s polling fine. To debate Shapiro would be illogical.
Alex (NYC)
If she wants to be taken seriously then she can't hide and not debate her political views. If anyone here talks about women being capable and not fragile etc etc, then you should be all for Cotez debating anyone whether a women or a man when she is running for political office. Anyone applauding her for using the gender card to avoid a debate if portraying not only her but women as weak and in need of protection whenever they can't debate or argue their points. This is especially true if the person doing that is running for public office.
Steve W (Ford)
Margaret Thatcher would never have an article like this written about her because she was strong in her positions and as a woman. Ocasio Cortez is so defensive about being asked to debate because she is neither strong nor secure in her positions..
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
@Steve W Wow, great point! As much as I dislike(d) Thatcher, you're exactly correct: She would have relished the opportunity to eviscerate someone like Shapiro. She used to eat men like that for breakfast, as they say.
KS (Texas)
- Medicare for all - free public college - minimum living wage - convert America to a socialist country like Sweden. - all of the above paid for by the military-industrial complex and by taxing hedge funds. That's what Ocasio-Cortez stands for. She stands for the American people, because polls show that overwhelming majorities of Americans support all of the above. Republican and Democrats alike. There is a big effort to discredit Ocasio-Cortez from the Right and from the Corporatist Democrats. They want to portray her as ditzy, stupid, girly, uninformed, etc. That's the *real* reason behind Shapiro and others crawling out of the woodwork to "debate" her. People who are suffering from poverty and stagnant wages and medical problems of loved ones - please tune out the propaganda, and realize that her policy positions will only benefit *you*. That's why the fake media and the elites want to bring her down.
Location01 (NYC)
@KS the math doesn’t add up. That was the point of the debate ben wanted. She needs to actually show where the money comes from. There’s a $10trillion shortfall economists have cited. These are good ideas but the math needs to work! It doesn’t right now and people need to grill this party until the math works!
KS (Texas)
@Location01 The math *does* add up. - medicare for all alone saves billions per year according to *Koch-sponsored* *conservative Hoover Institution* study: https://www.mercatus.org/publications/federal-fiscal-policy/costs-nation... *** And Ben just wanted to troll her, not debate her. A serious debate cannot begin with the words "Hey Girl".
Erika (Dallas)
@KS That's actually not correct. Ben Shapiro used the words "Hey girl" when mocking Ocasio-Cortez's accusation that he was "catcalling" when he invited her to a debate. His tweet read, "Hey, girl -- want to have a public one-hour discussion on the intricacies of trade policy, deficit spending, and the value of the profit motive? I'll even donate a bunch of money to charity or your campaign to make it happen." -- Construction worker in Queens, apparently"
Pono (Big Island)
Her district. New York 14th. 700,000+ residents, 300,000+ registered voters of which 200,000+ are registered as Democrats. She got less than 16,000 votes in the primary. 2% of total residents voted for her. 5% of total registered voters voted for her. 7% of registered Democrats voted for her. Wow what a mandate she has.
Lori (Honolulu)
This article hurts women. Stop portraying women as weak, fragile persons who have to be protected from everything, even opinions different than their own. Also many women offered to debate her as well. If you dont't want to debate someone a simple No Thanks would suffice without all the crying victim layered on
W in the Middle (NY State)
Several times, described AOC as affirmatively assertive – let me add aspirational... Want her to have a bright future, because I want this country to have a bright future... The conservative media (Laura – lookin’ squarely in your direction...) think they came across as so clever by taking easy shots at her... More like too clever by half... First, about that free college stuff – this just in... *ttps://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/nyregion/nyu-free-tuition-medical-school.html Second, about Medicare for all...There’s a way to move a good distance toward that...In fact, it may be so uncomfortably close, might be what prompted Joe Liebermann to show himself again long enough to dis Alexandra, as much as the Israeli issue... *ttps://nypost.com/2018/07/18/lieberman-knocks-ocasio-cortez-as-too-far-left-for-democrats/ It was the Senator from Hartford who single-handedly trashed lowering the age of Medicare eligibility as part of ObamaCare... *ttps://thinkprogress.org/lieberman-cant-decide-if-he-wants-to-raise-the-medicare-eligibility-age-or-lower-it-c20b8fe1f40c/ If AOC can distance herself a bit from the AON (all or nothing) wing – might ask Schumer about reviving this... Lower the age by 3 years (and let Medicare negotiate drug prices) and have at it... We can pass a $2T tax cut by waving our hands... My take – this would pay for itself... Later – rinse and repeat... Aspire to Medicare for all – progress to Medicare for more... That’s a progressive idea I can buy...
jaco (Nevada)
I guess I don't blame her, she would have been made to look like the socialist fool that she is.
MJ (Northern California)
This article is one big conjecture.
R. Huie (Michigan)
I've always wished that Hillary had turned around on Trump and said "Back off, you orange creep!" It certainly would have made her seem more human, less like a politi-bot. Ocasio-Cortez has absolutely no reason to debate that scoundrel. To do so would drag her down to his level.
Bluebeliever (Austin)
Read Shapiro’s danged tweet! Is the “Hey girl” a respectful way to address an opponent to ask for a discussion of serious issues? Spairo is a little old to get so down and groovy. Shows how low discourse has sunk in the Era of 45. And, he’s gonna give her a bunch of money for an hour of her time? “Catcall” is too kind a word for Shapiro’s advances. He’s always been a bully and a smart-alec, and this episode brilliantly spotlights that fact
Mario (Poughquag, NY)
@Bluebeliever– What "Hey girl" tweet are you talking about? The only one I've found is where Shapiro mocks her response by parodying her "catcalling" remark. Unless there is another one, you're completely misrepresenting Mr. Shapiro's part in this. Here's the tweet: https://twitter.com/benshapiro/status/1027941011249479682
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
@Bluebeliever So what if he did? Who is he, just some self-appointed (very minor) "pundit." She should have ignored him and his silly offer.
Jeff Guinn (Germany)
@Mario Misrepresentation is what progressives do.
ms (ca)
The only thing Ms. Ocasio-Cortez did wrong was responding to Ben Shapiro. Insignificant Internet trolls don't deserve any answer. If a response had to be made, "Oh really? Didn't noticed, must have landed in SPAM."
Cranston SnordMs (Elysian Fields, Maryland)
Refusing to debate is fine; after all baloney will always try to avoid the meat grinder, but accusing a male challenging her to debate as some type of rapist, or at least a sexist, is hiding behind her gender card. Come out, come out wherever you are
ADN (New York City)
Shapiro’s a reprehensible racist and intellectual fraud. Why should she contribute to his bank account by giving him a stage for self-promotion? There’s no reason whatsoever and thank God she told him where to get off.
1truenorth (Bronxville, NY 10708)
I love Ben Shapiro. Super smart. He would rip her head off in any kind of debate.
citybumpkin (Earth)
Yeah, that's what American elections really need: any old social media clown can "buy" a debate with a candidate for $10,000. That so many people seem to give Shapiro legitimacy by talking about his ridiculous proposal seriously shows how warped this country has become.
Aiden Riot (NY)
There are so many thin skinned male commentators on here. All of them dismissing the article because it isn’t in “their” experience. Well, thanks for enlightening us with your superior knowledge. Had this been an article on race differences you’d all be nodding along, but because it’s about gender it’s fair game for derision.
J.C. (Michigan)
@Aiden Riot I think you're seeing "thin-skinned" in all the wrong places. Look again.
Jean (Cleary)
If Shapiro is not running, then why should she debate him. Has he asked any other candidates to debate him? Shapiro just does not have what it takes to make a woman look bad. They are heads and shoulders above him. It appears to be that the women candidates all over the country are showing up these guys. Time to stop baiting women. They are not taking it anymore.
Abacus (London)
She said he was ‘cat calling’ her when he asked her to debate him. I mean come on. So this potential congresswoman thinks debating is harassment? What if it was a woman asking to debate?
Thinking (Ny)
@Abacus Thank you for making my point. I would be surprised if a woman would be saying , “hey girl... I will give you $10000 etc” Only a jerk would say what he said. Only a guy jerk. Plus, why should she debate him anyhow, she is not interested in debating a person who is that obnoxious. Maybe she has better, more positive things to do with her time. How can anyone “win” a debate with irrational opponents anyway? Why bother talking to such mean spirited people? So, if a woman who was obnoxious did the same thing, which has not happened yet and will probably never happen, then the answer would be similar: no.
Location01 (NYC)
@Thinking he offered Bernie $50k you win data logic and reason. Sadly she won’t stand a chance in a real debate if she doesn’t have practice.
Steve W (Ford)
If the lady thought she had the chops to beat Shapiro, or even make a respectable showing, she would accept the challenge. The fact is he would eat her alive as is obvious to anyone with a bit of sense. I don't recall Margaret Thatcher ever getting the vapors over being asked to debate. She relished the battle because she was secure in her position. The left relies upon calumny and obfuscation to cover how empty its positions actually are.
Aristophanes (Las Cruces, NM)
“There are few things that can spark both rage and agency among women quite like being ignored.” Why is this flagrant stereotype included in this article?
Natasha (Vancouver)
@Aristophanes Agree. Men also get rageful when ignored, very much so in my experience.
Sven Gall (Phoenix, AZ)
If you even listened to her speak, she uses the work "like" just about every other word. She was smart to decline. It would have been "like" embarrassing!
KS (Texas)
Ben Shapiro began his invitation with: "Hey Girl". It was never about a debate. It was about him trolling her. It was about him inviting her over to see what he's got, and giving her money in exchange. It was certainly, absolutely, the equivalent of a cat-call, if not worse. The sub-text is the same as President Trump's "she would do anything for money" comment about Senator Gillibrand. The faux-outrage on display in the comments here is absolutely terrifying. Times they're a changin...the trash will all be thrown out. Nothing can stop women anymore. Go Alexandria go! Reach for the stars! We're behind you.
Mario (Poughquag, NY)
@KS – Is that how he began his invitation: "Hey, girl"? Are you able to link to that tweet, or to some video clip or article? I don't believe you can, because I've been looking for such and can find only a tweet mocking her "catcalling" response with parody. If I'm misinformed, I will apologize. But I believe you're the one who's misinformed.
JasonR (Dallas)
There is absolutely *nothing* in Shapiro's request that was sexist in nature, and for Ortez to derive such a conclusion, and have the NYT support it, is nothing more than manufactured victimization that ironically smakes Cortez look weak-- for a stronger woman not use her gender as a defense for not engaging in debate, let alone refer to it as "catcalling". BTW, Shapiro has debated countless people, men and women, and Cortez is the first to cry "sexism" "Cortez owes him nothing", "Shapiro has bad intentions". This is nothing more than rhetorical cognitive dissonance to provide cover for the fact that everybody knows, including the NYT and its readers, that Harvard law educated Shapiro would utterly crush Cortez that has demonstrated feeble understandings of economy and foreign policy. There are no "bad intentions" in debate except for beating your opponent, and while "cortez owes him nothing", neither do any of his other opponents. Empty rhetoric. If Cortez had the capacity to best him, she would engage him simply because the notoriety of beating some famous "right wing" guy would be a stunning victory and surely help her political career. But since we all know she can't, out comes the claims of "sexism" or holier than thou "she owes him nothing". So utterly transparent.
MPA (Indiana)
Uh that's the point of a debate. You make your point, while dismissing your opponents. Are we really going to play the victim game here?
Robert Barrie Reynolds (Toronto Canada)
But Octavia-Cortez refused to debate Ben. How does that connect with what follows?
Marianne (California)
Treatment of Women in politics is similar to treatment for women in workplace .... We should not be so surprised!
RealTRUTH (AR)
Women have enough voting power to control this upcoming election. Impress me with your involvement, dedication to truth and opposition to tyranny. THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE. NO EXCUSES!
Jay (NYC)
There are numerous examples in this article of actions and inactions that could easily have occurred between men, and would then not be attributed to gender (and would probably barely be noticed), but in this article are attributed wholly, strongly and solely to gender bias and gender issues. As another commenter said, to a hammer everything is a nail. Enough with these gender wars and enough with turning everything into an issue of men versus women. Most of us, including many women, are sick and tired of this wearying, old game.
Patrician (New York)
This column makes a good point, but misses the politics behind recent events completely. There’s a reason why Ben shapiro (and RNC) want to debate Ocasio-Cortez and not Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris... they can smell blood in the water. Ocasio-Cortez has looked unprepared and some of her answers to obvious questions (Nancy Pelosi) have evoked comparisons to the infamous Miss South Carolina gaffe on maps. Republicans (and RNC) have jumped to paint Ocasio-Cortez as the face of the Democrat Party and embarrass her publicly so as to demolish Democrat positions. As a progressive, I’m thrilled that Ocasio-Cortez has won her primary. But, who voted for her to be the face of the future? I didn’t. I’m sure many others didn’t. But, the media has run with her as if she’s the next Barack Obama. She’s not. Obama could debate policy with anyone anytime. I’m all for new faces and would LOVE to see change in the Democrat Party leadership, particularly in the House. I’m also thrilled at the diversity of talent our party is bringing forward relegating Trump’s GOP to the party of old white men. But, let’s cool down in the gushing adulation for Ocasio-Cortez. Style and charisma don’t excuse preparation. She’s not prepared for prime time and needs to do the homework. Glen kessler in the Washington Post did an exceptionally balanced analysis of all her recent flubs and it was disappointing. So, hold your horses before declaring her as the Next Big Thing. She needs to earn it first.
Paul g (nyc)
Many of the examples cited here cite male incumbents who were favored to win. Why does the author not mention the possibility that they were just trying to avoid risk? Perhaps they would have done the same if their challenger was a man.
Stourley Kracklite (White Plains, NY)
When is not showing up an expression of entitlement and when is it a legitimate refusal of bad intentions? When one’s ethics must be parsed out like some tedious grad school polemic it will have no currency but with one’s own fellows, as it were.
Ordell Robbie (Compton, Ca)
@Stourley Kracklite The refusal was neither legitimate and the intentions were not bad. That's confirmation bias talking.
Stourley Kracklite (White Plains, NY)
@Ordell Robbie "was neither legitimate" nor... what? It seems your point is incomplete. The refusal you say illegitmate was Ocasio-Cortez's. The intentions you say bad were Ben Shapiro's. That's not "confirmation bias," that's just missing the point. How you have gotten recommendations is beyond me. Oh, wait- I think I have it: because some do not like what I am saying and you *seem* to be contradicting me, your point is to be commended.
Katz (Tennessee)
It's an election, not a circus. Ocasio-Cortez doesn't owe Shapiro an opportunity to grandstand. I hope she focuses on her campaign and learning about policy so she will be more effective if elected to Congress. Debating Shapiro isn't going to help us address climate change, immigration and other critical issues Republicans are ignoring or stop them from doing actual harm to the nation's environmental controls, trade agreements and health care delivery system.
psy (mon)
@Katz I don't know. Likening a debate invitation to "catcalling" looks a lot like throwing peanuts to me.
William Stuber (Ronkonkoma NY)
Due to the fact that I am a supporter of this candidate, it will likely be hard for the NYTs to understand what I am writing here. However, the author here is apparently of the "if I have a hammer, everything is a nail" philosophy who finds misogyny in everything that occurs in public life. I wholeheartedly agree that she has no obligation to accept this offer to debate, but not because the antagonist is male. Would it make any difference in this scenario if it was a female conservative making this offer? Would the NYTs then proclaim that me Ocasio-Cortez has to debate?
neal (westmont)
Funny how this biased article does not mention that Candace Owens - a female- also offered to give $100K to charity to debate Ocasio-Cortez. She was also turned down. No doubt Ms. Bellafante was aware of that, so I'd like to know why it was not mentioned. Folks want to debate her because she is uninformed and ignorant, thus they want to expose her.
Michael Cain (Philadelphia)
An African-American female, at that.
ForgetPolitics (Georgia )
She is uninformed and ignorant so she's fully qualified to be the next POTUS.
CS (NYC)
@neal I am not familiar with Ms. Owens. What is her claim to fame and how does she have $100K (her own money??) to offer as an incentive to debate? Any offer of money is saying someone can be bought, for a price. Rather cynical isn't it? Second, you should direct your ire and be very worried about another NY'er who IS "uninformed and ignorant." That person now sits at 1600 PA Ave.. Ms. AOC may be young and have a lot to learn, but in a government for and by the people, she will bring a new perspective to governance which is inclusive, responsive and challenge the status quo. I hope she wins. I think she will.
Luciano (Jones)
A person who happens to be a man challenges a politician who happens to be a woman to a debate and the The Left somehow turns that into some kind of chauvinistic act and the NYT writes a piece about how debates are used by men to condescend to women? Am I totally out of step with my own country or does anyone else find this completely nuts?
Stourley Kracklite (White Plains, NY)
@Luciano I’m a lefty and find it he article’s reasoning nuts. But if Ocasio-Cortez wants to turn down the challenge, I’m with her. However, my experience is that discussion of the issues with conservatives is a complete waste of time. (For example, it does not matter if you “believe” in anthropogenic climate change or not- it’s established science, and rooting about in the dumpster of the interwebs for contrary points doesn’t make the science go away. it just means you’re as stubborn as you are scientifically illiterate.) But the author of this Times article is trucking in rationalization that makes nincompoopery look like a branch of philosophy.
tom harrison (seattle)
@Luciano - its completely nuts :)
lark Newcastle (Stinson Beach CA)
Please don't make a gender stereotyping joke re women hating to be ignored in the middle of a piece on women and gender stereotypes. What were you thinking?
WalterZ (Ames, IA)
The backlash against Ms Cortez has been especially vicious on social media. The right appears to be following an agreed upon set of talking points to discredit her. Witness this ugly attack on Fox: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/14/ocasio-cortez-claims-have-fac...
Sean (Ft Lee. N.J.)
@WalterZ Establishment CBS News article comparing Cortez Ocasio with Sarah Palin.
Ed (Virginia)
This article is ridiculous, everything isn’t gender bias. The author is basically suggesting that people that throw themselves into the political arena should be immune from even being asked to debate because they’re women.
Ginia Bellafante (New York)
No. This piece is about men refusing to debate women.
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
@Ginia Bellafante Except that you ignore the simple fact that many incumbents treat male rivals for office the same way — male and female, e.g., AL's governor, Kay Ivey, who refused to debate her primary opponents. Anyone who knows Cuomo knows he would have done the same to any man running against him in the primary.
Ordell Robbie (Compton, Ca)
When everything is sexist, nothing is sexist. When everything is racist, nothing is racist. Keep calling people sexist and racist over trivial things and soon very few will take you seriously.
Jim (WI)
Ignore, condescend, and dismiss? This is the same playbook men use against men in debates. And don’t forget insult. Does the writer of this story feel woman should treated nicer? That would be sexist to do that right?
LR (TX)
Her victimized response played well to her base while making her seem fragile and ridiculous to everyone else.
Ryan M (Houston)
The writer and the Times could at least be intellectually honest and report that Ocasio-Cortez said he was cat-calling her. It was a ridiculous claim.
KS (Texas)
Ben Shapiro is an internet troll. I've never heard him say one original thing - just rehashed Reaganite stuff with a good whiff of Southern Strategy thrown in. She's above his league. She debating him would be like Dawkins debating the Creationist Museum guy.
Willi R (Atlanta, GA)
“There are few things that can spark both rage and agency among women quite like being ignored.” For an article that is meant to be feminist, one would think a sentence like this would not make the cut. Just another take on “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, as if women’s power only increases when they are mistreated. Or worse, women only have true power when fueled by hate and anger. Do we really believe the ambition of these women were fueled by these acts of sexism during their campaign, or are these moments a drop in the hat during a lifetime of living in a patriarchal society?
Neva A. (New York)
The New York Times editorial board just tried to deny fake news. Take a hard look at this article. It is not journalism, it is an opinion piece and should have been identified as one.
Jude Parker Smith (Chicago, IL)
American men have the thinnest skin, and Ben Shapiro is one such ninny who is also one of the most prolific whiners out there next to the Don. Maybe if he can win an election he will earn the chance to debate in public for a seat that requires you to pledge an oath to the constitution, something most of these knuckleheads can’t keep anyway.
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
@Jude Parker Smith I am a big supporter and even a fan of Ocasio-Cortez, but unfortunately her response paints her as the thin-skinned one here.
James (Atlanta)
The goal of every debater is to diminish your opponent, be it a man or a women. That's how you win the debate, which is after all the reason you are debating. Why does the NY Times publish this whining tripe, it clearly hurts women candidates as it portraits them as incapable of standing up for themselves.
