Last week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), found herself in hot water as her impromptu endorsement of President Biden drew criticism from progressive activists.
— The Messenger (@TheMessenger) July 10, 2023
During a podcast interview with “Pod Save America,” the New York Democrat expressed her support for Biden, citing his primary challengers Marianne Williamson and Robert Kennedy Jr. as the reason behind her decision.
In her own words, Ocasio-Cortez stated, “I believe, given that field, yes. I think he’s done quite well, given the limitations that we have… I do think that there are ebbs and flows.” However, this endorsement, coming from one of Congress’s most far-left Democrats and a member of the “Squad,” did not sit well with progressives outside of Capitol Hill.
Briahna Joy Gray, former press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, criticized both Ocasio-Cortez and her ex-boss for supporting Biden’s reelection bid, referring to it as a betrayal.
Gray tweeted, “Endorsing Joe Biden now is a betrayal of progressive interests. It was true of Bernie Sanders’ endorsement & it’s true of AOC… Most Democrats don’t want Biden to run. Bernie and AOC are tragically out of step w/ the movement & the moment.”
Progressive journalist Cenk Uygur also voiced his concerns about the early endorsements, stating that the primary had not even begun and that rewarding Biden’s poor track record at this stage was inappropriate. Ajamu Baraka, a liberal activist, and organizer for Black Alliance for Peace, joined the criticism, calling Ocasio-Cortez a fraud.
While the left-wing group Occupy Democrats supported Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement, emphasizing the importance of unity within the party — they stand as an outlier in this debate.
The group’s Twitter account posted, “She’s right! Biden’s second term will be even better than his historically successful first term as long as we band together to reelect him and give him a mandate in the House and Senate.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison echoed the call for unity, cautioning against third-party candidates and emphasizing the need to reelect Biden. Harrison warned against experimentation and urged a focus on the bigger picture.
“This is not the time to play around on the margins,” Harrison stated during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.” “What we see is a lot of folks who want to be relevant and try to be relevant in these elections and not looking at the big picture that we are not going to — we got to reelect Joe Biden.”
As the fallout from Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement continues, the final picture about how this division within progressive circles will impact the upcoming elections is still a mystery. The internal tension among Democrats, as it divides the party, presents a potential advantage for conservatives in the upcoming election.