It is a truth universally acknowledged, and first put into words by Sex and the City, that first the gays, then the girls, then the industry serve as markers on the road to success. And Alex Morse, the 31-year-old mayor whose campaign challenging a 31-year Congressional incumbent in Massachusetts has garnered national headlines, has followed that trajectory faithfully. (He’s definitely the Miranda among his friends.)
First, the gays came. For him, not with him. Well actually, a few of them did come with him, and that’s what started the whole mess. Morse, an out gay man who has been twice named to Out Magazine’s 100 eligible bachelors list, had consensual relationships with college students while a guest lecturer at University of Massachusetts, Amherst,. No, not with his students. No, not with minors. No, they didn’t even initially meet while he was acting as a representative of the school. He had the temerity to meet them on dating apps, then meet them IRL. For this—and some tragic political maneuvering that even Tracy Flick would think was trying too hard—he was “exposed” as someone who used his position of power to use and abuse poor, innocent, gay 20somethings.
The open letter disinviting him from Democrat Club meetings or whatever these Preppy Handbook gays are calling their circle jerks has been proven to be wholly untrue, unfair, and very American. After all, what’s more patriotic than using fear of the unknown to stoke the flame of mass hysteria into a witch hunt? It predates the Constitution! Just ask Tituba. But responsible reporting came after the obligatory pearl-clutching of the liberal mainstream media (of which I consider myself a member, and we really need to do better! I’ll bring it up at our next meeting, right after we figure out a way to fuck up the presidential election by taking the high road), many of whom were aghast—aghast!—at the mere thought of a man, intentionally or not, taking advantage of an imbalance of power for sexual satisfaction. And every woman in the country rolled their eyes and said, “This is an Arby’s, sir.”
Never mind that the list of those with more power than a college student includes the host at an Applebee’s. Never mind that sex-shaming is ridiculous and exhausted and we now live in a world where most of us have 2-3 great naked selfies in our camera roll, and at least 15 times that many not-great naked selfies in our deleted folder. Alex, from all accounts, remained a perfect gentleman in messaging his partners. And even when the Democunts tried to entrap him, he sidestepped with rueful dignity, like the most hung guy leaving the orgy early.
But after the gays come the girls. And amid Alex’s flagging campaign enters the Joan of Arc of 21st-century America: Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, whose PAC endorsed his candidacy over that of Richard E. Neal (a close friend of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which makes it even more delicious). Suddenly, Alex Morse has been anointed as the voice of youthful, progressive, gay Teflon, someone whose almost-scandal marks him as a warrior, not as an also-ran. Maybe in this case, it’s first the gays, then the girl, then the voters.
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