Bernie Sanders came to the aid of his Congress colleague, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, after Joe Biden suggested that she’s “too far-left” to win a national election, Yahoo News reports.
Biden, who, just a week ago, was the frontrunner by a wide margin to claim his party’s nomination for president in 2020, claimed in a CNN interview aired Friday that Ocasio-Cortez’ leftist platform is too extreme in order for her to win a general election.
“I think Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman, but she won a primary. In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream Democrats who are very progressive on social issues and very strong on education and health care.”
In fact, Ocasio-Cortez did win both a primary and a general election. In June 2018, as CNN reported at the time, Ocasio-Cortez beat 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th congressional district. In November, she went on to defeat Republican challenger Anthony Pappas. Her victory was one of several Democratic victories that Election Day, which returned control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats.
Biden suggested that the takeaway from the 2018 mid-term elections is that Ocasio-Cortez’ general election win, in a heavily-liberal district, was an anomaly, and that voters are more interested in center-left Democrats like Joe Biden.
“Look, it’s center-left, that’s where I am. Where it’s not is way left,” Biden said.
Biden says he might nominate Merrick Garland to SCOTUS again.https://t.co/qxlojrRvjt
So while Republicans nominate young conservatives to shift the court's balance for decades to come, he might respond by nominating a 66-year-old moderate.
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) July 5, 2019
In a tweet, Sanders — who is considered a far-left candidate — said that he and his young colleague see eye-to-eye on several key issues, some of them issues that more mainstream Democrats are afraid to touch.
“I’m proud to be working with @AOC and so many other Democrats to pass Medicare for All, debt free college and a Green New Deal. This is the agenda America needs — and that will energize voters to defeat Donald Trump.”
This is not the first time that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Biden have publicly not seen eye to eye. Back in April, Ocasio-Cortez told Yahoo News that Biden’s candidacy “does not particularly animate me right now.”
The ideological rift between Ocasio-Cortez and Biden represents a larger problem that could potentially loom within the Democratic Party. Both the party and its voters want to defeat Donald Trump in 2020, but the question of how to achieve that is far some settled. Far-left candidates such as Sanders are bringing bold ideas to the table, while more “establishment” candidates like Joe Biden believe that it’s best to avoid being too extreme in terms of policy.