Ben Shapiro, who runs a conservative podcast, challenged Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) to a debate earlier this week. If she accepted, Shapiro pledged to donate $10,000 to her campaign.
Ocasio-Cortez beat incumbent Joe Crowley, a longtime Democrat, for the party’s nomination in New York’s 14th House District in June. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, running on a platform of free healthcare and free college education for all.
Shapiro is very popular among young conservatives. He has broken the mold of the traditional conservative talk radio host like Sean Hannity, a blind supporter of the president. Shapiro, by contrast, offers a polite and principled conservative perspective. He is not a Trump supporter.
After a couple of days in silence, Ocasio-Cortez responded via Twitter on Thursday:
“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.”
Part of the problem in this country is that we are failing to talk with, and listen to, each other. In this case, it would have been refreshing to see two young people, with views as far as the east is from the west, get together in a friendly debate to talk about public policy. Shapiro was unfailingly polite in his request on video, again pledging to donate $10,000 to someone who disagrees with his perspective entirely.
In response to this, the young Democrat did not just turn down the offer; she implied that Shapiro was a sexist with “bad intentions” for even bringing up the idea.
The response was very much indicative of Ocasio-Cortez’ progressive political thought inherent within the generation that elected her. This political thought seeks to dominate the marketplace of ideas through intimidation and force. Just having dialogue with a female candidate - no matter how sincerely stated - apparently now makes one a sexist. To question Islam at all makes one an Islamaphobe. To want strong borders makes one prejudiced against all Hispanics and Latinos. To hold Biblical views regarding marriage, or refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding, makes you a bigot. This is all very unhealthy for our country’s future.
There was once a time when classical liberals favored open-mindedness and dialogue. To quote Bob Dylan, those times are a changin’. The Twitter spat between Shapiro and Ocasio-Cortez is just one in a more recent line of examples. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was forced out of a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia in June simply because she worked for Trump. Democratic Socialists - the folks who elected Ocasio-Cortez - protested against House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell outside a restaurant in Louisville.
It is clear that the Left is growing increasingly intolerant with each passing day, week, and month. They may justify this because the Right has a bully in the White House. But Donald Trump is not America, and in this case, Shapiro offered an opportunity for dialogue in good faith.
If this is what the future of the Democratic Party holds, count me out.
You may reach me on Twitter at @Bryan_Ault.