Democrat representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez picked up on a particular detail during Senator Ted Cruz’s extraordinary display at Tuesday’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
During the memorably absurd performance by the Texas senator – that included the question “are babies racist?” – Mr Cruz referenced several books he took issue with, including The End of Policing.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez was quick to note that judging by the condition of the book that the senator held up, it was clear that the senator had never read it, let alone cracked the spine.
The New York lawmaker tweeted: “When you’re showing off the next book you want banned with the perfect edges and everything to underscore to everyone you haven’t actually read it.”
Mr Cruz was brandishing a copy of Alex Vitale’s book that argues that the central problem with policing and racial justice is the dramatic expansion of the role of the police over the last 40 years.
In the study, Mr Vitale draws on firsthand research from across the world about the implementation of alternatives to policing, such as drug legalisation, regulation, and harm reduction, that have led to reductions in crime, spending, and injustice.
Originally published in 2017, the book was reissued in 2021 in light of the murder of George Floyd and the rise of the Defund the Police movement.
Mr Cruz held up other books including Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, and Antiracist Baby by Ibram X Kendi.
His intention was to question Judge Jackson about the recommended reading lists at Georgetown Day School, a private school in Washington DC, where she serves as a member of the board of trustees.
Mr Vitale appeared thrilled by the national (and perhaps global) platform afforded to him by Mr Cruz, gamely retweeting praise from friends and fans for the appearance of his book and thanking the Texas lawmaker for the sales pitch.
By late Tuesday evening, thanks to Mr Cruz, The End of Policing became the number one bestseller in the government and social policy, and law enforcement categories on Amazon.
Mr Vitale tweeted: “Every purchase now comes with a vial of Ted Cruz tears.”