Aaron (Orange County, CA)
Ok NYT we get it! There is NO voice other than the liberal progressive voice and everyone else is a racist! My goodness - with smug attitudes like that I am going to support the GOP for spite only.
Abacus (London)
Yep Trump will win again. These guys have learnt nothing. Zero. Zilch.
Natasha (Vancouver)
@Aaron Spite is a pretty sad reason to risk having your country go down the toilet.
jaco (Nevada)
What a pathetic attempt to cover for Ms. Cortez's cowardice.
tanstaafl (Houston)
Let's see: It's sexist when a man asks a woman to debate. It's sexist when a man does not show up to debate a woman. It's sexist when a man uses tough debating tactics against a woman, because....well, I don't know. Obama should not have "derided" Clinton because she is a woman! This article is exhibit one demonstrating the popularity of Jordan Peterson.
KS (Texas)
@tanstaafl Jordan Peterson - the prophet who tells you to clean your room? The leader of the incel movement? That Jordan Peterson?
Candlewick (Ubiquitous Drive)
Ben Shapiro ✔ @benshapiro "Hey, girl -- want to have a public one-hour discussion on the intricacies of trade policy, deficit spending, and the value of the profit motive? I'll even donate a bunch of money to charity or your campaign to make it happen." -- Construction worker in Queens, apparently 8:33 AM - Aug 10, 2018 That Tweet says everything to be said about the seriousness of Ben Shapiro's desire for an honest debate. What adult-male candidate would he ever refer to as "Hey- boy...?"
Abacus (London)
That is your substantial response. That he said hey girl??
GMooG (LA)
@Candlewick No, no, no. The tweet quoted above was Shapiro's sarcastic response to O-C after she declined his offer, which she liked to "being catcalled."
Candlewick (Ubiquitous Drive)
@Abacus: You are apparently ignorant of the condescending historic usage of the word "girl" to describe women of color in America; I forgive you for not being aware. I guarantee, Mr. Shapiro wasn't ignorant of his usage.As a woman of color- I understand quite well what he was doing.
Enough (New England)
Put up or shut up is not condescending or dismissive. It's an old saying that really means, compete or go home. Do you want special considerations? Then fight in the pit and earn them.
Dutch Merchant (California)
US politics is brutal and a blood sport and it does not stop when a female and a male enters the debate stage. HRC tried to play the female card to win and Obama was in his right to condescend to her by saying you are likable enough. She had plenty of condescending stuff to say about BHO & DJT. This is, sadly, no holds barred modern politics. Mean, nasty, underhanded and full of half truths? Yes to all. Sexist? No way! Can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen. Competent women can hold their own in debates, Ms. Cortez is likely not in that category however.
PM (Pittsburgh)
Please give me an example of Hillary ‘playing the female card.’ (BTW- addressing female constituents’ concerns does not count).
Jim Seeman (Seattle, WA)
@PM In her debate with Rick Lazio during her run for Senate
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
@Dutch Merchant No!! The point is that seasoned politicians like Mrs. Clinton would never have responded the way Ocasio-Cortez did, because Clinton knows that, to be a woman in politics, you have to present an extra-tough persona.
Daniel B (Granger, In)
Well done. Just like the evolution vs creationism “debate”, climate change”debate”, black lives matter “debate”, collusion “debate”. Agreeing to participate perpetuates false equivalence. It’s a trap and the right knows it. Truth is true and lies are false. No debate.
Independent (Fl)
Is there really no limits to what the biased press will do to protect their weak liberal candidates? Cortez has shown a remarkable lack of knowledge on many crucial issues and approaches everything with the naivety of a child. She would be destroyed in any debate. It’s no wonder her apponents want this displayed in public.
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
Misogyny was never far from male's attacks when competing for a post (job) with women, our habitual machismo. But aggravated tremendously by our sexual predator in-chief, Donald J, Trump. If women's abuse is tolerated, even encouraged, at the top, what an awful example to follow by his minions.
GG (New York)
Wow, $10,000 for an hour of her time. Does he think she's a call girl? Would he have made that offer to a man? Does he think this is the only way he can get a woman to talk to him? -- thegamesmenplay.com
Sean (Ft Lee. N.J.)
So Millennial female political candidates needing safe spaces?
htg (Midwest)
This is an opinion piece, not a news article. It's anecdotal, it's opinionated, it has limited data. The author resorts to phrases like "There are few things that can spark both rage and agency in a women quite like being ignored." This belongs in the editorials, not on the front page of the news.
Sean (Ft Lee. N.J.)
"Can't stand the heat? stay out of the kitchen."
George (New York)
I have news for you, if you watch men debate, they do the same thing. You want equal rights but then get bent out of shape when men treat woman as equals. Liberals need to make up their minds already and stop contradicting themselves on every issue. You don’t believe in gender binaries but conveniently separate men from woman when things don’t go in your favor, smh.
J (Switzerland)
Maybe the author should explain the meaning of Al Gore invading George Bush's space. It's getting old to frame everything as a battle between men and women with men the bad guys.
Peter Wolf (New York City)
You read it first here: I am challenging Ben Shapiro to a debate! I am offering an hour of my time and a chance to make "America a more civil and interesting place," at least I hope so. I can't offer 10Gs, but would 25 bucks do? But my real choice to debate is the Donald himself, and I will raise my donation to 50 smackers. I don't know if that will make America a more civilized place (it is Trump), but I'm pretty sure it will become a more interesting place. I'll even wear a Trump suit if he insists. Too scared to take up the challenge, guys?
DZ (Banned from NYT)
The majority of this article chronicles how politicians have dismissed female opponents by refusing to debate them. Now you have a politically active man (with more subscribers than AOC has voters in her district) desiring a debate with a congressional candidate, offering to make it worth her while, and the tone of the article draws the same conclusion. You don't even know what your own position is. What happened to this paper, to this readership? For a party that shouts about democracy every day, they seem happy with folks being informed on a need-to-know basis. Terrible.
HC45701 (Virginia)
This piece belongs in the editorial section. I've long been a fan of the NYT, but when I read stories like this, that strain to find bias when there are perfectly plausible alternate explanations, I lose faith in the Times’ credibility. Politicians are always cagey about whether and when they will debate their opponents, especially incumbents. It’s always easier for newcomers, like Ocasio-Cortez, Nixon or Teachout to attack than for the incumbent to defend. Cuomo’s keeping Teachout at bay worked in 2014, why would he change tactics against Nixon now? Furthermore, the reason Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t want to debate Shapiro, other than fear, is simply that she has little to gain. That's likely the reason the male politicians cited in the piece didn't want to debate their challengers. And yes, gender does have something to do with it, because every action of the man will be scrutinized according to a feminist agenda; did he patronize her, did he dismiss her, did he talk over her, was he aggressive with his body language, etc. How many times did we have to hear that the criticism of Hillary Clinton’s speaking style was sexist? It’s legitimate for male politicians to believe that they will be graded as much on style as substance when debating women. Extreme feminists have only themselves to blame for the situation they have wrought; they can’t complain now that men won’t engage with them when they’ve taken away every incentive for them to do so.
J (Canada)
So men are a) not supposed to ask women to debate and b) if they do debate them, not to say or do anything that might hurt their feelings. Articles like this are just fuel for contempt.
dave (san diego)
Wow - always interesting when the NYT advocates against honest dialog / debate on this issues. Also like the strategy of taking one person's error in judgement that was apologized for and making it seem like a valid reason for disavowing other 99.9% of his speech/ actions.
zeno (citium)
here’s hoping the men do all three: ignore, condescend, dismiss. i welcome the results such strategies will bring. as my wife has told me any number of times: it takes a man to create a mess and a woman to clean one up....
John Jorde (Seattle, WA)
This is national media level partisanship at its zenith. Both sides pounce on the slightest misplaced figure, word, or even non comment by a politician. It seems like anyone interested in elected office has to put up with a continuous onslaught of "gotcha!" and trolling. It's like groups and people like Shapiro or Warren are saying "We don't like you. We're never going to like you. Just want you to know that." Politicians working to shape public policy is a study in minutiae and subtle decisions that have to be vetted and thought upon before decisions are made and votes cast. Partisanship is a force but its often the details of bills and policy where partisanship is a small factor in decision making. Give politicians space. Use direct channels of communication to give comment to politicians like phoning their office, writing emails, going to town halls instead of the internet anger shouting match vortices. Get involved in the direct democratic process of creating policy groups, knocking on doors, gathering signatures and having debates. Try common sense reasoning, which is the philosophy Americans have been known for and many of us have internalized.
Jason (New York)
So when a man, Ben Shapiro, asks to debate a woman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, Shapiro is being sexist and condescending and she should therefore ignore the request. Yet when a woman asks a man to debate, and the man ignores her request, then man is sexist and condescending? I understand that Ocasio-Cortes is under no obligation to debate Shapiro, but to label this request as sexist is uncalled for. I can see how ignoring debate requests from women can be sexist, but I don’t see anything sexist about asking to debate a woman. If you’re making a case for sexism in the way politicians accept debates, at least be consistent.
John Conroy (Los Angeles)
The 10 large that Shapiro was throwing around as an incentive is a dead giveaway as to his bad-faith intentions. If you truly want to debate the merits of your misguided free-market beliefs you don't disrespect your opponent--woman or man.
Don R (California)
It was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who called Ms. Ocasio-Cortez "lovely," a characterization that would have been decried as sexist and dismissive had it been delivered by a man. Condescension isn't limited to males. And neither, apparently, is a double standard.
Pono (Big Island)
Have you seen the Ocasio-Cortez Firing Line interview? If so you will see the meaning of "dismiss". Per the headline of this article. When asked a question she responded "I'm not an expert on geopolitics". Let me translate that answer: "I don't know anything about what you are asking and I don't need to know because I'm cute and people like me and will vote for me anyway". She basically announces on television, for all to see and hear, that's she's a total lightweight and it just does not matter. Dismissed. What a joke.
Victor (Paris )
The outrage, I believe, didn't come from her refusal to debate Shapiro (which is perfectly reasonable as many have pointed out), but from the fact that she compared his proposal to "catcalling" (see her tweet), which in all honesty seemed quite ridiculous... this article fails to mention that.
B. (USA)
"Ignore, Condescend, Dismiss" is not just a playbook for men facing women. It's a playbook for anyone facing anyone. To politically embarrass one's opponent is as old as forever.
Sean (Ft Lee. N.J.)
@B. Absolutely. Just one example: Lloyd Bentsen dismissively ridiculing Dan Quayle "you're no Jack Kennedy".
Mario (Poughquag, NY)
@Sean – And Al Gore, four years later, pulled a similar stunt with his, "Dan… If I may call you 'Dan.'"
Pediatrician X (Columbus Ohio)
Ocasio-Cortez had no reason to debate him but viewing this all by a gender lens is unhelpful.
Dan B. (Seattle)
Shapiro thinks he would benefit from a debate. It would get his name out there, and be good content for his platforms. He offered $10,000; Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is uninterested. That's the news story. I cannot understand how that news becomes an column like this. It seems so disingenuous to me, that the author takes a bunch of anecdotes and puts them one after another to make a generalized point about how women are treated in debates. Did the female candidates in a debate say anything negative about their male competitors? Do male candidates say more negative things, on average, about other female candidates than about male ones? Such things could provide real evidence that could back up the author's point. All this nonsense about "fake news," but really what's happening is that news organizations are choosing to focus on delivering content to people who believe a certain way. Fox News, then MSNBC, then CNN.... They know they're emphasizing a particular, biased view of what's going on. Is the NYT joining that parade? I understand this is a column and not a news article, but I am finding fewer and fewer spaces where I feel I can get real, "just the facts, ma'am" news, a place where I and others can go to find writing that attempts to be unbiased and free of agenda. Or maybe I'm just being subconsciously affected by Trump's silly tweets?
heathquinn (woodstock ny)
The offer of $10,000 reveals Shapiro's intent to devalue her. It smacks of money on the nighttable. The offer is an attempt to engage her so he can exercise verbal domination over her, and, by virtue of taking place in a public arena, over her age-and-gender cohort.
John (Ireland)
This is just competitive offense taking for the purpose of political leverage. Anything he did or said would have been sexist, because feminists use accusations of sexism as a form of both aggression and special pleading. “You’re being mean to me. And that’s why I’m doing badly (it’s got nothing to do with me).” I actually had some sympathy for Ocasio-Cortez before this. She’s blundering her way around the media a bit. But that’s only to be expected. She’s a novice finding her feet, something she will doubtless do. And she seemed to have the potential to bring some new perspectives and ideas to Washington. But this? This is pathetic. And the way progressives and feminists are playing it is pathetic too.
Caroline (NYC)
"There are few things that can spark both rage and agency among women quite like being ignored." I'd say most people don't like being ignored, though I suspect when describing men's reaction, you'd us a less loaded word than "rage."
B (Chicago)
Orcasio-Cortez hides behind her gender when she equates the invitation to a debate to catcalling. The request to debate had nothing to do with her gender - it had everything to do with her increased profile as a Socialist/Democrat who defeated an entrenched political incumbent. Declining the invitation should be done on its merits - e.g. it's not in her political interests. But implying a creepy sexual motive to the invitation only diminishes her seriousness.
vicky (south carolina)
Ocasio-Cortez doesn't own Shapiro a debate. And while his $10k offer was ridiculous and grandiose, I thought it odd that she likened it to street-level catcalling. It's clear he thinks he's smarter than she is and was trying to show her up. Having said that, she's been fact-checked by major media and found to be in error in some of what she says. She needs to tighten that up, or she'll lose credibility and momentum.
David (MD)
The author of this piece left out a key part of Ocasio-Cortez's statement in which she compared Shapiro's challenge to "cat-calling." I think it fairly obvious that she need not depose Shapiro who, notwithstanding a certain following, is not a candidate for anything. I certainly wouldn't debate him if it were me. But, Shapiro's challenge is not remotely like cat-calling and it's costing her support outside of the very left lane. Notwithstanding her notoriety, she's not very well known and this isn't a good way for her to introduce herself to the larger American public.
Bluebeliever (Austin)
@David: Read the tweet!
tom (midwest)
Alas, in my deeply red state, the numerous conservative women never got the message and apparently don't see anything wrong with being ignored, condescended and dismissed. From young and old alike, the excuse is they are just boys being boys. Feminist ideas are to be abhorred. When I or my wife have asked any of them about whether they think there should be equality between the sexes, there is a blank look that defies description.
Joanna Stelling (NJ)
Great article. "When women in politics are not facing the tediousness of having men explain things to them..." Boy is that true, but it sure isn't just women in politics who have to endure this hot air. Wives, women who have men for bosses, I would say that every woman has had to "be quiet and listen" hundreds, if not thousands of times in their lives. Men co-opt the conversation and then monologue on and on, while we just sit there politely and listen, because, hey, we want them to feel that they are just so fascinating.
Eric J. (Michigan)
Rather than engaging in the moralistic debate this article encourages us to partake in, I think a more practical observation would be to view this as pure spectacle designed to reinforce partisan lines based on wholly nonthreatening topics to the corporate politico-media complex. And on the topic of labeling Cortez a "socialist," in which she is being predictably being demonized by the Right, she is also wholeheartedly engaging in the culture war as well, to which her stance here will once again bait her newfound haters on the other side.
Joanna Stelling (NJ)
@Eric J. Interesting. I thought she was opening up the debate to the more general, cross-political problem of men constantly thinking they are smarter than women are. I don't think that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez cares much about the haters on the other side. Whatever she says or does, they'll latch onto it as something they can seethe about and fuel their own myopic visions of Democrats, Socialists, minorities and women all being fire breathing demons. It's so boring and so predictable. She and other women candidates can stand on their own without worrying over whether or not they will ruffle the feathers of their opponents - because they are trying to talk about the issues rather than worry about stepping on toes.
Eric J. (Michigan)
@Joanna Stelling well the idea that Cortez’s platform is “socialist” when in reality she’s advocating for wholly moderate policy reforms, should be evidence in itself that she’s being used for divisory purposes. And secondly that the realm of political debate must also incorporate a clear cut political divide that is combative on social issues, in this case gender, is straight out of the polarization textbook. I’m sorry that you’re genuinely caught up in this political theater who’s entire intention is for you to believe this rather shallow and narrow minded debate should actually hold as much attention as say, also wanting Republicans to embrace socialist ideas, rather than just “caring less” about them.
Len (New York City)
She doesn’t owe a debate to anyone, agreed. Regarding debate tactics in general though, condescension employed for political gain is fraught but fair play no matter your gender. And like other tactics Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires. In any case any woman worthy of elected office can deal with it just fine without anyone’s help
Zack N (USA)
She is under no obligation to debate Ben Shapiro, but it certainly is a misstep to decline. She had the opportunity to reach an audience that she would normally not reach. If democrats want to win in the coming months, we best start bringing the message to the largest group of people possible.
Bluebeliever (Austin)
@Zack N: Shapiro is a bully and smart-alec! Why should she waste her time? He just wants to try to embarrass her—and then point out that she thinks she’s worth $10k an hour. Bug off, Ben, or run for an office yourself.
Katie Taylor (Portland, OR)
There are a lot of people here saying she made herself look bad by turning down the invitation, but how many conversative candidates would accept an invite to debate Sacha Baron Cohen? Or Samantha Bee, or John Oliver. Like them, Shapiro isn't a political figure, he's an entertainer. An invitation to debate him is an invitation to be entertainment for your political foes, not a chance for serious discussion between opposing ideologies. An established politician with a quick sense of humor could pull it off. They'd be going into it with everyone already knowing a lot about who they are, what they've done and what they think. But a newbie? Forget it. Totally unreasonable. This would be many people's first impression of her. She was right to reject it.
Zack N (USA)
@Katie Taylor That's the problem, though. She's supposed to be able to perform at the level of anyone else. True equality is treating women candidates like any other male candidates. She had the opportunity to reach an audience who normally would not hear her message. If she is as competent as I believe her to be, she would have no problem effectively delivering that message to young conservatives who follow Ben Shapiro.
Joanna Stelling (NJ)
@Katie Taylor I agree. I think it makes her look strong, purposeful and not willing to be baited by some loud mouth. I actually think that after Trump mocked Hillary about her bathroom habits and complained about Meghan Kelly "bleeding from her eyes" that Hillary should have refused to debate him anymore. It would have made her look great.
Crusader Rabbit (Tucson, AZ)
@Katie Taylor Absolutely correct. She would be subject to a number of "Gotcha" questions and generally be skewered by someone with far more media experience. She was right to reject the invitation, but her comment about "catcalling" wasn't very smart and is very revealing about her personal experience as a very attractive Hispanic woman.
SJG (NY, NY)
Really? Does the gender lens apply here? Shapiro debates public figures all the time. And Ocasio-Cortez (seemingly willingly) has become the face of a brand of politics that is clearly at odds with Shapiro's. One of the few things in this piece I agree with is the point that Ocasio-Cortez is under no obligation to debate Shapiro. Moreover, it would be an event where she would have little to gain. In her position, most people would decline as well (although this could be done more honestly without dragging gender into it). Still, by allowing this narrative to be framed by gender, the article misses out on an important idea. Ocasio-Cortez and the "Social Democrat" model should both be tested in public debate. Despite her rise to fame, most Americans have not been exposed to honest challenges to her politics and their implications.
J K Griffin (Colico, Italy)
@SJG Most Americans have not been exposed to her politics and their implications either. Until you have lived in a country where what is now described as "democratic socialism", or have read and understood how these policies enhance the well being of the majority, rather than just reading opinionated articles and taking it in hook line and sinker, your opinion is not very valuable. Unfortunately, many electors vote based on their prejudiced emotions, rather than understanding the implications of what they are voting for.
Katz (Tennessee)
@SJG As the only woman (most of the time) who has posted on a politics and religion board of my alma mater, a school with a good reputation affiliated with the Baptist Church, I'd say this article is too kind when defining the "playbook" for men facing women in any political debate. Dismiss, condescend and ignore is way at the more gentlemanly end of the responses. Sexist comments, namecalling (worse than Trump's calling Omarosa a "dog" but meant to achieve the same purpose; 'evil,' 'witch' and 'hag' are on the very mild end of the spectrum of abusive terms heaped at anyone who challenges the Fox News talking point of the day, which is always easy to discern), crude sexual inuendo, fat-shaming (when they have no idea what I look like or how old I am), suggestions that I deserve to be the target of sexual violence or just punched in the face--you get the clear picture. The worst offenders are, inevitably, fans of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Don Imus (to whom Trump bragged about what a great body his daughter had) and very conservative Christians who are uncomfortable having an intellectual discussion with a woman. (Often, these same men are puzzled as to why their marriages have failed.) As the old Virginia Slims ads from my childhood claimed, women have come a long way, baby. But we still have a long way to go before men, especially men who are anonymously posting online, think they have any responsibility to be civil and respectful to a woman in a political debate.
