Speaking with State of the Union host Jake Tapper, Ocasio-Cortez argued that Biden, an avowed moderate, could be pressured to adopt more progressive policies. However, she warned that defeating President Donald Trump needs to be the top priority for every Democrat.
“I don’t want us to start counting our chickens before they hatch. I think we need to focus on winning the White House period,” Ocasio-Cortez stressed, pointing out that the two presidential candidates are neck and neck in a number of key battleground states, such as Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida.
“Frankly, I think it would be privilege and would be a luxury for us to talk about what we would lobby… and how we would push the next Democratic administration.”
The congresswoman noted that a Biden administration would be more open to progressive ideas, stressing that young voters are ready to cast their ballots for the former Delaware senator. Young Americans, she said, are “pragmatic” and “realistic” about their vote, which is why they will make sure Trump does not get another term in the White House.
“There is no question that Joe Biden is a much better person in that position to be receptive… than Donald Trump,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez, who supported progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the primaries, said that it will be “critically important that the Biden administration appoint progressive leaders” to cabinet positions.
So far, Biden has successfully resisted Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives’ pressure to move left. The former vice president has, for example, refused to commit to banning fracking.
According to a fact-check from CNN, Biden suggested during the primaries that he would be in favor of banning the environment-destroying practice. He later changed his position. Notably, at the final presidential debate, he expressed support for fracking, claiming to have “never” opposed it.
Similarly, as Politico reported, amid the devastating coronavirus pandemic, Biden has refused to support universal health care. The left wing of the Democratic Party has urged him to adopt Medicare for All, the single-payer health care plan backed by Sanders and others, but he has not done so.
When it comes to cabinet positions, Biden’s transition team has reportedly started vetting Republicans. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake are allegedly being considered for various posts.