This story might have slipped through the cracks during all of the coronavirus hysteria but it is still of the utmost importance. There are a number of observers who have been wondering when or if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will offer her endorsement for Joe Biden.
“I will be supporting the Democratic nominee in November,” she said a few days ago. It was easy to see through this statement, though. AOC is trying her best to toe the party line but it is clear to see that she would have preferred Bernie Sanders. Sanders’ rhetoric is more in line with the socialism that she spends her time defending.
When she gave an interview about her thought process recently, she said that the process of establishing party unity would not unfold quickly. In her mind, this process should not be comfortable for any of the parties involved. Of course, she was referring directly to Joe Biden at the time.
AOC also believes that the sexual assault allegations that have been levied against Biden deserve to be taken seriously. This is one of the main reasons why her support was being offered reluctantly. While all of this is well and good, she seems to have changed her tune recently.
She made an appearance on The View yesterday and all of the aforementioned reluctance has vanished. Biden is considered to be the lesser of two evils but that does not explain away her sudden change of heart. AOC now says that it is very important for the Democratic voting base to get behind Joe Biden.
Maybe Bernie Sanders is the one who got in her ear? From the looks of it, he has already decided to pivot to full-on Biden support. To be fair, this is what he promised to do from the very beginning. He is going to stick to his word and there is definitely something to be said for that.
In Sanders’ mind, the Democratic vote has one of the simplest choices of all. They can either rally around Joe Biden or they can sit back, doing nothing. Sanders is ramping up the anti-Trump rhetoric as well. He referred to him as the “most dangerous” president that the nation has had. He does not want Democratic voters to allow their disagreements with Biden’s policies to keep them from voting at all.
Could you imagine what would have happened if Hillary Clinton decided to run again? AOC and Sanders would have been left with an even more difficult decision. They may have decided to sit things out but it would have been tough for them to enable a second Donald Trump term.
While they would have been very reluctant to get behind Hillary, they do not have the same level of reticence when it comes to Joe Biden. He’s a more likable candidate, for sure. Biden also has far more working-class appeal than the Clinton family has ever been able to muster.
There is another reason for AOC’s about-face: Biden seems to be far more willing to play ball with her sector of the party. She claims that Biden has had substantive discussions about various policy-related issues. However, these discussions are not happening directly. At the current moment, her team is having meetings with Biden, in hopes of getting on the same page.
Meanwhile, a source that is familiar with the tenor of these conversations says that policy is not actually being discussed. Biden is merely looking to open the line of communication. Climate change and healthcare are the primary topics of discussion. Two new policies have already been rolled out by the Biden campaign: student loan forgiveness for low income and middle-class students and a plan to decrease the Medicare age to 60.
Ocasio-Cortez is new on the scene but she already understands the power that she wields. Why wouldn’t she trade in an endorsement for a greater level of influence over the party as a whole? We do find ourselves wondering if Biden will find ways to include her on the campaign trail. Is she going to be ready to go to bat for him in the months to come?
These are fair questions to ask. On the other hand, there are those who wonder if AOC is really the ace in the hole that she appears to be. Many Democratic voters are still moderates at heart and they are not going to want to see the party dragged any further to the left. It’s a tough balancing act for Joe Biden to pull off. We look forward to seeing him try his best to navigate the political tightrope.