Meagan (San Diego)
@J K Griffin Thank you.
Iris Burke (Gainesville, Florida)
I would appreciate if readers would name any instances in which a candidate for political office scheduled a debate with someone who was not an opponent for that same office. I am not talking about interviews on news shows, in which news commentators frequently take the role of opponent or devil's advocate. I am asking about actual advertised scheduled debates. I am in my 70's and have been following politics for a long time, and am unaware of previous situations in which a candidate was expected to debate a non-candidate, or was criticized for refusing to schedule such a debate. Have I missed something?
Sean (Ft Lee. N.J.)
@Iris Burke Presidential Candidate John F. Kennedy faced off against hostle unelected Protestant poobahs.
matt (california)
I think ross Perot debated al gore over NAFTA at one point
Gretchen ( Maine)
A lot of out of state comments in this thread, so I thought I'd add one more. Shapiro opened his "invitation" with the phrase, "Hey, Girl!" If that isn't catcalling, I don't know what is. She's absolutely right to refuse such a dismissal.
Alice (Wong)
@Gretchen he didn't. Source please. There was a satiricial tweet after she pulled the gender card to illustrate how ridiculous it was.
Shark (NYC)
The problem with this article, and the myriad such that you have posted lately concerning this newcomer, is that by posting such, you make her look like a damsel in distress, being assailed by those mean ol’ me, in need of rescuing by the media. You continue to defend her, attack her critics and use the race card as last resort. This just makes her look even weaker. If you listen closely, this is the person you are defending: Campaign stump in Kansas: ‘“We’re gonna flip this seat red in November.” You then went on to explain that by red she did not mean GOP, she meant socialists, which did not make this better at all. PBS interview: “When this country started … we did not operate on a capitalist economy.” “I am not the expert on geopolitics” “the [Israeli] occupation of Palestine” “Former President Barack Obama announced his endorsement of dozens of candidates … He did not, however, give the nod to Democratic insurgent Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” And then there is the CNN interview. Sorry, but instead of white knighting for her, let her win or fail on her own. Otherwise you perpetuate the current narrative that young people like her believe she wins by showing up, and needs mommy or the NYT to stand up for her. Let her grow and win over the country. Or let her fail and get a new leftist hero. Shilling for her just makes her look weak, incompetent and in need of rescue.
Ryan (San Diego)
@Shark It's unclear to me what's wrong with any of the above statements? The American economy circa 1787 was proto-capitalist at best, Israel IS occupying the West Bank, and AOC is a socialist, so advocating for the color red seems perfectly normal.
Hal C (San Diego)
@Shark "White knighting," "shilling," "wins by showing up." Got any more redpill keywords you want to throw in? Because you certainly haven't brought any facts to contradict the claims presented in the piece.
Al (MA)
Women are often discrimanated against, but this article is nonsense. To point to situations in which politicians competing for office with each other say mean things about the other as sexist, is ridiculous. I could write the same article hundreds of pages long with quotes from all sexes about all sexes. This is grasping at strwas.
Jack (CNY)
But you didn't write it- a REAL journalist did. Jealous?
Asher B (brooklyn NY)
Right. Keep whining and complaining about how you are treated unfairly and callously and then explain at great length all about your struggles as a sensitive human being and whine some more about your right to be heard. I do not believe this is how to be taken seriously.
Charlie L. (USA)
What about the cat-calling response she gave Shapiro? The article leaves that out completely. It was a ludicrous thing to say. Cleaning up behind this young woman is going to keep a lot of editors busy.
zeno (citium)
...the cat-call response? perfectly measured and well-placed. get over thinking you’re owed a response when you demean someone bubba....
PM (Pittsburgh)
‘Young woman’, huh?
Jack (CNY)
Being (supposedly) male you wouldn't understand Charlie- don't worry the women will clean up after you.
franksheed (Bethesda, MD)
Simple question: would this Ben Shapiro guy have offered to debate the candidate for this congressional seat if it was a man? Has he made a similar offer to any other (male) congressional candidates? This was obviously a publicity stunt that could have come out of a frat house, and that reeks of condescension. Kudos to her for calling him out on it.
neal (westmont)
@franksheed What other male Socialists are running for Congress who go out on the campaign trail in Kansas? (!)
Matthew (California)
Ocasio-Cortez-Cortez is a bad candidate. Her performances on the talk show circuit have been fairly disastrous. She has shown that she has a poor knowledge of economics (her major), is slow to think on her feet, and brings no real experience to the position she is seeking. The only reason Ben Shapiro was even able to make headlines on this is because she opened herself up to conservative criticism given her poor public performances (I’m sure he loves the attention from this article, by the way). Don’t defend her. Let her defend herself. Tell her to read up on the subjects she is running on. And if she can’t do it, then we need to find a better candidate for the job, whether that person is a man or a woman. Gender does not make up for incompetence.
Shauna M (Canada)
she’s a brilliant and articulate individual.
Location01 (NYC)
@Shauna M Are we watching the same interviews? She’s not ready for this.
skeptic (New York)
@Shauna M And you know this based upon what? Or am I a sexist for asking that as well.
David M (Englewood, NJ)
The Left largely only talks to other Leftists. She is afraid of people who will make her truly defend her far left views. The media will never challenge her views and platform bc they agree with her and are mostly Leftists themselves. One example is the White House Press corps ,of whom 90% + are Democrats. The American people se thru this nonsense which is why the press is so disliked. I never knew Walter Cronkite' politics. Nor Johnny Carson's.Yet they were successful for many decades bc their person politics were never allowed to taint their work. Nowadays you cannot distinguish between a pundit and a reporter. Ms Ocasio-Cortez is not a rising star but an evangelist of a super failed ideology. If she cannot go on an opposing radio show and defend her views then she is truly the lightweight I strongly suspect she is.
Eric (Salt Lake City)
While the professional class (aka “elite”) has remained largely centrist, one party had moved far to the right. Therefore, professionals such as journalists now appear to be “liberals”, although if you listen to the old mainstream broadcasters to me they sound left of today. The value system of those professionals, while not always fully realized, is integrity, fairness, and seeking deep understanding of issues.
dpaqcluck (Cerritos, CA)
All I can figure is that men are intimidated and puzzled by the new wave of exceptional women who are running for office. They may be in denial that they are as competent as they appear, or simply misogyny that convinces them that the women aren't that competent. [I am a post collegiate educated 73 year old man.] Since the Trump election the outstanding voices are those of women: Susan Collins, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a handful of others. It is particularly striking since the female candidates remain in a small minority. Men are going to have to start working harder, just like the women have had to in order to make the gains that they have. Mr. Crowley's dismissal of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is typical of the lazy mindless politicians in Washington. So confident that he would keep his job. The job being more important than fealty to the Constitution or the voters. There's going to be a glass ceiling, and men are going to be bumping their heads.
Reader In Wash, DC (Washington, DC)
Ocasio-Cortez is exceptional all right. And not in a good way.
Samuel Russell (Newark, NJ)
@dpaqcluck Men are intimidated? She's the one who refused to debate Shapiro! She could have schooled him, and taken 10,000 of his money, how sweet would that have been? But she's obviously too terrified. By all means, I would love to see progressive women debating conservative white men, instead of responding to their invitations by crying harassment.
Maria (USA)
“There are few things that can spark both rage and agency among women quite like being ignored.” No truer words have ever been spoken.
Shiloh 2012 (New York NY)
This behavior isn't confined to debates.
Joe (Concord, CA)
I don't think Ocasio-Cortez needs to apologize for declining a debate with a pundit of any sort (though describing it as "catcalling" was a rather cynical ploy). But I'm confused as to what kind of an article this is: it's not structured or labeled as an opinion piece, but it is chock-full of the author's own unapologetic interpretations and generalizations. It's not really a news article. I'm not a fan of this kind of hybrid: it comes across as trying to hijack the (remains of) authority that news items have, while reaping the advantages of the opinion writer.
woodyrd (Colorado)
We will know we have made progress when women can run as candidates with ideas and don't need to constantly refer to their gender. I don't care about the candidate's gender. Obama didn't run as a black candidate. He ran as a candidate who happened to be black. His ideas and leadership were his platform. There are some women candidates who could learn from his graceful example.
Mario (Poughquag, NY)
@woodyrd – Yours is one of the best points here. The last woman candidate for president failed to learn from Obama's example; and while that may not explain in entirety her failure to win the presidency, it's surely no coincidence.
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
@woodyrd And he made it a point to rise above-by-ignoring any perceived race baiting.
Mike (San Diego)
Every single slight portrayed here as sexist, male chauvinism or entitlement has also been deployed against male opponents. Politics is dirty. You run on identity politics, as a Woman first - you make it a party platform And THEN you say everyone should be treated equally? Men and women are more alike than Women want to believe these days.
PM (Pittsburgh)
She’s *not* running as a woman. She’s running as a working-class American.
tom harrison (seattle)
@PM - really? I thought she was running as a woman of color.
anneehall (St. Paul, MN)
Big differences between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ben Shapiro. She explains her views by careful articulation and connecting with her audience. He explains by rat-a-tat barrages of thousands of words that overwhelm listeners and aim to deepen the social rift that weakens us and makes us sick. She was right in denying him the opportunity to share her stage. The two of them walk and work in different worlds. She's running for office. He ain't. Her arms are open. His seem wrapped around an AR15. She's a cello. He's a screaming sax. She looks forward to a more humane world. I suspect he doesn't give a rip for humanity. And what was his $10,000 offer to her if not condescension?
Jim S. (Cleveland)
Has B en Shapiro considered moving into New York's 14th Congressional District and running for Congress? That way he would certainly get to debate Ocasio-Cortez , and save himself $10,000.
DZ (Banned from NYT)
As John Brennan would put it, hogwash. If you care so much for democracy & wish to seek an office within it, you must debate and defend your ideas. Spinning the challenge as sexism diminishes everything you claim to stand for. Didn’t Crowley get slammed when he refused to debate AOC? What has changed in 2 months? Shameful perspective, and a warning that those claiming to stand up and save us are only out for themselves.
Paul Baker (New Jersey)
Even a freshman journalism student should be able to see the glaring bias in this article. It is almost amateurish in its more than implicit whining that the “boys are being mean to me.” The purpose of a political debate is to do harm to your opponent, to diminish and embarrass him or her, and to place them in a bad light. Was “I knew Jack Kennedy and you are no Jack Kennedy” condescending? Of course it was - that was the point. To take basic debate techniques and tools that any moderately competent candidate should possess and recast them as another invidious form of sexism and misogyny is itself a debate tactic, just not a very sophisticated one. Ms Ocasio-Cortez should have accepted Ben Shapiro’s invitation. She is an intelligent and articulate young (note the condescending entry of young) woman who should have nothing to fear from him, or does she?
aglee (vancouver)
The way Shapiro offered $10 000 to debate Ocasio-Cortez was obscene and gross. It wasn't an offer made in good faith but one made to demean and insult, as well as to get some free publicity. How do we know this? Because she isn't running against him... there is no other point to the offer.
Nat (NYC)
Have you seen what passes for "debate" on television these days? It barely deserves the word. The fewer the better. It's all so vile.
Location01 (NYC)
There’s so many problem with this article. First let’s address that she doesn’t have to debate or discuss her ideas with a normal citizen. Politicians work for us, the people. They’re applying for a job and we are hiring them. They answer to us. They need to fully explain their policies with logic and reason, not with emotion. This woman seems to have her heart in the right place, but won’t stand a chance against a true economist challenging their funding methods. In fact she’s having a hard time on camera. She’s clearly in over her head. Ideas by any politician must be challenged rigorously. To try to paint this as a female vs male issue is absurd. Women just like men will and must defend their political ideas. If that means they need more assertiveness training so they do well then let’s make that happen. This is not a sex issue but a policy issue. When she says it’s easy we move x money to y the answer is no it’s not that simple. These policies are extremely complicated with many heavy repressions to our gdp and employment. Maybe some of her ideas can work, but without rigorous challenges to those ideas we cannot see their holes. We need to stop propping her up she’s not ready for the spotlight. It’s time we have long format debates it will educate the public and these politicians also need to be fact checked. We do so poorly here with debate and that must change.
Mark T (New York)
Men with large leads in polls have ignored male challengers repeatedly. These are just the same rules being applied to female challengers. But someone like the author, no matter what a man does, if he’s competing with a woman, will figure out a way to assert it’s sexist.
Nate (Seattle, WA)
This article should be clearly marked as opinion, and it's not. I'm just not buying it. What starts promising an interesting analysis about gender politics (Why should Ocasio-Cortez be expected to the whiny provocateur Shapiro?) devolves into an unfounded exercise in identity politics. Sure, hypothetically speaking perhaps Cuomo and King avoided debating their challengers because of their gender. But perhaps avoided their debates because they saw no political upside? And wouldn't King's lip service to paid parental leave reflect a legitimate concern about losing moderate women in the anti-Trump wave? Aren't these more plausible explanations than some sort of latent sexism? What I'd like to know from the author is, how often have female incumbents refused debates from their male challengers? Provide that information and then maybe there's something to discuss here. Without that, I see this as a tarnishing of the feminist brand that, as the author notes, has a righteous, grand resurgence this past year.
Jake (New York)
So, she gets a pass and goes to Congress without ever having to answer challenging questions in front of the public just because she is a woman of color and a progressive?
MJ (Northern California)
@Jake: Since when is a candidate expected to debate someone who is not his or her opponent in the election? I've never heard of it happening.
@Jake She debated Crowley, who she was actually competing against. If you think Ben Shapiro wanted to debate in good faith, you're mistaken - Shapiro is looking to string a word salad of alt-facts together in rapid succession, post the minute clip of him doing so on YouTube under the title "Shapiro DESTROYS Socialist Opponent", and call it a win on his dedicated propaganda news site, the Daily Wire. He has everything to gain and nothing to lose, because he's not running.
Ellie (Michigan)
@Jake Clearly no. She still has to debate. She just doesn't have to debate someone who is not running for the same office. She is still going to "answer challenging questions in front of the public." Careful there, your bigotry is showing.
James (Long Island)
When all else fails, like your policies are indefensible, play the R-card or the Woman-card
ADN (New York City)
@James. You bet! When all else fails because your policies are indefensible and because you’re a monstrous traitor, just play the “enemy of the people” and “witch hunt“ cards. How do you like them cards?
ubique (NY)
“Hey pretty lady, I’ll pay you $10,000 if you’ll talk to me for an hour.” Sounds like Ben Shapiro, alright.
Robert Roth (NYC)
If he feels he needs to debate a woman why not Laura Ingraham. They can see where they disagree and agree on putting children into cages. Summer camp vs. reeducation camp. Wanton brutality vs. targeted brutality. Changing demographics: racist nightmare vs reactionay nightmare
Location01 (NYC)
@Robert Roth is that your only criteria for voting? Wow. Please stay home
Michael (New York)
Not sure why my initial comment was rejected. The article implies that it is sexist for a man to offer to debate a woman, for a man to refuse to debate a woman, for a man to agree to one debate with a woman, and for a man to argue with a woman during a debate.
Jonathan (Oronoque)
@Michael - I've know a few married couples like that....
Hope Anderson (Los Angeles)
Did you actually read the article? It implied none of these.
Lona (Iowa)
Attempted intimidation worked for the head of the Trump Crime Family during the Presidential debates. White males and anti Hillary women loved it.
terri smith (USA)
It's ironic all these mansplainers claiming Ocasio-Cortez is politically ilinformed makinghb her unfit for office. Like Trump ever was or is?
Shark (NYC)
@terri smith Campaign stump in Kansas: ‘“We’re gonna flip this seat red in November.” PBS interview: “When this country started … we did not operate on a capitalist economy.” “I am not the expert on geopolitics” “the [Israeli] occupation of Palestine” go Google her CNN interview. Now please tell us how the above is being well informed?
abo (Paris)
@Shark And Trump is well informed? Who is better informed, Trump or Ocasio-Cortez?
Western New Yorker (Buffalo)
You have to admit that it is ironic that one of the strongest arguments liberals made against Trump 2016 was his lack of experience, especially when compared Hilary‘s experience. I guess that argument only applies if you don’t like the opponent (tribalism is so hypocritical). Let’s not forget, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s only practical and consistent real world experience is being a waitress. So either experience is necessary to do the job of Congress or the Presidency or it isn’t. Liberals can’t have it both ways... If we truly valued having measured and effective public civil servants then Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be running for a much more entry level, state or city level position. She should have to earn her way to the table and that should be the case for every man and woman running for office.
Brenda (Morris Plains)
So, a Congressman chooses a female surrogate, an important person in her own right,“... which left the impression that the girls ought to just work things out among themselves.” Um, who, precisely, came away with that impression? For those obsessed with group-think – all the male candidates can be grouped together in MN 5, because, apparently, they’re fungible – men have to be “sensitive to the optics” – but only when they’re dealing with women. Because, apparently, ala Clinton/DeFazio, when a man treats a woman as he would treat another man – kinda, sorta what “equal rights” was supposed to be about – that’s a problem. And it’s “tedious” when a man “explains things”, but no doubt enlightened and refreshing when a dynamic young woman does so. (From her performance heretofore, Ocasio-Cortez can use all the explaining – from whatever sources – she can get.) Actually, debates between men and women candidates generally trigger feminist whining. When BHO mocked Romney (“the 1980s are on the phone”), that was fine. But let a MAN have the unmitigated gall to do the same thing to a woman? OUTRAGEOUS!! (and sexist) No, the implications do not “easily become gendered”, except to those dead-set on seeing things through an identity prism. (Only women dislike being ignored? Really?) “it’s even harder when you’re a woman.” If you – who have never been men – say so.
Steven DN (TN)
Ocasio-Cortez shows good judgement declining this offer. This alone would get her my vote if I lived in her district. Shapiro is looking for nothing more than exposure for himself and an opportunity to trot out his flipbook. This is a guy who can't survive without an enemy. She's clearly the smarter of the two.
Intracoastal Irving (Hollywood, FL)
I would have figured your column would at least touch on some of the misinformed gaffes uttered by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, which may serve as tinder for those looking to debate her, but alas I expect too much from this newspaper.
JOHN (PERTH AMBOY, NJ)
Dismissing Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's drivel is neither "condescending," "dismissing," nor "sexism" -- it is a healthy reaction to drivel.
RR (New York City)
This article grossly misleads as to why so-called "conservatives" were outraged at Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's conduct. Instead of ignoring Mr. Shapiro, or stating that she did not want to debate him, she likened his request for a debate to "catcalling", which is conduct inseparable from its underlying sexism. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez took a cheap shot and did a disservice to all of feminism by likening the mere request for a debate, as attention-seeking as it may have been, to sexist conduct. This type of hackneyed radical left-wing righting is getting more and more common in the Times, and its tiring. It's an attempt to smear people like Mr. Shaprio at all costs, even when it means misstating your opponents position. Also, according to this "article", apparently men are boorish when then demand a debate and condescending when they ignore a woman's request for one. How can we win? What gives?
Hope Anderson (Los Angeles)
Did you notice that Shapiro prefaced his invitation with the words “Hey girl”? When was the last time you heard anyone say “Hey boy” to a male candidate?
Sadie (California)
This and so many other comments from men prove MeToo problem will continue to plague women. It should not irritate or upset anyone for a woman OR man to decline to debate with someone who is not in the race. The fact that Shapiro wanted to pay Ortez money cheapend his offer. When a male candidate refuses to debate a female candidate who won her party's primary, it's disrespectful condescension.
ADN (New York City)
@Hope Anderson. I heard politicians calling “hey boy“ all the years I was growing up when white politicians were addressing black men.
I Calvo (Seattle WA)
Was i the only one who heard the line “There are few things that can spark both rage and agency among women quite like being ignored.” to smack of “hell has no fury like a woman scorned” (1697)?
Frank F (Santa Monica, CA)
Ben Shapiro is an intellectually dishonest, gaslighting troll -- a smarter, stealthier Milo. He's not interest in honest debate, just a gussied-up version of "Celebrity Apprentice." Good for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez for refusing to take the bait.
Sandra (Boston, MA)
The right is fascinated by Ocasio-Cortez because she scares them. The fact is that the next generations feel that they're getting a raw deal. Socialism appeals to them and she's running as a Democratic Socialist. Republicans have no interest in shoring up the safety net for Americans, ensuring they have adequate health insurance, giving workers a voice against corporate America, or distributing taxes fairly. Younger people see this and want something different so that maybe they can at least "think" they have a shot at the American dream.
