The election of Donald Trump upended a lot of political conventional wisdom, including any notion of what a president could or should be. With Trump in office, we were forced to confront the simple truth that a president could be boorish, functionally illiterate, too online, a Patriots fan, an alleged rapist, etc.
This, while bad and humiliating, also presents an opportunity. If the office of the president is no longer beholden to false notions of dignity or competence or having a comprehensible center of gravity, then what else is possible?
We could have a president who thinks military intervention should be a last resort. A president who believes a profit-driven health care system is immoral. We could, I realized over the weekend, shockingly and with the clarity of vision that comes from seeing the perfect image, have a president who shops at Ross Dress for Less.
expand to see why this is the most relatable pic of a presidential candidate u have ever seen in your life pic.twitter.com/sYMltdMNB3— josh androsky (@ShutUpAndrosky) February 22, 2020
As a nation, we all deserve nice things at a price we can afford. Yes, you may find endless racks at Ross overwhelming and the merchandising distracting, but you know who successfully shops there? Those with a clear sense of who they are and what they want. That’s what it takes to leave the store with pants that fit and not a jumpsuit that sort of makes your boobs look weird but honestly it was 80 percent off how could you say no. That kind of vision can build a wardrobe. That kind of vision can build a movement.
I grew up shopping at discount stores, and for much of my life I yearned desperately to never have to do it again. The mere thought of a K-Mart would make me flush with embarrassment, remembering the acute awareness that what I wore to school wasn’t cool or good enough and that the girls in Club Monaco sweatshirts would always look down on me. To imagine a politics centered around the needs of people who wear off-brand Keds is funny, yes, but also legitimately moving to me. To say, with utmost sincerity, “paying full retail does not make you a better person” would mark a long overdue sea change in how we conceive of ourselves.
I like to imagine Sanders and his wife Jane sauntering confidently into the bargain retailer, sure in the knowledge that they will find some nice slacks at a good price, and maybe some deeply discounted Valentine’s Day candy. Imagine him brusquely flipping through the clearance rack, laser-focused on the task at hand, barely registering last season’s trend pieces and narrowing in on a durable basic. Tell me this is not a man you want standing up to oil and gas executives wearing bespoke Brioni.
For too long we have been cowed into blindly following those who buy from regular Nordstrom, and not Nordstrom Rack. Now is the time to build a strong coalition of Burlington Coat Factory shoppers, Kohls cash collectors, and Maxxinistas. Together, we can reimagine what is possible. We can build a better world, one in which we don’t need to feel ashamed or self-conscious about where we shop.