In a surprising twist to her usual socialist views on economic matters, it was reported this week that the AOC campaign has invested heavily in the politician’s online store. The store was created as an effort to increase fundraising and building the second-term lawmaker’s notoriety nationally by selling clothes and other merchandise with slogans including “Tax the Rich” and “Fight for our Future” as well as her name or “AOC” initials.
According to a Reuters report released on Monday, it was revealed the campaign had invested $1.4 million into the website paid to political merchandise firm Financial Innovations, which operates her online store and supplies the merchandise for it, according to campaign disclosures to the Federal Election Commission. According to the report, this amount has come from the first six months of 2021 alone, and nearly double her payments made over the prior two years to the Rhode Island-based firm.
Such stores and items like political merchandise gained rare popularity throughout the Trump era, which saw a marked rise in the political-style swag with the Trump “Make America Great Again” hats and flags becoming a staple of his supporters.
The push into campaign merchandising highlights the young politician’s attempt at trying to cash in on her growing popularity among the political left as well as bolster her fundraising efforts for her reelection efforts as well as causes she often champions such as, “The Green New Deal.” AOC, who has 8 million Instagram followers, has been no stranger to growing her brand through the usage of social media as well as doing videos for media outlets such as Vogue.
However, these efforts to capitalize on capitalism have not gone unnoticed with many being quick to point out the hypocrisy of it all. With $58 sweaters, some even as high as $88, and $27 T-shirts it would appear Ocasio-Cortez is well versed in the supply and demand mechanics that drive the capitalist system.
After this report was released, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez received swift criticism from those who saw her online retailer antics as “using capitalism to advance socialism.” As former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer pointed this out in a Twitter posting, AOC became noticeably and predictably defensive resulting in an exchange between the two to take place.
Spicer’s tweet drew a quick critique from the sophomore congresswoman to which brought even more critics out of the woodwork after she rebuked Spicer’s comments by proceeding to describe capitalism. The congresswoman claimed she’s not using capitalism, while simultaneously describing how she uses profits — that she says aren’t profits — from her private shop to fund tutoring and other programs.
“Not sure if you know this Sean, but transactions aren’t capitalism,” AOC wrote in response. “Capitalism is a system that prioritizes profit at any & all human/enviro cost.”
“But fwiw our shop is unionized, doesn’t operate for profit,& funds projects like free tutoring, food programs, & local organizing,” she continued.
The all too common Twitter bottle ensued will Sean Spicer adding a reply that pointed out the private sector roots of the capitalist system as well as probing AOC for a response to the growing unrest in Cuba.
Spicer was not the only one to have delivered some criticism to the actions of the New York Congresswoman. This incident prompted others to chime in on AOC’s explanation and implementation of capitalism as well.
“Even for a socialist, she’s shockingly stupid,” said popular political Twitter account Matt’s Idea Shop.
“You’ll be shocked to discover that AOC can’t define capitalism,” politico Noam Blum posted on Twitter in response. “Note her positioning of capitalism in opposition to the environment – a common tactic that enables leftists to disguise their efforts to roll us back to a Kolkhoz economy as concern for the planet.”
“The fact that AOC can source materials and labor and infrastructure for her store that conform to her worldview is solely thanks to capitalism, which enables such competition to exist in the market,” Noam Blum added.