@SJCCultureNotes (NYC)
I can't believe you left off your list: "they keep getting up in my grill." The sad thing about men man-splaining and belittling is that women are not above that type of behavior, either. I was recently introduced by a woman, to a man, as someone who is "really into history." Yes, I guess I am, considering I have a PhD in the subject, and was formerly a college instructor.
Boregard (NYC)
The current debate format is anything but...dog and pony shows, and few people care to watch them. Ms. Cortez doesnt owe a debate to anyone but those she might run against. And due to the frequency with which so many, esp. Incumbents blow them off...the word owe is used very loosely. Good job, Ms Cortez. You got this... FYI, anyone running againt Pete King gets my vote. He's lost all credibility with me since he started fawning over Trump, and now his silence on the deplorable POTUS behaviors. One of 2 Repubs, I still voted for - but no more. His hypocrisy is too fetid.
RLS (California/Mexico/Paris)
Young and energetic, O-C is wise to avoid Shapiro and anyone else willing to challenge her one on one. It's not that she'd be a victim of condescension, but as has been demonstrated, she's still doesn't have a very sophisticated understanding of her own beliefs, and in the case of Israel, isn't even sure what her beliefs should be. She's a rookie, and understandably needs to be eased into the bigs to not come off weak and naive.
math science woman (washington)
As a woman that works in science, I can see that the title needs to be expanded, because ignore, condescend, and dismiss, are just a start. To be accurate, the way men treat women that by their existence challenge the males-as-superior order of the world are also routinely targeted for: - ridicule - humiliation - gas-lighting - exclusion - "special" rules (that are made suddenly, and typically in secret, once a woman is in charge with a task) I'm sure the women in the US Congress put up with unacceptable male behavior all the time, even though the articles subtle suggestion it that it's only female candidates that face this demeaning behavior. Men, as a group, aren't going to adjust to women in power simply because it's the right thing to do. Enlightened men will, and self-reflecting men will, but those are not the majority of men in our country, so women face those men's bad behavior every day, still, almost 50 years after women started speaking out about the injustice. Is the male-only-club of power more comfortable for men, of course it is, at least for the men who still believe that they a God-given-right to control women.
areader (us)
So people electing a political leader should know there's an asterisk saying this leader is a woman? Isn't it a VERY strange idea?
thomas (ma)
Is not this what debates are for? To diminish one's opponent? If you can't play with the big dogs, stay on the porch. Politics is a downright dirty, hard and mean business. Toughness and hard exterior is a prerequisite.
PM (Pittsburgh)
He’s NOT her opponent!
AG (Canada)
@PM Ideologically, he is. Ideological debates don't just happen between politicians, the most interesting happen elsewhere, like books and magazines, and today, on youtube.
SteveRR (CA)
Asked on Aug. 9 by CNN’s Chris Cuomo if she recognized Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the leader of the Democrats: “I think absolutely right now … she is, she is the leader of, of … no, no, she, I mean, um, um, speaker or rather leader Pelosi hopefully, y’know, we’ll see … she’s uh … she’s the current leader of the party and I think that the party absolutely does have its leadership in the House and Senate, we have our leadership in the Senate as well,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said. Yeah - I think skipping the whole debate thingy might be a good idea.
abo (Paris)
@SteveRR " I think skipping the whole debate thingy might be a good idea." Would you say the same thing for Donald Trump?
Jason McDonald (Fremont, CA)
Gosh, just go listen to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez even in the various softball interviews that she has taken. She's practically ready to move us all to Venezuela with "free healthcare for all!" and "free tuition for all!" Good luck with that. Of course she needs to be "protected" from "abusive men" who dare to ask her for a debate. She's all sizzle and no steak, sadly.
Kodali (VA)
I will debate Ben Shapiro for 10K, anytime and anyplace.
Michael (New York)
You're a female, and a male offers to debate you. Sexism. You're a female, and a male refuses to debate you. Sexism. You're a female, and a male agrees to a debate with you. Sexism. You're a female, and a male argues with you during a debate. Sexism.
Andrew Law (Victoria, BC, Canada)
It's rare that I see such an egregious example of sexism published by the NY Times. "When women in politics are not facing the tediousness of having men explain things to them, they are often up against the indignities of their apathy" Really? All men are THIS and all women are THAT?
michjas (phoenix)
Ding ding ding. This is the one millionth newspaper article written by a female reporter on the subject of how females are victimized by males. I was once an instructor on criminal law at a local college. After the first class a student approached me and told me she had been raped. Her story came out of nowhere, I knew nothing about her, and I was a prosecutor with non-existent counseling skills. I had no idea what to say and awkwardly terminated the discussion. Afterwards, I found an internet article that seemed on point. I suggested that she read it and her response, a day later, was to charge me with sexual abuse. On re-reading the article I had referenced I found several ambiguous statements, but nothing I considered abusive. In the end, the college promised to keep the whole thing confidential if I resigned. As a criminal lawyer, I know that my actions did not constitute sexual abuse. But I was caught between a rock and a hard place, so I resigned. Aren't there any male reporters out there who can address the subject of how females victimize males?
Kim Murphy (Upper Arlington, OH)
If Ben Shapiro wants to debate women running for powerful positions he should run against them. Otherwise it’s just male vanity and he should stay on Twitter.
DZ (Banned from NYT)
@Kim Murphy We’ll remember that next time you have a problem with Trump.
TJ (New Orleans)
Shapiro is a self-important bully. We all know he would never challenge a male candidate to debate him. And the hubris of some two-bit pundit challenging an actual congressional candidate is gobsmacking, but he only gets away with it because he's a white man and she's a Latina woman.
skeptic (New York)
@TJ And we all know that how? Are there any other ignorant young socialist who have won a primary and are the new face of the Democratic Party that you can point to to show us what we all know. But, hey, since he is a white man, you are obviously correct.
Anonymous (Midwest)
I spent half my life shrinking from catcalls. Catcalls diminish you. They objectify you. They make you feel less-than. An invitation to debate is not a catcall. Rather, it is an opportunity to shine, not shrink; to command, not cower. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez should stop making excuses and, worse, stop likening her situation to sexual harassment.
Leonard Ray (Baton Rouge)
Ben Shapiro doesn't even live anywhere near NY State, much less in AOC's district. He's not her opponent. She was willing to debate her actual opponent in the primary. I'm not sure why this anecdote is even in your article.
Mon Ray (Cambridge)
@Leonard Ray FYI, Ms. O-C was recently in Hawaii supporting a socialist candidate there (and in other states). Last time I looked Hawaii is not "anywhere near NY State, much less in AOC's district," so why is she spending time so far from home? Because party leaders have anointed her the new hope of the Democrats, and she is trying to help other socialists get elected.
Cal smores (oregon)
She didn't debate Shaprio because she knows that she cannot win an intellectual argument against him. All this bluster about women's right not to be catcalled is a lazy excuse.
db carter (Columbus MS)
@Cal smores If Mr. Shapiro was genuinely interested in debating a Democratic candidate in a civil manner then why didn't he pick someone from his own district? He lives in Los Angeles. No, he picked Ms. Ocasio-Cortez because she was low-hanging fruit for him to get the national attention he craves. He know his supporters are outraged by and afraid of what she represents. And her spot-on comments about his "bad intentions" enraged them even further. No, she was right to refuse his spurious offer, it was a no-win situation. If Ben Shapiro wants to have a civil discourse with liberal candidates, then he should start in his own district and he should run for office. There's someone lazy here, but it's not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Marie (Boston)
If he is that good why doesn't he run for office then?
tom harrison (seattle)
@db carter - He picked her because the liberal media keeps claiming she is the new face of the Democrats.
Mor (California)
As a professional woman in male-dominated environments, I often had to struggle to be taken seriously. So I do understand the problem women politicians have. But Ms. Cortez is a very bad example. I heard her talk. She has no idea what socialism is; she is ignorant of the basics of economics, history and political action; she is the worst person to be the “face” of the Democrats. Ignorance and demagoguery in a woman is no more attractive than in a man.
Cranston snordDo (Elysian Fields, Maryland)
Mor: as it is said, " Go girl". You nailed it
David Anton (New York)
So let me understand this: a legitimate political commentator, who happens to be an Orthodox Jew, invites her to debate him and offers $10,000 for the privilege and she accuses him of “catcalling” and “bad intentions”? His bad intentions must be letting her speak because ever time she opens her mouth her utter ignorance of facts and history on any subject are evident.
Achilles (Edgewater, NJ)
Bellafante makes disparaging comments about Ben Shapiro (because, New York Times) and offers a few other rambling thoughts on how men and women should deal with each other in political debate. She does not, however, deal with the core issue that Ocasio-Cortez disparaged Shapiro as a sexist (without any evidence) in the process of blowing off his debate request. Note that Shapiro offered to debate her because Ocasio-Cortez said Republicans were afraid of her because of her ideas. It seems that Ocasio-Cortez does not have the courage to go past Morning Joe, Trevor Noah or other sycophantic outlets to defend her radicalism. It seems she is the one who is afraid, and Bellafante supports her fear. I guess 21st Century feminism means never having to defend your philosophy while disparaging your opponents on Twitter, and not face to face. To use a Presidential term: "Sad!".
DSS (Ottawa)
Ignore, Condescend, Dismiss: not this time.
LynK (Pennsylvania)
Very good article, and the critical, overheated comments prove yet again that sexism is real. Thank you, Ms. Bellefante, for your wisdom and clarity. Keep on speaking truth to power, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez! Call out cat-calling in all its many forms. Rooting for your success.
Dom (Lunatopia)
I think sometimes people tend to take things a bit too personally or attribute something to sexism when it is simply one person trying to get over on another. People are running for office... that pretty much leaves you fair game for just about any tactic that might hurt your opponent no matter if they are man, woman, black, Latino, straight, polyamorous or whatever.
PhilO (Austin)
Again... another excuse from the new feminism about how poorly the world treats you. Want respect? Demand it. Earn it. This has nothing to do with women, this is generational. Hillary toughed it out and knew that if she whined about mistreatment, most Americans would take that as weakness. She worked. She fought. She earned the respect. Ms Nixon and Ms Cortez think that since they have shown up. They deserve something. They are owed nothing. If they want to win, they need to work for it. The slights and demeaning comments will always be there. You can either let them stop you, or you can work through them and succeed. No one said it was going to be easy.
Jack19 (Baltimore, Maryland)
I loved seeing Ocasio-Cortez' rise, but only for a moment. She seems to be working in the Trump style of constant Tweeting and putdowns. This article, one of the worst I have ever read in this newspaper, argues against civil discussion and debate the very same day the paper runs an editorial on the importance of a free press. These days everyone wants civility -- from the other side. Meanwhile, if one's political views are correct it is ok to use revolting profanity including sexist and racist language. Both left and right engage in this anti-democratic practice. To the point that men feel the need to unnecessarily 'explain' things to women....News flash, men to that to men every minute of every day, as well. And women do it to men. It is a world of know-it-alls out there. Stifling civilized debate and painting it in sexist terms is a loss for every civilized person in the country and the world. You have a right to run an editorial like this, but it is an absurdity and a part of the problem, not the solution.
PB (Northern UT)
So if Oscasio-Cortez were a Republican woman instead of a democratic socialist, and some guy commentator on MSNBC or a male liberal blogger made the same offer to debate her as Shipiro did, I am pretty sure lots of Republican men and women would claim their woman candidate need not comply to such a condescending, dismissive request from someone who is not running for office and is only seeking attention in the hopes of bringing her down. But these Republicans, Trump supporters, and right-wing ideologues consistently grandstand and cry crocodile tears if a liberal or Democratic female candidate refuses to get caught up in some political circus scheme to taunt Democratic women candidates in the hopes or riling up those aggrieved guys out there who desperately cling to the outmoded notion that men are always superior and women are always weak. What is good for the goose, is good for the gander. But one of our big social justice problems in this country is that the partisan right-wingers and macho-obsessed guys can't seem to see it this way. “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” (R. Buckminster Fuller) And that is exactly what Oscasio-Cortez and those other female Democratic candidates are doing. Long overdue in this country!
K (Manzur)
Many of the commentators are missing the point. Mr. Shapiro is NOT AN OPPONENT of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. He is a private citizen inviting a congressional nominee to debate with him. It is the same if you and I were to invite a congressional/senatorial/presidential candidate to debate with us. Candidates including Ms. Ocasio-Cortez do not have to accept any of these unsolicited invitations. The point of the article is that Ben Shapiro (who happens to be a conservative commentator and NOT RUNNING for any public office) is trying to get free publicity.
skeptic (New York)
@K The point of the article is completely different. I agree that he is trying to get free publicity; I agree she has no obligation to debate him (or anyone). However, she said publicly that Republicans are afraid to debate her; he accepted that challenge. Where is the catcalling and sexism that both the candidate and the article finds? If a challenge to a debate now constitutes sexism, we have come to a very sad place.
J K Griffin (Colico, Italy)
@skeptic "However, she said publicly that Republicans are afraid to debate her;" Republicans or Republican candidates for political office? There is a difference.
DZ (Banned from NYT)
@K We don’t miss the point, we disagree with it. Bernie & Ted Cruz debated healthcare a year ago. Neither was running for anything. Christopher Hitchens (remember him?) would debate anyone lest it be said he refused. Politicians debate comedians on talk shows all the time (think Bill Maher & Trevor Noah). Ben Shapiro speaks at left-wing universities every chance he gets (when they allow him) & insists that those who disagree go to the front of the line for a Q&A. I have to conclude that AOC lacks the depth to discuss her own positions, and by dismissing the offer in sexist terms, she has revealed herself to be lacking in principles too. Shame on those who defend this cowardice.
Bill (Madison, Ct)
For what possible reason would she debate this attention seeking right winger? It would do nothing for her even if she destroyed him but it'd give him the exposure for which he's desperate.
Bill (Philadelphia)
Ocasio-Cortez had no obligation whatsoever to debate Shapiro. However, likening his attention-seeking offer to sexual harassment was a low-blow that cheapens the struggle of survivors. Moving forward, I think this debate may have had potential. Shapiro clearly represents free-market capitalism while Ocasio-Cortez represents democratic socialism. There are pros/cons of both systems. This is a vital debate that needs to occur. We should hold politicians accountable rather embracing the tribal view in every single piece of news.
Howard G (New York)
One has to wonder -- If - instead of Ben Shapiro - the offer to debate had come from Ann Coulter - thereby eliminating the gender issue -- how would Ms. Ocasio-Cortez have responded -- and what would be the reactions had she also refused Ms. Coulter...?
tom harrison (seattle)
@Howard G - I would not want to debate Ann Coulter. She would play with me like a cat with a mouse before tearing me apart:)
acj (California)
I've read through the comments and given this issue some thought. The only thing I would add is that AOC's response of "catcalling". Him offering her money has sexist overtones. (why couldn't he have offered to just debate her? albeit he's not running against her so she is under no obligation to do so.) Having said all that, it's unfortunate she didn't think quicker and give a different response, judging from the comments below
Biz Griz (In a van down by the river)
So now Cortez, a public figure, doesnt have to debate or respond to questions? How will you win hearts and minds if you can't squash the haters? If you are in the public sphere then take on all comers please. Put Shapiro in his place if you feel your ideas are better than his ideas. To paint all men as street catcallers as a way to deflect debate is pretty lame. Sorry, not sorry.
Robert (Seattle)
Ocasio-Cortez and trump should think before they speak: if someone says something that they find negative, the best 'response' is simply to ignore them. The notion that Shapiro was sexist for the offer is absurd and undermines women who face actual aggression. She further reveals her weaknesses as a candidate.
Wild Ox (Ojai, CA)
Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, progressive, running for office to improve the quality of life in her district. Ben Shapiro, conservative, in it for himself, and to improve his appearance fees on Fox. As ever, true to form...
areader (us)
Didn't Alexandria boast before that Republicans don't want to debate her? Didn't a Republican woman ask her for a debate after Alexandria rejected a "catcall" from Shapiro?
ChesBay (Maryland)
Men do not usually DEBATE women. They belittle, condescend, distract, and play every trick, known to men, to throw the women off their game. This is how men deal with the world, not just women, whom they fear are far superior to them, in every way. Well, they are. The old patriarchy is slowly sinking in its own waste, and self-interest. Do not throw them a rope. Survivors will only include those who recognize, and accept, the truth.
ChesBay (Maryland)
ChesBay--Let me add that I have met few men, in my long life, who were not, at least subconsciously, afraid of women. If they claimed otherwise, they were probably lying to keep us quiet. Men have always known that women posed a tremendous threat to their dominance, and they have fought, throughout history, to keep women as low self-esteem servants and breeders. No more. That nonsense is so over.
Cranston snord (Elysian Fields, Maryland)
Ches Bay: so glad you are not generalizing about men and have a healthy view of them
JKvam (Minneapolis, MN)
Who does Shapiro think he is? If he wants to debate her he should run in opposition. Unless he does that what makes him different from a guy yelling on a street corner?
Gary (Millersburg Pa)
She really could have just said "No thank you". That's it. Instead, she spouts off the "catcalling" stuff. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was invited to debate Mr. Shapiro. Where's the catcalling? Is this going to become the norm for the behavior of women in politics?
Michael (New York)
This is an excellent article that clearly demonstrates the overt sexism that female candidates face in running for office. How much longer will women have to put up with this discrimination?
Cookies (On)
Many women think that they have to be war hawks to win. Hillary Clinton was one of those. But reasonable women who are not overly narcissistic, believe in social programs that help people instead of killing them. We need more of those women.
Marcel (New York City)
This is an interesting discussion. There is another onion layer which I'm guessing, escapes the notice of many here. It is one that all brown people (and women) know well. When you are brown (or female) and a novice, you are judged based upon what you should know. When you are Caucasian (especially male) and a novice, you are judged based upon what you could potentially be. This simple dynamic plays out frequently. Food for thought.
DZ (Banned from NYT)
@Marcel Dumbest comment ever put on the internet, and that’s a pretty strong field. There’s an old phrase—if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. It’s a sad commentary on these times that I have to tell you there is nothing racial about the idiom.
RationalGuy (New York)
@Marcel What you say may in fact be true. But I will hold off agreeing with you until I see an evidence-based argument. In the case of Ocasio-Cortex, I think the opposite is true. Her electoral victory was very much driven by judgments on what she could potentially be. She has done good work as a community organizer and activist. But her lack of political experience means that she was not judged on what she knows (at least in the game of politics). Her opponent clearly had more political experience, and presumably knowledge. He'd been working in politics since before Ocasio-Cortez was born. So I don't think you can argue that her's was not a victory of potential. Anecdotal arguments are empirically impoverished. If you want to make them, then at least use anecdotes that fit the argument.
R.P. (Bridgewater, NJ)
Amazing that the author describes Mr. Shapiro as "right wing" but never describes Ms. Cortez as left wing. Shapiro is certainly right of center, but he's a lot closer to the mainstream than Ms. Cortez who espouses a fondness for socialism that is disturbing.
Sven Gall (Phoenix, AZ)
Debating is light sunlight, it disinfects and illuminates who you are and what you believe and most importantly, your passion. By not participating, it speaks volumes on who Ocasio-Cortez really is. It appears she is not confident on what she knows. Most importantly, she does not appear willing and passionate enough to defend it. If you can’t handle the heat, you better get out of the kitchen. There are many men like Shapiro in front of her. She might start practicing. He would be a formidable opponent. By declining, she does not look good. Rather she looks weak. Down a couple notches by this. Click click click.
Anna (Seattle, WA)
@Sven Gall I have doubts as to whether the whole of Ben Sharpiro's audience truly wanted to be enlightened more than entertained. To anyone else, this would have been a spectacle for a young, bright, very liberal woman to entertain Shapiro and his listeners with her cute ideas about how the world works. She was right to turn this down and not waste her time.
Ernest Woodhouse (Upstate NY)
If this is how you do debates in Arizona -- open to all challengers -- me and my buddies are coming to down to put out some challenges and sell some tickets. We're bringing our spandex and glitter so look out!
Sven Gall (Phoenix, AZ)
@Ernest Woodhouse Make sure you visit here in the middle of summer. It's the best time of year. Really!
Test Try (Italy)
Shapiro is just another male narcissist who can't believe what he sees in the mirror is not what's really there. He sees a rational lover of truth. Everyone else (except Fox Mews) sees a publicity seeking jerk.
