U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attends an Eid Al Adha event at Astoria Park on July 8, 2023 in the Queens borough of New York City.

Ron Adar/Shutterstock (Licensed)

AOC says ‘boy math’ is the reason for looming government shutdown

Rep. Ilhan Omar made a 'boy math' post too.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Sep 27, 2023

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) joked on Tuesday that “boy math” caused the confirmation of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as Speaker of the House to be drawn out, and will now lead to a government shutdown.

“Boy math is needing 15 attempts to count the votes correctly to become Speaker and then shutting down the government 9 months later,” she wrote.

Ocasio-Cortez’s post refers to McCarthy’s rocky ascension to the speakership—which in January underwent 15 rounds of voting due to a fractured GOP—as well as the government shutdown that appears to be looming.

McCarthy has had to face an increasingly splintering GOP and was not elected Speaker until he made a number of concessions, including agreeing to lower the threshold for triggering a vote on whether to unseat the Speaker to only one House member.

That particular concession has come into play recently, as firebrand Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)—a longtime holdout in the 15 rounds of voting—has pushed to vacate McCarthy’s seat.

The looming government shutdown has put McCarthy in another difficult position, as working on a deal with Democrats to keep the government open would likely trigger another push to oust him as speaker.

“All hell would break loose” if McCarthy cuts a deal with Democrats, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) told Axios, adding, “Ask Gaetz, but I think [a deal with Democrats] would trigger” a motion to vacate McCarthy’s seat.

What is the Boy Math Meme?

Ocasio-Cortez’s post draws from a trend that arose following viral videos detailing “girl math,” which generally uses flawed rational to justify spending habits or large purchases. “Boy math,” similarly jokes about something not adding up, and is often used to refer in a joking way to stereotypical or negative behaviors displayed by some men.

For example, one X user joked that “boy math is how 5’10” measures 6.'” Another user wrote: “Boy math is when he does the oil changes and snow shoveling and she does the cooking and laundry and he decides they have equal workloads because they both do two chores.”

Ocasio-Cortez is not the only lawmaker to use the viral format.

Wrote Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Tuesday: “Boy math is never raising the minimum wage but still expecting Americans to keep up with the cost of living.”

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*First Published: Sep 27, 2023, 1:35 pm CDT