Marshall Doris (Concord, CA)
It seems axiomatic that, while one would try, one should not expect to be able to exploit both sides of an issue successfully. As the old saw has it, you make your bed then you have to lie in it. To wit: when explicitly running as an outsider and claiming outsider advantages, don’t simultaneously complain about how bad it is to be treated as an outsider. Campaigns, for good or bad, are inevitably contests in which opponents vie to best each other. Candidates explicitly utilize strategic resources to best one another. Thus, each candidate in each race makes a calculated decision, steeped in self interest, about the relative advantages of debating or not. Either it works or it doesn’t. And while it may feel good to complain about “facing the tediousness of having men explain things to them,” candidates will, if they see it as advantageous, attempt to use language to make their opponent seem less knowledgeable and thus less qualified to be elected. This strategy will either succeed or fail, depending on how it appeals to voters. Politics is a dog-eat-dog venue. You play your money and take your chances. Let the best person win.
Mimi (Atlanta)
He is not her opponent. She owes him NOTHING!
Justin (Seattle)
I have no doubt that she could debate Ben Shapiro, but she's got more important things to do right now. In case he hadn't noticed, she's running for Congress (and not against him). And once (if) she wins, I'm sure she'll get offers to debate much more important critics than this second-string right wing hack. His offer is nothing more than a publicity stunt.
skeptic (New York)
@Justin If she has more important things to do like running for Congress, why is she galavanting all over the country to promote other candidates and why has she said Republicans are afraid to debate her.
abo (Paris)
@skeptic "why has she said Republicans are afraid to debate her." Maybe because they are? I haven't seen the quote, but in the English language, "Republicans are afraid to debate me" can mean "Some Republicans..." or "All Republicans.." I'd suggest she clearly meant "Some Republicans...", i.e. the ones she would be interested in debating, and not all Republicans, including publicity-seeking "pundits" like Shapiro.
neal (westmont)
@Justin She's so pressed for time in her Congressional race yet she finds time to take tours around Kansas. Sure, that makes sense.
Michael Judge (Washington DC)
I used to work in a bar where the patrons would put money in a hat to bribe certain customers to just leave. Shapiro is like one of those guys.
John (New York City)
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has every right to turn to turn Mr. Shapiro's request down to debate, as he is not running for office. There is always a presence of sexism in our society, and so Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has every right to highlight this in her response. However, the equivalence of a debate request with a catcall is somewhat concerning to me, in all honesty. Separately, the reference to Barack Obama's "likeable enough" comment is one of the blindspots of this iteration of feminism in my view. Mrs. Clinton was repeatedly disrespectful (and some would say this was racially motivated, given her history of comments) of Mr. Obama on the 2008 campaign trail (see: "Change you can Xerox"). However, if Mr. Obama calls her "likeable enough" and that is viewed as a sexist remark. As a man, I'm happy to continue to have the conversation about the many things men do to make our world uncomfortable for women. But it is just that - a conversation. My understanding of equality is that you should treat men and women the same, and this is particularly true in the political arena. If men are unkind to men who represent their political opposition, it is largely written off as politics as long as the commentary is within bounds. I understand that our society has significant work to do around sexism, but I (if idealistically) hope for a world where we can critique and challenge each other, without having to make considerations of the race, sex, or sexuality of the speaker.
Bertie (NYC)
If Ben Shapiro thinks being a good debator guarantees being a good congressman, then we have seen the results all along. Lets see some action instead of just talk. Cortez does work at grass root levels, where the action is really needed.
Achilles (Edgewater, NJ)
@Bertie Sure. But she is your side's new "It Girl" and the media's darling. She is also the new face of the Democratic Party. If she wants leadership, she will have to defend her ideas, and not just spout propaganda to fellow Democrats like Trevor Noah and Mika Brzezinski. If she's so afraid of Ben Shapiro, then just end the conceit she is a "leader", and don't play to stereotypes that she's just a little girl in a big man's world.
Bertie (NYC)
@Achilles so what if she is a little girl in a big man's world? She will learn her way through. She has good mentors. Unlike Shapiro with Breitbart? he can only propagate insanity. If he was so smart he would be elected and not be looking for cheap thrills.
Me (wherever)
While I don't deny that there is condescension, patronizing, and dismissiveness, incumbents often do not take newcomers seriously, regardless of gender, and/or do not want to grant them poliitical gravitas by debating them - Cynthia Nixon has celebrity but not political or policy gravitas. That said, men have to be careful on the other end debating women as they would a man because some would see them as figuratively beating up a woman if they were as harsh as they would be with a man.
deb (inoregon)
Women can handle themselves just fine in the 'harsh' world of debate. If a candidate doesn't resort to crude, sexist names, and if she isn't judged mostly by how likable she seems, if they both can avoid patronizing smirks just as they are between men, harsh is no problem. Note to commenters: If you have to start your second paragraph with: "Having said that, we must be careful not to give women too much/hurt men's feelings by...." something something, please know that no one is advocating anything extreme. Gender should not be an issue when one candidate debates another. Not so hard.
c harris (Candler, NC)
This had to happen. Men have controlled most of the electoral offices in the country. Now women have become resurgent and successful. Any establishment candidate will try to deflate the importance of the challenger. Hillary Clinton seemed more an establishment candidate who believed in her inevitability. Ocasio-Cortez is an insurgent candidate who one a surprise victory and the opposition governing party is dominated by right wing corporate interests. These Trump types have made a living out being dismissive of counter arguments and aggressive in their self assurance. But her district is a liberal district and I would expect her to win. Once in Washington is another story.
Robert B (Brooklyn, NY)
Plenty of people are weighing in on who won and why, which in itself arguably plays into what a right-wing pundit, or rather troll, wants. Yes, there's certainly misogyny involved in this, but President Obama had to deal with this, and much more. Beyond the Birther Movement, Wayne LaPierre, also not a politician, but a very good friend to Trump and Putin, tried to taunt Obama into debating him. However, whatever Shapiro did, it didn't work. It incited the far-right, but that requires nothing. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rallied her base by effectively retorting with "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." People on the right may have howled, but it certainly had resonance as it was never a serious offer, especially as the initial offer was to pay Ocasio-Cortez ten thousand dollars. (Yes, it was purportedly for her "campaign.") A sort of a stalemate might have remained, but Shapiro fell apart and revealed his true motives. First, while attacking Ocasio-Cortez for refusing to debate, he was clearly stung and changed the offer to make it seem less offensive, saying he could give the money to "charity". Then, he defensively blathered about how he had no idea what Ocasio-Cortez was talking about because he was very religious. In offering these justifications he made the entire thing about him, and his motives, which were venal, so by that point he'd lost.
Achilles (Edgewater, NJ)
@Robert B It's predictable, if depressing, that liberals resort to ad hominem attacks instead of providing counterpoints. You calling Shapiro "far right" and a "troll" shows that you know nothing about him. Bellafante and the Times' little dig is the same thing. As for Ocasio-Cortez, her use of "catcalling" is not just incoherent, but shows us that when presented with a stressful concept, she falls into the stereotype that women are too weak and frail to deal with men who might disagree with them. Pathetic on all ends.
Joe (Fournell)
I would agree with the premise of this article if the challenge came from someone like Sean Hannity who would not be interested in an honest debate. However, though I do not agree much with Ben Shapiro's ideas, I do respect his intellectual integrity. I found through listening to him in several debates that he represents the conservative philosophy well and that Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez's platform would have been advanced with this debate thru the contrast of ideas. Unfortunately, like the extreme right, the left is just as eager to paint anyone that does not agree with them as evil and refuses a civil discussion. I really think this was a missed opportunity because with Ben, it would have been a discussion of ideas, not namely calling. That is, if Alexandria went into the debate in good faith.
LynK (Pennsylvania)
What office is Ben running for? No politician, left, right, or center, would waste time debating a self-promoting private citizen, and no sensible citizen would vote for a candidate who would participate in such a sideshow.
Kathleen Warnock (New York City)
@Joe But why do you think she should debate someone who is not her opponent? Especially someone who has been dismissive and racist in the past?
bse (vermont)
@Joe Why should she debate a non-candidate? If here is no Republican candidate to step up to debate, then so be it. It is her opponent's job to articulate the conservative or whatever positions. Again, why deal with a non-candidate, which would suggest anyone from any group had the right to jump in and have a platform for his or her views, which might have nothing to do with the issues voters care about.
Ak (Bklyn)
I don’t doubt that men talk down to women but most of your examples ring hollow. You even bury the hammer hitting the nail, and then go back to your initial hypothesis. That is , the powerful avoid debating candidates running against them in order not to give political clout to their opponents. This method goes back to even before women were able to vote.
Johnny (Newark)
Ideas don't matter anymore, only registering people to vote. AOC is more akin to a military recruiter than a politician, which is a compliment because that's how you win elections in 2018.
Tonjo (Florida)
I do not really care for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez political viewpoint, but I do have a lot of respect for how she responded to Shapiro's request for a debate. Shapiro is not a politician and he was only looking for trouble which Ms. Ocasio-Cortez recognized.
Lee (KY)
Good to see all of the men coming out to argue these scenarios aren’t sexist. I was worried we might get rational commenters willing to consider the evidence.
BK (Cleveland, OH)
It is hardly surprising Ocasio-Cortez rebuffed Ben Shapiro. Indeed, it would have been shocking (and bold, foolish or both) had she not. Ocasio-Cortez is, after all, a candidate for political office, and she just won the Democratic nomination in a wholly noncompetitive congressional district. In winning her primary, she has already effectively won the November election. Why on earth should she now take the risk to debate Shapiro ... or anyone else for that matter? Once she arrives in Congress, she will be in another echo chamber where she will again be able to avoid debate. Instead, she can deliver speeches at times and places of her own choosing to keep her supporters happy (and happily donating) and to ensure reelection and advancement. This includes appearances before friendly interviewers and audiences, and it may also include a pithy Tweet now and again -- all to cement her 'brand' and bona fides with her supporters. Maybe -- maybe -- she will have to debate a Democratic challenger in some future primary, and maybe -- maybe -- she will have to debate a Republican candidate at some point down the road. But don't bet on it, and don't count on any debate to be very substantive. This isn't (necessarily) a criticism of Ocasio-Cortez. But it sure isn't praise, either. It is just an observation of what it means to run in an ideologically-unbalanced and/or gerrymandered congressional district in the United States during the hyperpolarized years of the early 21st century.
J K Griffin (Colico, Italy)
@BK Your comment sure seems to be an attempt at minimizing the achievement of Ms Ocasio-Cortez. “…she just won the Democratic nomination in a wholly noncompetitive congressional district”. Do you think that Crowley was a pushover? Moreover, deprecating your presumed idea of her future performance in Congress and campaigns, reveals a prejudice that many of us might find distasteful.
BK (Cleveland, OH)
@J K Griffin Ocasio-Cortez won a significant upset over Crowley. There is no debating that, and Ocasio-Cortez has certainly not lacked for praise and marvel by the media over that achievement. But there is also no debating that she has already won her victory in November, thanks to the nature of her district. That's why she's going hither and yon on behalf of other candidates in other places -- there is no need for her to do anything further to win in November. I'm also not debating whether she should debate Shapiro; what does she have to gain in doing so? Seems like virtually all risk, and a very uncertain reward. And because of her noncompetitive district, it would frankly be foolhardy and unnecessary to do it, particularly against a dangerous debater like Shapiro. Other than my comment about Shapiro, I don't think any of the above is debatable. As for how she will perform in Congress, I suppose time will tell, and I'd be happy to be proven wrong. She may find her own way to cement her 'brand.' Times are changing, technology is in flux, and old methods may not suffice. But it is the extremely rare politician these days who actually presents himself or herself for a substantive debate on policy. This isn't Ocasio-Cortez's fault. It's just the (unfortunate) way the game is played, though she does have some choice over whether and how to play it. In the end, I will be very surprised if she ends up playing it much differently from those who proceeded her.
skeptic (New York)
@J K Griffin Perhaps you might reread the comment since yours is completely incorrect. It clearly referred to the fact that now, she does not face a real contest; it did not at all refer to her primary with Crowley as no contest. Yet another ridiculous cry of victimhood.
Jason (New York)
Come on. When do we see civilised debate between politicians these days. The things pointed out in the article happen in all debates, regardless of gender.
Kathleen Warnock (New York City)
@Jason But Shapiro is not a politician, so your argument isn't valid.
Brisco Darlin (Princeton, NJ)
What this is all about is not gender or a pattern of intimidation. I'm sure any threats or concerns along those lines could be managed. This is really about Mr. Shapiro being more informed on the issues. He's won this debate without ever firing a shot.
Me (wherever)
@Brisco Darlin Shapiro "won" only with his followers, followers of a man who apparently says anything he wants to (his statement about native Americans being 'schooled' by Columbus - how do you think that sits with Latinos who have native roots?). More objective people, regardless of their sentiment towards Cortez, recognize that it was not in her interest to debate someone who is not running in her district (or anywhere) or has to answer to her district, and who can say whatever he wants with no repercussions.
bse (vermont)
@Brisco Darlin Oh, I didn't realize we all agreed that Mr. Shapiro is more informed on the issues. How odd. If so, why isn't he a candidate? Until then he should not have a candidate's debate platform for his personal views, which are irrelevant in this context. And let's look at our president if we are going to talk about being informed about the issues. He shows being ill-informed on a daily basis, fumbling the advice from his staff and trotting out slogans and hate tweets instead. Ms. Cortez has the high ground here.
skeptic (New York)
@Me No he won because she resorted to name-calling instead of merely rejecting the offer.
B (Queens)
I had the pleasure yesterday of watching old clips of Margaret Thatcher in the House of Commons on youtube. Her mastery of facts, her conviction, her force delivery and the utter evisceration of her opponents with humor and aplomb is something to behold and should be a lesson to every stripe and gender of politician. Politics is war by other means, and anyone who thinks otherwise, denies human nature and needs a refresher starting from logos, pathos and ethos. Ocasio-Cortez has been living in an echo chamber her entire life, so being confronted by differing opinions must come as quite a shock. Welcome to the real world.
Michael (Chicago)
She also isn't running against anyone on CNN, ABC, Fox, or any other broadcast. As people invite her on, obviously fiscal issues are going to be discussed and I'm certain we'll see her on television. Why is it then, when Ben Shapiro wants to talk with her it's vindictive? Let's not talk about the $10,000 offer because the central reasoning for her declining Ben's offer, at least in the mind of the readers, is that he isn't running for office. I'm wondering why she wouldn't engage in a discussion with him like she would anyone else on television that might challenge her? Let's remove the fact that she's a woman because that's not the point I'm trying to make. Do we only want folks in office speaking in an environment that isn't challenging? How can we be informed if politicians only speak in environments with unrestricted access to the audience without a debate? Last I checked, that's how propaganda works...
Vin (NYC)
@Michael Why should she have to debate Shapiro, of all people? What makes him qualified? Shapiro's entire shtick revolves around "owning the libs." His work neither suggests depth of knowledge with regard to public policy, nor a disposition to debate the substance of issues in good faith. His work is all about rhetorical oneupmanship. What is the value of such a debate? I mean, outside of raising Shapiro's profile? If the call for debate came from an elected official or a policy expert (which Shapiro most definitely is not), there'd be some merit there. But this is a case of a bombastic pundit demanding attention and nothing else. I have a pretty large Twitter following myself - and yet, I'm not expecting Paul Ryan to agree to to debate me on the issues just because.
Joe (Fournell)
@Vin I can assume that have not listened to Ben much and are grouping him in with the likes of Sean Hannity, Rush, Tucker Carlson, etc... I would have found this debate informative since more ideas could have been discussed vs just name calling. I really think it was a missed opportunity to advance the ideals Alexandria is espousing. Instead, it shows to me that neither the extreme left or right are interested in a fruitful debate to advance the marketplace of ideas.
Vin (NYC)
@Joe - I have listened to Shapiro, I've read him too. I find him utterly unimpressive, and I find him to be someone who doesn't argue with the intention of providing substantive debate - again, his shtick is to "own the libs." Although he is not the cause of our country's dumbed-down bad-faith political discourse, he is certainly an enthusiastic participant. Like I said in my original comment - if the debate was between Ocasio-Cortez and an elected official or policy expert, it would indeed be a valuable service to the public. As it stands, it's about an opportunistic media star engaging in a stunt to raise his profile.
Lauren (Los Angeles, CA)
When Ocasio-Cortez was the challenger her opponent would not debate her. Now that she won, she will not debate Shapiro. I see a pattern. And it has nothing to do with gender.
Kathleen Warnock (New York City)
@Lauren Well...why should she debate someone who is not her opponent? Apples & oranges.
Anne (Portland)
@Lauren: Shapiro is not her opponent in a race. He's a random dude. She is right. She owes him nothing. And it is indeed gendered.
Sally (South Carolina)
Shapiro is not her opponent - why should she have to debate some pundit at all?
Charles Carter (Memphis, TN)
There’s no question we continue to have plenty of sexism in the US. And I find it gratifying that more women are running and being elected. Yet how can we tell when any given conflict is due to prejudice? The article makes several good points, but over-reaches.
APO (JC NJ)
If he wants to have political debates - let him run for office.
James (Long Island)
@APO Only politicians are allowed to debate?
Sean (Ft Lee. N.J.)
Female, as well as male political candidate, lacking command, coherence regarding issues should prepare themselves better BEFORE seeking office.
foogoo (Laguna Nigel, CA)
Alexandria, Do your homework, girl! And, take them on -- unsparingly with no mercy. But again, in order to do it, do it within the cocoon of knowledge and do not look behind as you claw your way out of the darkness of ignorance and fear. Yes, the world awaits your fearlessness enriched by a mastery of the warrior code of gritty survival. Just do it!!!
Charles Carter (Memphis, TN)
Well said! She’s inspiring, but it’s disappointing to see her caught out on some factual errors.
Jeff (DC)
@foogoo no, dude. If some internet dweeb wants to debate a political candidate then they should get out from behind their keyboard and cult following and actually run for something. Shapiro and Kirk are nobodies propped up by political groups. They're just pundits and nobody should give them any time.
James (Long Island)
@foogoo Or she can just cower in ignorance safe in the cocoon of matching the demographics of her district
T Speyer (Ardsley on Hudson)
Whether to debate (and who to debate) is primarily a political calculation - will it advance the interests of the candidate (if yes they should, if no they should not). Generally, front-runners (Crowley, though mistakenly so) decline debates, especially from lesser-known contenders on the theory that this only gives the underdog some free publicity. That logic applies here: O-C has no good politicalreason to engage in this debate, so she made the choice dictated by the conventional wisdom - the identity-politics stuff is, as always, just noise.
Jason (New York)
I am confused what any of this has to do with women. Incumbents avoid debates with upstarts because it denies their opponents a chance to become better known and score some points. Shapiro wants to debate because she is a prominent socialist, and he has made it his mission to demonstrate the weakness in socialist thought.
Adina (Baltimore)
I am confused as to why the moderators rejected by original comment. There was nothing inappropriate about it. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez does a disservice to the movement for greater recognition of sexual harassment and assault. If she compares offers of for political debate to sexually harassing catcalls, she is not helping victims of sexual harassment/assault, and making it less likely that victims will be believed.
George (Minneapolis)
How outrageous that Ms. Occasio-Cortez should be invited to debate by her political opponent. Come to think of it, how could a man even be allowed to run against her?
Jimal (Connecticut)
@George Mr. Shapiro is not her political opponent. He is a pundit, and got far more mileage out of her rejecting his invitation the he ever would have gotten out of the actual debate.
Tracy Mohr (Illinois)
@George Ben Shapiro is trying to ride her coattails by making an offer in bad faith. She was absolutely right to dismiss it and him.
Onewarmline (Berkeley)
@George My father always said "Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." Still true. No political opponent has invited Ms. Occasio-Cortez to debate -- Ben Shapiro is a private citizen / pundit wishing to score points. Why would you feel she should entertain offers for "debate" from him in the first place?
David (MA)
I support Ms.Ocasio-Cortez’s decision not to appear with Mr. Shapiro; clearly he was just trying to buy his way in to the proximity of one of the Democrat’s new stars. However, the premise in this piece that a male incumbent avoiding debate with a challenger is inherently sexist just ignores that this practice is wildly common in both Republican and Democratic races where both candidates are male. It’s an awful practice, leading to stultifying inertia among incumbents, but it’s very, very common... and it’s for tactical reasons. Finally, given the nastiness of the Clinton campaign toward Obama in 2012, quoting Obama as saying that Clinton was “likable enough” is hardly denigration. Frankly, such a complaint about Obama seems to perpetuate the myth that female candidates can’t stand criticism well... a myth that Clinton has very ably shown to be false.
alyosha (wv)
Good grief. There you go again! Politics is about who is the most competent, knowledgeable, and likely to lead the nation in the best fashion. It isn't about who is nice. As somebody said in defending John Sununu, "why should he suffer fools gladly?" If a candidate is a fool, shouldn't we know it? Lloyd Bentsen showed Dan Quail to be inept in the 1988 election debate: "...you're no Jack Kennedy". How not nice! How really cutting! Probably made Dan feel bad. We all loved it. But, can you imagine a male debater's saying: "You're no Joan of Arc?" Obama's "derision" of Hillary Clinton was brought on by her sniffling that people didn't like her. Blind-sided, Obama did his best to find the perfect pitch required to avoid looking like a pig. As any of us dudes would have done, he missed. His heart seems to have been in the right place. Why isn't that enough? Ah, yes. The great new feminist coinage of Mansplaining. Somehow it has been accepted as meaningful, not least by the Times. It goes along with tossing in "gendered". For the unhip: one uses "gender" instead of "sex" to convey the idea that "female" is a social creation, forced on women by guess whom, millennia ago. It's an editorial message to accompany getting straight who's a boy and who's a girl. How about not having a self-righteous, punitive, PoMo-infected, tiny minority determining the evolution of our language? If nothing else, let's vote on accepting these sexist words.
Brad Blumenstock (St. Louis)
@alyosha Gender and sex are, in reality, two very different concepts.
ELK (California)
@alyosha Also, what people complaining about the Obama comment conveniently omit is that before the first debate, as Obama moved toward Hillary to shake her hand, she turned her back on him. Must have been racism.
Me (wherever)
@Brad Blumenstock What is your sex? What is your gender? The answer is the same - M or F on most forms, pehaps U or ? is added to newer ones. The words are used interchangeably. That said, I don't see it as the issue that @alyosha does.
Samuel Russell (Newark, NJ)
Ocasio-Cortez disappointed me on a few levels. If she wants to be taken seriously as a candidate she must promote and defend her ideas. She has no obligation to debate Shapiro, but not doing so looks like a wasted opportunity to advance her agenda. Shapiro has thousands of devoted followers and while O-C might not convince them all, at least they would hear a strong counterargument to the right wing propaganda they usually hear. But her claim that the invitation was harassment is just disingenuous. Not only is she shirking her responsibility to defend her views, she is making a mockery of people who are truly harassed and catcalled. To conflate a call for intellectual debate with being whistled at in the street is absolutely shameful and tone deaf. I lost my respect for her when I saw that.
Me (wherever)
@Samuel Russell Ignoring the catcall comment by her, this would not have been an intellectual debate but rather Shapiro using her as a punching bag to say/behave however he wants to with no repercussions. The worse he acts towards her, the better from his supporters point of view. I would expect him to cut her off and talk over her. Better for her to face other media who will at least let her talk and answer real questions rather than loaded ones (do you still beat your wife type of questions).
areader (us)
@Samuel Russell, She's tone deaf but could present a strong counterargument to the right wing propaganda? Are you sure?
Jr (Lund)
Wanting to debate someone is not catcalling. And the article author should decide, either people can ignore debate requests, like Ocasio-Cortez or they can't, like opponents of women runnig for office apparently.
Robin (Texas)
Why should a candidate be obligated to debate someone who is not running for office?
Sam G (Baltimore)
I find this article (and many) to be dishonest in the picture it paints. Although I would generally agree that Shapiro is abrasive and condencending, I vehemently disagree that it's because Ocasio-Cortez is a woman. It's amazing to me how this article paints the issue as a "man vs. woman" and not what it really is, which is Conservative vs. Socialist. Identity politics helps no one. It is the reason that Trump was elected in the first place. It has destroyed the ability for anyone to have intelligent political discourse and replaced it with more and more sensitive Americans just waiting to be offended.
Bec (NyNy)
Shapiro offered Bernie Sanders $50,000. As usual - women do not get paid as much as men!
red sox 9 (Manhattan, New York)
@Bec Sanders has been a senator for decades. Ocasio has been a bartender. Sanders gathered millions of votes from citizens across America. Ocasio gathered a few thousand votes from citizens in the Bronx. I think offering this totally unqualified person (not woman) 20% of what he offered Sanders is very generous indeed!
Russian Bot (In YR OODA)
@Bec I know you are just making a joke, but Bernie is a Senator and Presidential Candidate. Alex is a, uh, um, Congressional Nominee?
Adina (Baltimore)
If we want society to take sexual harassment and assault more seriously, then perhaps women on the left should stop comparing offers for political debates to sexual harassment.
Justin (Omaha)
It was one thing for Ocasio-Cortez to decline the invitation to debate. It is true that she is not obligated to debate every single conservative. Then it was quite another thing for her to accuse him of "bad intentions" in a sexist fashion. Why is everyone assuming something disgusting about Shapiro's $10K offer? Are we or are we not open-minded?
Brad Blumenstock (St. Louis)
@Justin Anyone familiar with Ben Shapiro's polemics knows this offer was made in bad faith. If he wants to debate someone who is running for office, he should do so himself.
Matt (Mid-Michigan)
I'm a center-left Democrat and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez doesn't sound very smart in television interviews when it comes to some of the policies she's suggesting( I think either NYT or WaPo covered this in an article). I don't think Ben Shapiro's invitation for debate had anything to do with the election but the policy proposals Ms.Ocasio-Cortez has laid out. He knows her policies don't really have a merit and it's rhetoric from the left and he wants to capitalize on, to show "see how dumb their thought leaders are!" The truth is there are dumber thought leaders on the right and debating them is pointless as the Republican base wouldn't know a sound argument if it hit them in the head. They only understand hateful rhetoric.
Zejee (Bronx)
Medicare for All has no merit? Free college tuition has no merit? How come every other first world nation invests in the health and education of its citizens? Everyone else is wrong?
Me (wherever)
@Zejee Details matter, as does the scope of reforms. I have nothing against medicare for all, but the details of how it is done are important AND the details of the transition from where we are now to there are important - it will be a messy transition, maybe impossible with the current political partisanship. As for scope, medicare for all is just the insurance side, and as such, will not take care of much of the costs and quality on the provider or pharma side. In fact, many other developed countries do not have single payer (e.g., Germany); what they all have is a very regulated basic universal insurance, whether private or single payer, and options for supplemental insurance after that which is less regulated, BUT, the provider and pharma sides are also very regulated, something mostly ignored here. Getting the incentives and regulatory scheme right, and the smoothest transition possible, is tricky enough without the hyperpartisanship we live in. We saw what a mess it was to just alter the private insurance market under the ACA with all the insane push back from the GOP.
Matt (Mid-Michigan)
@Zejee Saying Medicare for all or free college doesn't take much and she's not the first one to say it. It's like saying there should be World Peace. The details for achieving the results are what will bring credibility to these statements. This is where Ocasio-Cortez falls short. As far as I can tell, she has no real governing experience or detailed policy proposal. What she says can be construed as populism or pandering. This is no different than what Donald Trump says. Crowd pleasures but impractical.
XLER (West Palm)
I’m sorry, but isnt Ocasio-Cortez the one who complained that she wasn’t able to debate her MALE opponent (Joe Crowley) in the primary because he sent a female surrogate? Now that her knowledge looks shaky, suddenly all offers of debate from men are “sexist”? She can’t have it both ways.
Samuel Russell (Newark, NJ)
@XLER It was precisely because she complained that Crowley wouldn't debate her that Shapiro jumped in with his offer. Sure, that's not who she wanted to debate, but if you're going to claim nobody will debate you, and then someone offers, you can not then label it catcalling. Absolute insanity.
Greg (Texas)
The truth is, I've paid very little attention to Ocasio-Cortez, for the simple reason I live 1,500 miles from the district she seeks to represent, and I've got plenty to pay attention to in my own local races. However, this flap over the Shapiro debate challenge has gotten loud enough it's impossible to avoid. She's got every right to refuse him; my problem is with how she did so. She should have said she'd be glad to debate him when he puts his name on the ballot against her. Instead, she (seemingly) gleefully and eagerly wrapped herself in the mantle of the beleaguered victim, talking about "bad intentions" and how the debate challenge was the same thing as a catcall. It was a puerile statement, unbecoming of a candidate for Congress. The more I read of this article and many of these comments, the more I was reminded of 10 years ago, just before Sarah Palin met Joe Biden in the vice presidential debate. At the time, my very conservative mother and her equally conservative friends were joining hands and offering up prayers for "poor Sarah," asking plaintively why she should be forced to get up on that stage and be "attacked" by "that man." Of course Biden demolished her - how could he not? I expect many commenters here offering up reasons for female candidates to avoid debates had no problem watching Biden defeat Palin. Fair is fair, people. You want to run for major office in this country? Be ready to defend yourself.
Leoben (Toronto, Canada)
@Greg Amen.
paul (White Plains, NY)
Ocasio-Cortez has revealed her own ignorance of current events, world affairs and politics repeatedly. She would be destroyed in a debate with Shapiro, or just about any opponent. Just because you come from a far left Democrat controlled district, does not automatically make you a political superstar. We can only hope that she continues to promote socialism, free college, free health care, higher taxes, and a gutting of the military budget. It will insure that she remains on the far left Democrat fringe for whatever remains of her political career.
Zejee (Bronx)
Why can’t Americans have what citizens of every first world nation on earth—except the USA—enjoy? And US is the richest nation the world has ever known. We spend more on the military than the next 12 nations combined. Cuts are in order.
Andio (Los Angeles, CA)
@Zejee We can have all of it just like those other countries...if we raise the tax rates on our citizens just like in those other countries.
Kurt Pickard (Murfreesboro, TN)
Ms. O-C isn't showing her power, but rather her weakness, in not taking on Ben Shapiro. While Shapiro isn't running for office he represents a lot of voters who have the potential to support her should she be able to stand her ground and make solid, well thought out arguments against the conservative right. Debating Shapiro would give O-C a free national platform, publicity and the opportunity to advance the Socialist cause; not to mention $10,000 to put into her coffers. It's one thing to be liked by your supporters but beyond that it's really a matter of being able to advance the party agenda, otherwise you're just all hat and no cattle.
Hazel (New Jersey)
@Kurt Pickard She'll have a free national platform when she is in Congress. This guy is a nobody who is looking to inflate his own profile at her expense. She owes him nothing.
HurryHarry (NJ)
"She owes him nothing." @Hazel - she may owe him nothing but she sure owes her district a debate with somebody - anybody - who will compell her to defend her views.
Leonard Ray (Baton Rouge)
@Kurt Pickard I'm pretty skeptical that the voters in her district know that much or care that much about Ben Shapiro.
Orange Nightmare (Right Behind You)
Cheap ploy for attention by Shapiro. He wins if she turns him down ( “she can’t defend her ideas”) and if she accepts (media attention and a highlight reel of perceived gaffes on her part). He’s basically trolling for dollars.
Andio (Los Angeles, CA)
@Orange Nightmare Whether or not you agree with him Ben Shapiro is an educated, politically savvy, super smart conservative who, by the way, thinks socialism is the wrong direction for this country. He's said so in talks and debates before. He's no troll. O-C is a candidate big on bullet pointed ideas but weak on actual policy and experience. If she is pushing socialism she'd better be ready to step into the ring and defend her positions (not necessarily with Shapiro) but with those who disagree with her. That said I have no doubt that Shapiro would knock her out in the first round and she knows it.
Samuel Russell (Newark, NJ)
"Ignore, Condescend, Dismiss" seems to be the playbook of Liberals when it comes to Conservatives, actually, and Ocasio-Cortez exemplifies that phenomenon, with her claim that Shaprio is a racist catcaller because he wishes to discuss issues with her. The person who refuses to debate an eager opponent is always the one who looks bad. Ocasio-Cortez and Ben Shapiro are both rising stars who built grassroots support on the internet by being unafraid to speak their minds on controversial issues. It would be remarkable to see them debate. If Ocasio-Cortez is truly serious about changing the status quo, it is exactly people like Shaprio's followers that she needs to convince. If they're so wrong, in her view, it should be easy for her to win arguments against them. Shouldn't it? And the fact that in past decades men were often dismissive of female candidates in no way excuses Ocasio-Cortez's aggressive reluctance, which really has to be interpreted as either a lack of conviction or an insufficient knowledge of the important issues.
Brad Blumenstock (St. Louis)
@Samuel Russell With all due respect, I think you're naive if you believe Shapiro's followers are prepared to be swayed by any arguments Ocasio-Cortez might make. He's not interested in "discussing issues." He just wants to score points in the eyes of his adoring fams.
KP (New York)
Ben Shapiro challenging someone to a debate not because there's any reason to debate her but simply because she caught his attention is the very embodiment of entitlement and (by some wild coincidence) conservative rhetorical strategy. I am so, so tired of people like him, and so very happy that Ocasio-Cortez has come along to provide an example of how to put them in their place.
Samuel Russell (Newark, NJ)
@KP Of course there's a reason to debate her. She's calling for socialist policies. He strongly disagrees. I'd like to hear both positions discussed in detail, instead of just sound bites. I want to know more about Ocasio-Cortez and her platform than just that she's a young Latina. A debate is not about winning or losing, it's about hearing differing viewpoints, and having one's ideas challenged and ultimately strengthened. We need more dialogue in this country and fewer slogans and echo chambers.
KP (New York)
@Samuel Russell Debates typically occur between people competing against each other for an office of some sort. This would be like Rachel Maddow challenging Trump to a debate and then using his refusal to support a political point she was already going to make anyway.
Maria (Brooklyn, NY)
I don't think anyone needs Ocasio-Cortez to debate Shapiro. But this article does nothing more than lay some defensive groundwork to future debate offers with (men!). I do think voters would benefit from tough debates. We cannot use our current candidates to instantly remedy gender dynamics. Yes, men can be big misogynist bullies- and women have been holding their own in debates at the highest level for a long time. HRC did not lose the election because DT "stalked" her on the debate stage. Let's do more than repeat that Ocasio-Cortez is a "girl from the Bronx" (ooh, ahhh) and start scrutinizing what the grown woman candidate is proposing in her political platform. You don't like Shapiro? Ok. This article and Ocasio-Cortez need to take on a tough political opponent as an alternative.
KP (New York)
@Maria Ben Shapiro isn't a political opponent. He's an aspiring political celebrity and he decided, based on his desire to draw the same level of interest that Ocasio-Cortez has drawn, that he was in some way relevant to her campaign for NY representative.
Judith Barzilay (Sarasota FL)
And in our congressional race, the Virginia second district, the male incumbent, a former Navy seal, is refusing to debate the Democratic women challenger Elaine Luria, a former naval commander. Just goes to show.
Maria (Brooklyn, NY)
@KP A political opponent includes those who oppose* a candidates political viewpoints/objectives/platform. It is common place for journalists, non-candidate politicians and academics to debate/interview/challenge those running for office And like I said, no need to speak with Ben Shapiro.
Holly T (NYC)
‘“Changing economic realities now often require both spouses to be working,” he wrote, as if newly awakened to that idea.’ Such a backwards statement in so many ways. -doesn’t acknowledge women’s unpaid work -doesn’t acknowledge that through most of history, most women have worked outside the home or otherwise contributed financially to their households -doesn’t acknowledge that some women want to work outside the home regardless of economics I hope this guy is never elected to represent women for anything.
Lucy H (New Jersey)
@Holly Doesn't acknowledge that MANY women want to work outside the home regardless of economics.
Jonathan (Oronoque)
Unfortunately, Ocasio-Cortez really does know very little about any subject. Anyone, man or woman, who understood a few basic facts would take her apart in a debate. She is a poor advertisement for progressives and millennials, and conservativers will use her as an example of everything that is wrong with their opponents. The Dems are stuck with her, and she will do a lot of damage to their casue. I would not be surprised if many voters decide to vote for Joe Crowley.
Zejee (Bronx)
I’m in CD 14. We have heard AOC speak and we want her to represent us. We need Medicare for All and free college tuition. And jobs.
Kathleen880 (Ohio)
@Zejee - You would definitely need jobs if her ideas were implemented. You do realize that you need tax money to pay for all this "free" stuff, don't you? And that means people have to work so that their paychecks can be gutted in order to hand out free stuff to socialists.
Jonathan (Oronoque)
@Zejee - OK, Medicare for all. Instead of paying 2.8% of your salary in Medicare tax, you will now be paying 40%....provided costs don't go up when everyone rushes to the doctor for 'free' care.
Zareen (Earth)
Ilhan Omar is much more than simply a young Muslim Somali immigrant. She is a Somali-American state politician in Minnesota where she was elected as a Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party member of the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2016, making her the first Somali-American legislator elected to office in the U.S. She is also the former Director of Policy and Initiatives of the Women Organizing Women Network. And soon she will be the first Somali-American elected to Congress. Mabrouk, Ms. Omar! You are an amazing inspiration to women worldwide!
Sidewalk Sam (New York, NY)
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez needs to get better at thinking on her feet in dealing with trolls like Shapiro. All she needed to say was that she would be willing to debate any opponent for that seat in that district and left it at that. Instead she risked perpetuating his condescending snark in which he called her--surprise, surprise--a "girl." Can anyone imagine that guy calling Representative Crowley a "boy"?
William (Georgia )
My frustration with this article is simple, the author and the paper are making the case that women are outsiders, “it’s hard to be an outsider, and a woman”. Understanding that’s one women’s opinion but that kind of language peppered through an article is a non to subtle suggestion that Ben Shapiro, or any man, is some how a massgionous for their desire to debat a woman on the facts or view points she is sharing. Specifically Mrs Cortez, someone who has repeatedly stumbled over her words concerning positive socialists ideals. I have been in a number of countries that employ socialist governments, it is a stark contrast to our standards of living and freedoms. That is why people involved in politics are supposed to want to influence through reason and facts. There’s a is danger with the narrative, that someone is beyond being criticized or corrected that is saying things that are factually inaccurate. As a country we should hold leaders on both the Right and Left responsible for cultivating their ideas. The positive and the negative ones.
Sparky (NYC)
Ms. Bellafante conflates two things that are not at all similar. No, of course Ms. Ocasio-Cortez shouldn't bother to debate Ben Shapiro. She's not running against him. However, the Nixon/Cuomo situation is not primarily about gender. Cuomo has a commanding lead over a woman whose lack of experience is her biggest negative. Only a fool would give her a platform to be seen as an equal to a sitting governor. It's hard to believe if he were running against Chris Noth (Mr. Big from SATC) he would be behaving any differently.
Lmca (Nyc)
If Shapiro has *really* been since about wanting to debate Ocasio-Cortez, he didn't have to offer her money. It's a cheap move and manipulative, like wanting to bait her. That's condescension. Once she spurred the offer, if he continued to contact her, then it was harassment. Shapiro, once a woman says NO it's NO. You're not running for office. She is/was. And there is evidence that this a violation of campaign contribution laws: https://lawandcrime.com/awkward/ben-shapiro-offers-alexandria-ocasio-cor... The very fact that he said she could donate it to a charity stinks of entrapment.
Januarium (California)
I like Ocasio-Cortez, and respect her willingness to take strong positions and encourage others on the left to do the same. But I'm disappointed and frustrated by how badly she's fumbled questions that should have been home runs. When she went on television said unemployment is low because "everyone has two jobs," I lost my ability to get on board the premise of this article. Yes, she's a woman. So am I, and I know the issues well enough to confidently debate them - and I'm not not running for office. The worst part is, I know exactly why that nonsense came out of her mouth. If you've spent any time in liberal political circles of social media, you probably do, too. That claim gets a lot of traction there, because of its "truthiness" - it feels like it's right, and it reminds you of issues that are definitely real. (Such as the practice of manipulating shifts and unpaid overtime, so workers are technically "part-time" and don't get benefits.) When enough people say it with conviction, it's easy to internalize an argument. But she's not just anyone, and that mistake is inexcusable for someone trying to spearhead a movement rooted in economic equality. She doesn't seem to actually know what the problems are, but she mistakenly believes that she does, thanks to social justice Twitter and the like. That's a terrible combination. I really hope someone on her campaign is dealing with this behind the scenes, because her constituents deserve a knowledgeable representative.
Margo Channing (NYC)
@Januarium You are outnumbered unfortunately in your thinking for there are those that will vote for her because she's a woman and ethnic. Do you really think voters are that smart and will actually listen to her answers to those questions and truly dissect each answer as fully as you? Not even close. There is a lot of dumb on both sides of the aisle don't kid yourself.
Januarium (California)
@Margo Channing Oh, I don't kid myself on that score at all. Many on the left are either oblivious to the fact economic issues (inequality but also instability) are critically important at this juncture in history, and/or they resent that being a central issue for the party because they feel it threatens the visibility and attention of some other matter closer to their heart. She's ahead of curve simply by virtue of addressing it, and I'm sure many people in the party, and in her district, didn't even realize what she said was wrong. She's almost certainly going to win the seat she's running for, but that's why I hope she actually learns the ins and outs of these matters. Otherwise, it's just yet another case of good intentions and zero gains.
Margo Channing (NYC)
@Januarium Spot on analysis, this whole gender politics thing is getting old quick. And women will set women's rights and getting into office back quite a few notches if the female candidate is not qualified. How about someone who knows the in/out of politics and who will truly work for their constituents and not just a select few? Not much to ask for is it? Don't care if there trans/gay/male/female doesn't matter to me at all I just want them to be answerable to us and not their donors who pay top dollar.
Michael Sorensen (New York, NY)
She should have debated Shapiro & used that platform to present to the American people how much money is allocated to Israel while our own veterans here at home cannot receive adequate healthcare. All she had to do is keep pressing on this point & would have wiped the floor a "Shapiro"
David F (NYC)
The VA budget is 66.2 times larger than the money we send to Israel. God knows what the VA does with it; maybe that would be a more effective avenue of inquiry.
tbandc (mn)
@Michael Sorensen She'd have to know something about it first, and from the few pieces I've see her in, she hasn't represented herself well unless it's 'WOMAN' and 'POC' = nothing of substance, just identity
msd (NJ)
For some reason Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sets off a lot of right-wing men. Why? Given the breathtakingly ill-informed, incompetent republican men who make up the US congress, how could she be any worse than any of them? She won the primary because her older, white, male opponent treated his constituents with disdain and was asleep at the wheel. Shapiro's offer was an insult. He offered her money because that's all that he's in it for and he can't imagine anyone else would be different.
William (Georgia )
@msd I assume that by this assumption that Shapiro and anyone “who’s in it for the money” is incapable of rational thoughts and their views are in some way less genuine then say non Harvard law graduates who aren’t in it for the money?
Shauna M (Canada)
Because she’s a young intelligent, articulate, brave, confident young woman.
only (in america)
@msd This exactly. The currently leader of our country doesn't appear to know much about anything yet many defend him to the point of losing honor (looking at you John Kelly). I long for the day when mediocre women and POC get to hold office and be just as insipid and down right stupid as the Georgian politician running around backwards with his pants down. And as for the offer of money, her catcall response was dead on. How many women have had some rando on the street demand her time, attention and space and think throwing a few dollars in the mix will get it done for them? Ben Shapiro gets what they get. Ignored.
Michael Sorensen (New York, NY)
Shapiro is a gossip columnist & provocateur not running for any political office nor in any relevant capacity. No one has to do what he says & neither show any deference towards him. Ocasio- Cortez was too polite & restrained when referring to his provocations.
Reader In Wash, DC (Washington, DC)
RE: Americans bore witness to Mr. Bush patronizing a prominent congresswoman...Before Donald Trump stalked Hillary Clinton on stage, Patronizing is a judgement. Try presenting the facts. Trump did not stalk Hillary. As the video showed she was in his space trying to upstage him.
Mon Ray (Cambridge)
Anyone who has seen Ms. O-C's many televised or published interviews will see she is attractive and charismatic but inarticulate when asked about her specific policy recommendations (other than repeating her money for all, open borders, and end ICE mantras). Of course she wants to avoid a debate or discussion with anyone better educated and more articulate. I don't think Ms. O-C is stupid, as some have claimed, she just needs more capable handlers who can better prepare her for speaking and presenting her ideas to the media and the voting public. Ms. O-C is a member of, and supported by, the Democratic Socialists of America, whose Communistic goals turn off most voters: turning the means of production over to the workers and massive redistribution of income, to mention just two. Only weeks ago Ms. O-C was hailed as the future of the Democratic Party. However, the defeats of fellow socialists she supported in the recent elections indicates that most Democrats will not buy into her extreme Democratic Socialists of America agenda. (Remember Bernie in 2016.) Abolishing ICE, increasing taxes, turning the means of production over to workers, and free everything for everyone are suicidal platform planks for the Democratic Party platform in the midterms and 2020. As Margaret Thatcher so aptly put it, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."
TDW (Chicago, IL)
@Mon Ray: And the problem with the current brand of American capitalism is eventually you run out of other people's money to steal.
JJR (LA)
Considering how America wastes trillions on its military and tax cuts for the rich, Ms. Thatcher's famed quote is, as ever, hogwash. Cut our nuclear arsenal and go back to even Reagan-era taxes, there'd be plenty of money -- yours, mine and others -- to Make America Civilised for Once.
Mon Ray (Cambridge)
@TDW If American capitalism is so bad, why are millions of illegal aliens risking their lives and the lives of their children by undertaking arduous and dangerous journeys to try to sneak into America? There are a couple of billion people on the planet who live lives of such extreme poverty and despair that they would flood America if we adopted an open borders policy. Tell the truth: Would you rather be a starving peasant in Africa or Asia or Latin America or an American citizen? Certainly capitalism is not without its problems, but I feel proud and lucky to be an American.
Paul (Brooklyn)
She has a right not to debate this guy, just like a guy has a right not to debate this guy, ie a right winger looking to make trouble instead of debating the issues. However it ends here. The day when women were told not to talk are over. If this happens, ie a man makes a condescending remark to a woman in a debate, the woman should call the man out immediately for being a bigot and not say anything about it or just as worse say something about it yrs. later and blame all men for it.
Ordell Robbie (Compton, Ca)
@Paul She does not have the right to call an invite to debate the equivalent of sexual harassment.
Paul (Brooklyn)
@Ordell Robbie- I agree. Anybody including a man has a right not to debate somebody that is looking for trouble instead of debating the issues. If the condescending remark comes during a legit debate, the person, in this case the man should be called out on it immediately. If a woman is harassed or insulted during a debate she should immediately call the other person out. If I as a man, is subject to a woman playing the card, during a debate, ie identity politics, because I am a man I am wrong, I will call her out. It is not rocket science.
Jack Connolly (Shamokin, PA)
Political debates (especially televised ones) are NOT true debates. Real debate wrestles with grand ideas. Debaters present arguments composed of evidence, facts, and logic. Debaters treat each other with respect. Most important, they play by the rules. Televised debates are all about spectacle--whatever makes for "good optics." During the last Presidential "debate," Mrs. Clinton tried to talk about the issues, while Mr. Trump looked for "gotcha" moments. Mr. Trump stalked Mrs. Clinton around the stage, inserting himself into every camera angle, to demonstrate his male prowess, conquering the hapless female. And the Trump's audience ate it up. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is under no obligation to debate Mr. Shapiro, and for good reasons. He is not running for office. He is also not interested in debating the issues. He just wants to make her LOOK BAD. He would sneer and condescend and "mansplain," in order to make her lose her temper on camera. And if she did, then Mr. Shapiro would turn to the audience and say, "She doesn't have the calm temperament needed to be an elected official." Game, set, and match. I've coached high school speech-and-debate for 20 years. Many times I've seen male debaters insult and denigrate their female counterparts, because the "win at all costs" mentality compels them to do so. I've called them out on their disrespectful behavior, too, and they look at me as if I'd fallen off the moon. The "Me Tarzan, you Jane" attitude is alive and well.
Chris G (Boston area, MA)
Shapiro isn't running for office against Ocasio-Cortez. (He's not even a resident of the district, is he?) That being the case, she has no obligation to debate him.
skeptic (New York)
@Chris G She has no obligation to debate anybody. The problem is that she is trying to become a victim when all he did was invite her to debate (whatever his motives). Given her inability to articulate a coherent platform other than tax, tax, tax and abolish ICE, it's no surprise she does not want to debate someone who knows the issues and will rip her to shreds.
jck (nj)
"Ignore, Condescend, Dismiss" is the tactic of any politician facing any other politician regardless of gender. Claiming that any criticism is racist or gender discrimination is nonsense and endangers free speech. This attack on free speech alienates moderates and independents.
Brad Blumenstock (St. Louis)
@jck You seem to have a funny notion of what constitutes "free speech."
Marie (Boston)
People return to what they know. Ignore, Condescend, Dismiss are common day to day behaviors of men toward women in business and almost everything else. Why would you expect that to change in a debate?
Bill H (MN)
We recently elected a guy who did not know what the nuclear tri ad is, and discovered nuke bombs are really dangerous after in office. His entire life paralleled the management of nuclear risks and he seemed to have missed it, does not use or understand science and thinks California is wasting water because its rivers run into the ocean. Newby's never know as much as what would be valuable to know once in office. The question is their values, it is values that determine what gets their attention when they need to choose from the dump truck load of diversions they will encounter when/ if in office.
Margo Channing (NYC)
There are men out there who feel threatened by anyone especially women who may be more intelligent than themselves. I pity those men, I guess the only way to make up for their shortcomings is to condescend to women. Such tiny little minds they have.
Steve K (Yorktown)
There are cases where this is true. But Ocasio-Cortez smartly rejected the debate due to her inexperience and lack of depth in policy. Shapiro would have picked her apart. She is young and has much to learn. Let’s not overdo it with her grasp of knowledge. Give her some time and maybe in a few years she will have the chops to debate anyone with regard to policy.
The Libertine (NYC)
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez doesn't have to debate Shapiro; most certainly not. However, the media (NYTimes included) have targeted a spotlight on her in a such a way as to crown her the rising star of the left. Having now been knighted, as such, she is a fair and reasonable target of focused criticism. Mr. Shapiro might be a snarky know-it-all, but to suggest he has "bad intentions" because of his gender is absolutely out of line. And, dare I say, sexist.
Lively B (San Francisco)
@The Libertine He did have bad intentions - he's an alt-right pot stirrer and wanted to take her down. She, quite rightly, declined to play his game.
Tony (New York City)
@The Libertine No, Mr. Shapiro is an entitled frat boy who doesn't have to care about issues because he has had a golden spoon all his life. If you not serious about solutions to the numerous issues New Yorkers and the rest of the country have, there is no need to listen to men who don't seem to understand what is going on in this country outside of there zip code We finally have people running for office who care about everyone not the select few. Who stand up and understand the issues. Men better wake up because the old days of males being in charge are in the rear view mirror.
Barbara (416)
@The Libertine - allow me to rephrase, Mr. Shapiro's intentions were not honourable. There there.
Woodson Dart (Connecticut)
I will say this: Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s supporters around the country have placed her on a pedestal as a key representative of the Democratic Party’s move to the left. She is traveling the country in support of other candidates and like it or not has become somewhat of a celebrity. IMO this makes you fair game for a debate request like this. Ms Ocasio-Cortez; Please...Just simply turn down the invite and skip the “cat call” references that just keep the story in the news which has no value added for you or your Bronx constituents. You’ve won the election! Focus now on constructive relationships in Congress and building a well run and corruption free organization within your district to help your BRONX constituents. God knows that need is. Leave Hawaii to the Hawaiians.
SLBvt (Vt)
Since when have men in the public sphere ever felt obligated to exposed themselves to attacks simply because someone "wanted" them to? Never. No one would have been "outraged" if a man turned down Shapiro's thinly veiled excuse to embarrass and humiliate. Ocasio-Cortez is not willing to play that game, and I hope other women take a page from her book.
spodvoll (Northville, MI)
Indeed. Women candidates face inequity. But there are still plenty who could intellectually and rhetorically wipe the floor with a Ben Shapiro. OTOH, it would be difficult to debate the astoundingly uninformed Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and *not* appear condescending.
Al Cafaro (NYC)
Ms.Cortez would do well to quietly run within her district, win and learn. She is not ready for even a serious national television interview. She should have ignored Shapiro’s invitation without response. Yes, male politicians use their power to over power opponents when possible and women who go up against them should expect this gamesmanship. Incumbents never want to debate. Yet women are running and do win. This article is yet another albeit, small reveal of the “woman as victim” argument. Although resonating historically this dog whistling is not useful in modern politics. It’s perpetuating weakness.
Amelia (NYC)
But that’s the point, women are not staying silent and ignoring the obvious sexism these days. And it’s making men batty, which is understandable. Women can, and now will, call out this behavior for what it is. It is good!
charles (new york)
@Andrew " I’m counting on women to carry the torch of liberty since my white male demographic has largely abandoned principles of equality and democracy in favor of clinging to power." the problem with the Left has always been they don't want equality of opportunity but equality of results. then you eventually up as in Venezuela. people are equal as in equally poor and starving, while the leaders at the top are richer then Croesus.
Orange Nightmare (Right Behind You)
@charles Always “Venezuela” never Denmark. We are the greatest country on earth. No need to assume the worst.
CitizenSissy (Philly)
Equality of results on the Right? So all the initiative and talent is concentrated on a narrow subset of wealthy (often through inheritance) older white guys, to the exclusion of everyone else. Got it.
Mark F (Ottawa)
She compared his debate/interview request as tantamount to catcalling....it was bizarre. It's true that she had no obligation to accept the invitation, and it was probably wise as well, considering how gaffe prone the woman is. If she can be stumped on questions by rather friendly or soft interviews as she has been, it would have been unbelievably cringe worthy to watch her with Shapiro. If you dislike Shapiro, you cannot deny he is a fantastic debater, and devastatingly quick on his feet. Yes, if I were advising her I'd rather have her committed temporarily to an insane asylum than put her on a stage with him. It would be less damaging.
Amelia (NYC)
If you don’t see the connection between cat calling and his “offer” then you need to dig deeper into the architecture of misogyny.
Tony (New York City)
@Mark F country has real problems, not willing to listen to the endless round of debates. Debates with no solutions do not do anything to provide health care for all, help seniors, etc. We need a smart person who is going to commit to caring for her district. Yes she has a right to hep others win because it is going to be a wave of caring people.
Gottfried T (NY, NY)
@Mark F Shapiro is terrible at debate, he has no clue what he is talking about, and his arguments are all logical fallacies. You cannot both deny that his request was catcalling and then admit that there was no reason or obligation for the debate. He repeatedly harassed her for a debate publicly, and had a fit when she dared to ignore him. He's a creep and you have no idea what women put up with.
Amanda Schwartz (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
I think the issue Shapiro had with her is that she does not have much in-depth knowledge about foreign policy and domestic issues. Like many on the Left, she repeats the phrases without a lot of substance. Israel is BAD! Capitalism is BAD! Democratic Socialism is GOOD! And we’ll just make companies pay up until everything is FREE! I think she came to Shapiro’s attention and earned his derision after she came out of an interview having admitted that she ‘didn’t know a lot about the subject’. Some of his criticism of her is certainly justified. She is young and charismatic, she is relational and inspirational. And already she is being used by the likes of Bernie Sanders to appear at national rallies promoting the hard Left. I personally think she could stand to focus on the issues facing her constituency and less on playing the role of the rising star.
Kate (Philadelphia)
@Amanda Schwartz Are you writing about HER (doesn't she even get a name?) or 45? The Left or the Right?
Amanda Schwartz (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
@Kate Interesting! Numerous male male commenters have responded to the article using ‘she’ to refer to the subject of the article on which we are commenting. And yet you only reply to a female commenter. Hmmmm....
Norville T. Johnson (NY)
Well said. It’s shameful that whenever the opposition speaks out about someone on the left’s position, the Times and other’s say it’s due to racism or sexism. It’s never about the actual position that one is expressing. To paraphrase a saying attributed to Freud , “sometimes a bad position is just a bad position.”
Cranston snordDo (Elysian Fields, Maryland)
Do I understand this correctly? It is sexism to challenge a completely unqualified female candidate to a debate and it is also sexism for a male incumbent to refuse to debate a female insurgent? Heads it is sexism; tails it is sexism.
MJM (Newfoundland Canada)
@Cranston snordDo No - It's sexism to call a successful candidate that just defeated an anointed candidate "completely unqualified".
Rose Marie McSweeney (New Jersey)
Shapiro: "once posted a video cartoon characterizing Native Americans as savages." Wait, who's unqualified again?
Jr (Lund)
@MJM You are saying a candidate can't be unqualified just because they won? Unqualified means unqualified for office, not unqualified to lure voters.
Observer of the Zeitgeist (Middle America)
Politics is a bare-knuckles brawl, not a T-ball league where all the well-monitored children get participation trophies. If she gets her wish, within 150 days or so Ocasio-Cortez will be debating Paul Ryan, Justin Amash, and any number of other Republican Congressmen who are just as smart at Shapiro or Candace Owens. Her appearances on CNN and especially Firing Line were intellectually piteous; around the same level of wisdom as Sarah Palin with Katie Couric. Those appearances are what prompted Shapiro's challenge, along with the fact that Ocasio-Cortez has traveled the country already -- as a candidate, not even an elected official -- as the "new face of the Democractic Party." If she cannot stand the heat, then she should exit the furnace room.
Arthur Larkin (Chappaqua, NY)
So it's sexist when male candidates refuse to debate, and it's sexist when a male pundit asks for a debate? And the distinction is that only if a male is running against a female is it appropriate for the two speakers to debate issues? Otherwise it's all a scheme by men to demean women? Okay, now I understand. Thanks for the enlightening piece.
Rose Marie McSweeney (New Jersey)
Actually, yes. The individuals' responses (or not) to the politicians are the inverse of what they should be. The article describes *candidates* who seem to consider themselves entitled to ignore opportunities/obligations to engage with their opponents in the service of the electorate, and a *huckster* *insisting* that a politician bestow attention on him--diverting her attention from her legitimate obligations--even though he himself is not running for office (and while offering her money . . . ). As Carol Gilligan observed decades ago, it's a phenomenon whereby men are encouraged to perceive rights (to women's attention, when they demand it) while women are perceived to have obligations (to bestow their attention on men, when they demand it). If one sees a contradiction here, it is only due to a misperception of equivalence between the situations. Indeed, the inversion is telling. Kate Manne's work in this area is also informative. It can be hard to follow if one has not developed the requisite expertise, but fortunately, there are those who have.
Cranston Snord (Elysian Fields, Maryland)
Ms McSweeney: Must one have mastered Orwellian logic to agree?
Arthur Larkin (Chappaqua, NY)
Thanks for proving my point, cloaking your comments in supposed "requisite expertise" that only yourself and a few "fortunate" others possess.
Dan (NY)
Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between politicians being sexist and their general obnoxious attitude towards opponents. Regardless, in light of #MeToo, the Catholic Church scandal, etc., I will tend to prefer female candidates until women make up at least half of our government.
Kat (IL)
Breaking news: Rachel Maddow offers to debate Ted Cruz and all the men in the NYT comments section agree that he should accept.
AnnaT (Los Angeles)
Or Marco Rubio, for that matter.
Rose Marie McSweeney (New Jersey)
@Kat Or Jeanine Pirro? (Not sure about putting Maddow and Shapiro in the same bin. trying to think of an energetic, enlivening, male GOP candidate . . .)
Samuel Russell (Newark, NJ)
@Kat Of course he should accept!
Seth (Louisville)
You could avoid the torturous contortion laid out here by acknowledging the simple truth that people running for office should be willing to discuss and debate the issues. Bellafante interestingly failed to mention that Ocasio-Cortez walked into Crowley's office, unsolicited, to challenge him after he repeatedly dodged her offer to debate. But the more I watch Ocasio-Cortez in interviews I think I understand why. She doesn't have much to offer. Many will dismiss that as a double standard. Wrong. She's like most other politicians, yes, white males included- uninformed, incompetent, and motivated by all the wrong reasons.
Ginia (New York)
AOC was ruining against Crowley which was why she kept challenging him to debates. Ben Shapiro is not a candidate.
Seth (Louisville)
@Ginia If I was a Democratic Socialist I would jump at the chance to debate Ben Shapiro to showcase DS's positions. A politician confident in their ideas and positions would seize the opportunity, not run for it. I'm sorry but she's simply the wrong person to bring democratic socialists into the aminstream.
Liz (Raleigh)
Why should she have to debate this clown? Does he care about her district? Does he have any goal except to make her look bad? She was perfectly willing to debate Mr. Crowley. The number of patronizing and classist comments here illustrates the validity of the columnist's viewpoint.
skeptic (New York)
@Liz Unless you are part of the Oxford debating team (and probably that should not be excluded), the purpose of any political debate is to make the other person look bad. She could decline, saying simply she will debate anyone she is running against. It was her claim to victimhood as a result of this challenge that has opened her up to well-deserved ridicule.
Liz (Raleigh)
@skeptic -- starting your invitation with "hey girl" is sexist and dismissive. Would he invite Bernie Sanders to debate with the phrase "hey boy"?
David (Tokyo)
"Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, of course, is under no obligation to debate someone who is not running for anything." This is true enough. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is free to do as she pleases, of course. Ben Shapiro is a superb speaker and, no doubt, a brilliant debater, so it is just as well that she stays away. What is less clear is how the public is served by a candidate who lacks the ability to think on her feet and seems uninformed on economic and foreign policy. There will be many who will support her on the strength of her name alone and then others who might go for her looks. I would recommend that along the way she consider cultivating some of the strengths Hillary Clinton has exhibited, namely, the ability to go toe to toe.
ej (Granite City,)
“on one of those he sent a surrogate, Annabel Palma, a former City Councilwoman, which left the impression that the girls ought to just work things out among themselves.” It actually says that he was too big and important a guy to lower himself to debate her. Pride comes before the fall.
The SGM (Indianapolis)
I do not care what Shapiro has offered or said for it is nothing but attention getting. What really matters is whether she can stand her own in the political arena espousing ideas relevant to the governing concepts and requirements of the Constitution and representative government. By aligning herself with socialist leaning Sanders she has displayed her inability to comprehend the economics of unintended consequences. She is only a noise maker and has no political future as a leader but a follower she may be.
winchestereast (usa)
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez dealt with the over-confident, entitled and frequently ridiculous Ben Shapiro very well. He's a poser, the faux intellectual conservative, creating a forum for bogus data and discussion by equally unimpressive minds. One long thread on his site took a junk science clump of data to 'prove' that women here didn't need support or increased access to achieve in STEM fields. Their argument? That women in 'gender-equal developed countries' (e.g. USA, England) choose non-STEM fields, while women in Tunisia or other developing 'non-gender-equal' countries entered STEM fields on a par with males in their countries. Shapiro and pals' featured research ignoring the actual fact of gender non-equality in their target developed countries, and, more pointedly, ignoring the gov't push in many poor countries to test for aptitude and support/direct their ablest students, regardless of gender or economic status, in the STEM fields required for national development. Is he entitled to share the stage with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez? Because he has $10K to donate? No. She has better things to do and bigger fish to fry.
Bob (In FL)
@winchestereast Hmmm, I'm sure her "..better things to do" includes explaining EXACTLY how socialism (which has never worked) will improve on democracy, which made us the strongest nation in the world. You go girl!
AnnaT (Los Angeles)
Contempt, snark, and “girl,” nice. Definitely no sexism here!
Sunspot (Concord, MA)
I wish all the best to these bright and energetic women candidates. As far as men candidates are concerned, take your clue from John Brennan: act like an actual man, stand up to the despicable bully who is destroying our democratic institutions, and you will gain our respect. The lack of any spark of visceral American patriotism in the majority of GOP senators and representatives is outrageous, pathetic and repulsive. They are neither "leaders" nor "representatives" -- except of a deluded small minority.
Sunspot (Concord, MA)
@Jose Pieste It's more subtle. Many women in history have beautifully acted like men! For example, Jacqueline Perry in the French Resistance. And men are also capable of beautifully acting like women, e.g. Jacques Cousteau, protective of all things living in the sea. What I mean to imply, rather, is that standing up for justice against bullies and racists is a legitimate way for men to win a woman's heart. Feminism and equality do not mean that Romance must die. By the same token, part of what attracts us all to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is that she has a genuine, authentic empathy for all of her fellow Americans, in addition to intelligence and grit. Women like myself are proud of her for exemplifying a positive femininity. It's not bigoted to cherish our many complementary resources!
Maladroithomme (Cambridge)
@Sunspot Yes, Jose Pieste, there are typically male and female behaviors - or at least so identified by the general public. It is not bigoted to refer to them as such. While I admire Ocasio-Cortez for not debating Shapiro and her principled stance she likely will not win because the word "Socialist" is toxic in the US even to the Left. Second, the advocacy for "free" education and healthcare, while appealing to many, will be objectionable to the the spirit of many Americans who came with nothing from Europe and Latin America to build a life with the idea there is no free lunch. Policy making is very difficult and one cannot take extreme positions and expect to win.
Maria (Brooklyn, NY)
@Sunspot "bright and energetic women candidates". Oh how fun! Statements like these are so infantilizing: Any chance we can talk about substance and leadership when discussing non-male candidates? We are not describing applicants to grad school. We need more than "spark".
Samantha Pulliam (Boston)
“There are few things that can spark both rage and agency among women quite like being ignored.” This statement, a quote from the article, sounds suspiciously like the old familiar “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” It is offensive that an article discussing a legitimately concerning issue (the silencing and de-legitimizing if female political candidates) relies on hackneyed stereotypes of women to make its point. You can do better than that.
Bob R (Massachusetts)
I totally agree. I thought the exact same thing when I read that part or the article. Ingrained sexism
AME (NYC)
@Samantha Pulliam, thank you, I was thinking the exact same thing. A necessary and important article brought down by the very sort of stereotyping the men it is talking about uses. Might as well have said "angry woman."
Mon Ray (Cambridge)
@Samantha Pulliam After reviewing several of Ms. O-C's taped interviews I think I have identified her public speaking problems. Years ago I was on my school's speech team, which competed with other schools throughout the state. Some of my colleagues were skilled at oral arguments and were on the debate team. Others were good at giving memorized speeches that were very persuasive and were in the "declamation" category. My specialty was "impromptu," which meant giving a speech with only a few minutes to prepare and no reference to notes while delivering my presentation. Ms. O-C is a charismatic speaker and clearly would do well in a "declamation" event. However, her demonstrated inability to think--and speak--on her feet makes her ill-suited to compete in "debate" or "impromptu" situations. Also, she seems unaware of, or barely able to articulate, basic economic, political and social concepts, relying instead on trite slogans or sound-bites. While more capable handlers may be able to do a better job of preparing her for impromptu interviews, they have a steep hill to climb. This has nothing to do with gender. Ms. O-C has been presented, and presents herself, as the new hope of the Democrats and thus is obliged to respond to any and all who question her political positions. I am sure Mr. Shapiro would have offered a similar debate challenge to any male politician presented as the new face of the Democratic Party. Advice to Ms. O-C: Avoid debates as long as possible.
MIMA (heartsny)
Debate? I will never forget Trump walking around stalking Hillary Clinton on stage like a prowling animal. No one stopped him. No one prevented that grotesque, inexcusable scene. What woman in her right mind would ever want to be part of that? As far as many of us are concerned, Trump changed the meaning of the word and event “debate” into a classless inhumane cheap show. (which really describes his presidency as well) Women can get out their intelligent messages in many other ways, other venues. And they will. No “debate” needed or required.
Charlie L. (USA)
@MIMA No debate needed. I love that. In other words, unquestioned authoritarian rule. Don't ask questions.
Kat (IL)
Yes indeed, that is what Trump is aiming for.
Kaari (Madison WI)
Then there were Trump's derogatory comments directed towards Republican Carly Florina.
Ben (Michigan)
She handled that well. The problem with the whole situation is that Ben Shapiro, whether you love him or hate him, is incredibly good in a debate. It’s like Kyle Korver challenging Demar DeRozan to a three point competition. What’s the point? We can logically assume that Ben Shapiro would win a debate because that’s his strongest ability. It wouldn’t make him right, it wouldn’t make him better equipped to make the world a better place. We’d just end up with a vapid “burn” video” for him and his followers to get all hot and bothered over as they sit in their parent’s basements eating microwaved pizza rolls trying to figure out how the oppressed white male can carve out a meaningful existence in this crazy backwards world we’re living in.
Rharnick (Manhasset)
Perhaps u did not see Shapiro debating Bill Maher about the Russia investigation none to impressive.
Gottfried T (NY, NY)
@Rharnick I'm convinced half of the comments here are Ben Shapiro under different aliases. He's done it before.
DAS (Los Angeles)
@Ben I've seen Mr. Shapiro debate and discuss with others and he is pretty skilled at it but not in a good way. What he is very good at is talking loudly and over you so you can't get a word in edgewise as well as being highly condescending. When it comes to substance, not so much.
redweather (Atlanta)
Mr. Shapiro has nothing to lose and everything to gain with his debate offer. Although I wish more of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's claims were better supported supported by facts, she has nothing to gain by debating this guy.
Janet (Here And There)
Good for her! And reading the comments shows how many men don’t get it. Debates became a circus for egotistic men. Ladies, please be yourselves and find your way of enhancing democracy. Don’t play their childish clownesque games. Who cares about a debate with an opponent, are we in Rome’s Coliseum? Let the media find different ways to make money on the back of democracy. Get away from the male models as society shows when they’re the unique model, we go into a wall.
William (Georgia )
@Janet debat is central to our republic and to the democratic means of shaping our national views and values in a ever changing world. It’s what you and I are actively participating in now. I do not see how you can consider the practice a circus for egotistical men.
Jan (NJ)
Ms. O. Cortez may have won in NY but that and her persona will not do well on a national level. Gender/identity politics do not work on any level. Ms. O. Cortez may have strong socialist opinions but debates for her look doubtful. She is uneducated and not it is apparent she is not very bright. She is icing and no cake. As for Ms. Ferraro, her tough NY attitude was a total "turn off" to many people.
Woodson Dart (Connecticut)
No value added for her whatsoever. In his nearly 30 year in Congress I doubt LBJ debated anyone even once. Sam Rayburn...doubtful. I get it...those were different times although in the 19th century, debates were almost as popular as football is today.
winchestereast (usa)
@Jan You made it gender politics. Ms O-C ran on issues. May need some work. Does not seem disposed to ignore bona-fide experts in complex issues. She'll be fine.
Mary B (Cincinnati)
I’m a middle aged woman from “flyover” Ohio, and I think she’s a potential political star. She’s smarter and more articulate than my current Congressman, and she’s light years beyond our president.
Midwest Josh (Four Days From Saginaw)
Shapiro was out of line offering to pay for a debate, plus he’s a bozo. We shouldn’t, however, use Ms. Ocasio-Cortez to make the intended point of the article. She has shown many times she doesn’t have a solid grasp of today’s economic or political realities. Unemployment is low because people have two jobs? Huh? I’m not sure any man with answers better than hers wouldn’t be labeled misogynistic by the left. Difficult spot to be in.
Andy Makar (Hoodsport WA)
I think you miss the bigger point. At the bottom rung, people do need multiple jobs just to survive. The economic reality is that everyone is working harder, being more productive and the only people getting the increased benefit are those at the top.
msd (NJ)
@Midwest Josh The republican members of congress don't display "a solid grasp of today’s economic or political realities" when they pass huge tax cuts for the rich, deny the existence of climate change or take dirty money from PACS and the NRA. Pot, kettle, black.
skeptic (New York)
@Andy Makar No Andy, the bigger point is she has no idea what the unemployment statistics mean. You can justify her gaffe in any way you want, but to ignore it is to be patronizing.
Julie (Columbus)
This was a taunt, like Bobby Riggs to Billie Jean King. There's no reason for a serious candidate to respond to a non-opponent's request for a debate.
Arthur Larkin (Chappaqua, NY)
She's putting herself out there a a spokesman for the Democratic Party, unfortunately for Democrats, so it's not surprising that conservative pundits would want to debate her. Her response to the invitation confirmed what's obvious: She won't debate because her grasp of the issues is weak at best. I'm voting Democrat this year, by the way, and have since 2008.
Observer of the Zeitgeist (Middle America)
@Julie, Billie Jean King accepted, beat Riggs in three straight sets, and arguably struck the strongest blow for women in a long, long time. Ocasio-Cortez has nothing to fear from matching up against Shapiro or Candace Owens except her own abilities.
AnnaT (Los Angeles)
As far as I know, she hasn’t declined invitations from other *candidates* on these grounds. But why in the world should she debate Shapiro?
DHEisenberg (NY)
If Mr. Shapiro got his way, he'd might end up disappointed though he is probably much better politically educated than her. He wants to show that she is uneducated about policy, perhaps unintelligent. But, the host is unlikely to be Sean Hannity, and whoever hosted the event could easily put a thumb on a scale for her. Many people care only about who is speaking - that is, their supposed identity - is the speaker, white, black, male, female, gay, straight, conservative, liberal. That's how they decide who won a debate. Or, even if someone is singularly unintelligible, did they get off a good one-liner (whether practiced or not)? The media prefers this. I blame them foremost for the spectacular embarrassment of our debate system - they can control the microphones and insist on fair rules which give everyone a fair chance. I've learned that when I watch a political debate, what I think should matter - logic, knowledge, speaking ability and the like - doesn't. What really matters is - does the audience think someone is on their side? Many ways to improve our presidential debates would ruin them for most people and pols: Give everyone the same amount of time. Make them answer the same questions. Don't ask questions designed to make the debaters fight with one another by having them comment on one another's statements. Note when they do not answer a question. Get rid of this idiotic rule that you get to speak when another debater mentions you.
Andrew (Philadelphia)
I can understand why some folks didn’t like Hillary, but I’ll never get all the bile they spewed and hatred they harbored - all the ‘reasons’ just never made that much sense. On closer examination of anyone’s antipathy, it always stunk of misogyny and deeply-ingrained chauvinism cloaked in some kind of ethical standard that seemed to be applied only to her. Ocasio-Cortez seems to be getting the same treatment and I can’t say it isn’t just as vile. As for me, I’m counting on women to carry the torch of liberty since my white male demographic has largely abandoned principles of equality and democracy in favor of clinging to power.
Texas Liberal (Austin, TX)
@Andrew Hillary (1) sold her soul to Wall Street at $225,00 a pop, and (2) discarded Middle America as not worth campaign stops. Not even one in Wisconsin; why bother? It's just another impediment in journeys between those that matter, on the coasts, just a flyover state. (And the South? Fly on by!) She inspired her opposition into voting for Trump, not that they loved him, but that they were furious at being labelled as "deplorables." I blame her, and her alone, for Trump being president. That is how she will be remembered in history. I hope she reads this, particularly that last sentence. Thanks, Hillary.
CNNNNC (CT)
Ocasio-Cortez does not have to debate Shapiro. She is not running against him but she does have to debate her opponents and possible future colleagues on the issues with absolutely no special consideration to her gender, ethnicity or age. She's a representative of her constituents; a public servant supposedly not an unassailable celebrity.
me (NYC)
This article is biased and wrong headed. If we continuously shine a spotlight on all the injustices of gender, we will never get past using it as an excuse and a weapon. Whether you are male or female, your debate partner's job is to destroy you through arguments and attitude and win. Using your gender to avoid testing your policies and personality is a sign of weakness and smacks of entitlement. Ocasio Cortez is fluff.
Columbarius (Edinburgh)
So the sole female example who refuses a debate from someone she isn't even standing against is 'fluff', but you have nothing to say about the examples of men who refused to debate their female opponents? Also, it would appear you are happy to 'shine a spotlight on all the injustices of gender' when you can use it to call a woman fluff, but you feel perfectly happy to criticise people for using their gender as a sign of weakness and entitlement. Aren't you doing there what you decry in your first paragraph?
SMK NC (Charlotte, NC)
Wow, You make a good point only to 1) miss another and 2) undermine yourself with gender denigration. Yes, we need to stop using gender as some metric of competence, but culturally the topic continues to manifest itself in real and unequal ways of income, capability, and representation in the market and in government. Yes the object of debate is to defeat (not necessarily “destroy”) your opponent using well structured facts and logic. As we’ve seen in many prior political debates, attack, innuendo, and screaming are more common tactics, often obscuring any fact based discussion at all. But in American politics, debates are generally reserved for the candidates. While candidates may have many other venues to obtain media coverage, express their views, and gain exposure, they’re not obligated to “debate” pundits who, in this day and age, are rarely interested in real discourse, but more interested in finding ways to publicly embarrass their invited “guests.” So she owes Shapiro nothing. No candidate owes any talking head anything. And there’s little precedent for a civil discussion should she or any other candidate accept such an invitation. But ending your letter by saying the candidate is “fluff” is a weird way of supporting your argument that we should get off the gender issue. It’s insulting, same as she’d probably get in any “debate” with a pundit and, worse, it’s hypocritical as hell.
msd (NJ)
@me Oh, please. The male, republican members of congress are such cowards, that there are videos all over YouTube of them running away from their constituents. How about testing their "policies and personalities", which consist of taking Russian money via the NRA.
Lynn Harris (Brooklyn NY)
As always, and already, many of the comments here serve to do little other than prove the writer’s point.
SteveRR (CA)
@Lynn Harris Ironically many of the comments illustrate the misandry of 'everyone knows... mansplaining' without actually engaging with the stated arguments or facts. Exactly as Ocasio-Cortez is wont to do.
Mike (Little Falls, NY)
Isn’t that the same playbook for men debating men? It’s a debate, not kindergarten.
Stephen Reichard (Portland)
Anyone who postcards depicting native Americans as savages and Christopher Columbus as a civilizing force is not worthy of the time of day. Sorry. No apologies, no excuses.
Dwight (Cairns, QLD Australia)
So, what about the debate challenges from Katie Pavlich, Kaya Jones, Allie Beth Stuckey and most importantly Candace Owens? She's running away from these women as well. Perhaps Ocasio-Cortez just isn't up to it.
Michael (New York City)
@Dwight Any of the above are welcome to run for office to represent Queens and the Bronx. When they can demonstrate that they stand for more than Fox-funded fringe views they can earn the right to be part of a legitimate public debate. Given that, with each, their greatest accomplishment is having acquired a robust Twitter-bot following, they're clearly not up to it.
Hazel (New Jersey)
@Dwight Have no idea who those women are but Owens is an insane liar. Are these women running for office? How do you think AOC is? She is not running to indulge every nut job's fantasy of scoring career points by knocking her out. If politics has become nothing more than a WWF match, it's because men have set it up that way. Maybe to keep women out.
merc (east amherst, ny)
The primary way the Republican Party confronts opponents has been to get out in front on issues early in the battle, thus successfully placing their opponents on the defensive from which they spend way too much time and money playing catch-up, most of the time never regaining their footing. For instance, from the first moment Hillary Clinton set foot on the public stage in the 90's, as her husband effectively ran for president, she's had a target that remains on her back to this day. And make no mistake about it, after two and a half decades, yes!!!-decades, under assault and continually in the public eye, and by simple attrition, crippled her, ultimately a reason for her continual loss of credability during the waning days of the 2016 election. The only way to survive this is for the Democrats to form 'think tanks' whose sole purpose is to get out in front on issues. It may sound simple but their history of failure at getting out in front has been non existent at best.
merc (east amherst, ny)
@merc My last sentence should read, "It may sound simple but their history of getting out in front on issues has glaringly fallen short over time."
Amy (Brooklyn)
Apparently, Ocasio-Cortez believes that being asked to answer tough questions and explain her opinions in detail is a sign of "bad intentions". After all, it's much easier just to skate along as a media darling,
emilyb (Rochester NY)
But why should she have to debate Ben Shapiro? She’s not running against him. He’s just a right wing hack. His offer to her of $10,000 was gross. And again, he’s not her opponent. I think she was right to dismiss the offer.
Charlie L. (USA)
@Amy That she cannot handle any debate, with women or men, because she's not nearly bright enough to handle challenges to her 'ideas', is so clear as to be painful. I'm embarrassed to even watch her.
neal (westmont)
@emilyb She obviously thinks she is deserving of a national media platform. With that comes the challenge to prove her ideological chops. If she doesn't like Shapiro, Candace Owens offered $100K to the charity of her choice - and was also turned down.
Joe Paper (Pottstown, Pa.)
If she knew her subjects, and has confidence she would have accepted the debate invitation and won. No problem though as she will go to congress and give Republicans ammunition for her entire term in office.
Melissa (USA)
I'm not sure you saw the 2018 presidential debates, but in American politics such as they are today knowing your subjects != winning a debate.
Kate (Philadelphia)
@Joe Paper He's not running. Can you imagine a male candidate accepting a debate with a female who's . . . not running?
Victoria (St. Paul MN)
@Melissa, If knowing your subjects equals winning a debate, Hillary Clinton would be president.
Frank (Boston)
So it is ok for women to ignore and dismiss men (Ocasio-Cortez), but not vice versa (King). And this is progress.
Charlie L. (USA)
@emilyb Because he's got a large audience and she could get her ideas out to millions more people. Or to give the 10k to charity. Or to undermine the ideas of a conservative man in public. The truth is she's not nearly up to the job, she was elected for her looks and color, she knows it and she's scared of being outed.
Dave (Philadelphia )
To illustrate whether or not she truly understands what she is campaigning for. It will come out sooner or later. Better to prepare now, than on a larger stage in the future. But when she doesn’t understand basic economics like the Laffer Curve, which run counter to her policies, I can understand why she would not want to debate.
emilyb (Rochester NY)
She’s not running against Ben Shapiro. Why should she debate him?
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