Firebrand AOC dumps Biden, nominates Sanders

Sankar Ray

Twentynine-year old democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) in her 96-second address at the Democratic National Convention  pulled up  Joe Biden, warning that the Democratic nominee for the ensuing Presidential election must ignore the party’s far-left wing that  nominates  socialist Bernie Sanders as the ‘the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’. In her socialist rhetoric-heavy speech, she said, “I hereby second the nomination for Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America and defended Sanders’ movement to “repair the wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny and homophobia” and not once addressed Biden  who will be crowned the party’s nominee. “In fidelity and gratitude to a mass people’s movement working to establish 21st-century social, economic, and human rights, including guaranteed health care for all people in the United States,” she added  pointing out that the US economy as one of “unsustainable brutality” and “explosive inequalities of wealth.” 

Apparently, the preference for Biden is symbolic but she stressed  “In a time when millions of people in the United States are looking for deep systemic solutions to our crises of mass evictions, unemployment, and lack of health care, and espíritu del pueblo and out of a love for all people, I hereby second the nomination of Bernie Sanders for president”. She thanked a “mass people’s movement working to establish 21st century social, economic, and human rights, including guaranteed health care, higher education, living wages, and labor rights for all people in the United States.” 
But she tweeted on 19 August, “If you were confused, no worries! Convention rules require roll call & nominations for every candidate that passes the delegate threshold. I was asked to 2nd the nom for Sen. Sanders for roll call. I extend my deepest congratulations to  @JoeBiden - let’s go win in November.  

To be frank, AOC reluctantly pledged to support Biden in April after Sanders dropped out of the race. “I extend my deepest congratulations to Joe Biden — let’s go win in November.” Actually,   Bronx-born lawmaker has been critical of Biden in the past, and told  the Guardian in May last year in an interview  that she’d be “hard pressed” to support him in a primary. But things turned uncomfortable for the Left when Biden expressed a ‘middle ground’ stance towards the climate question.  Biden, although  comfortably leading every opinion poll, came under fire last week when Reuters reported he was pursuing a “middle ground” approach to the climate crisis. This was no unusual for one who repeatedly hyphenated from the progressives.  He hastened to  distance himself from the implication but had already strewn seeds of suspicion among supporters for the Green ideology which has been gathering increased support among the young generations. Ocasio-Cortez waste no time to snap fingers at “a middle-of-the-road approach to save our lives”. Sanders, running second in most polls, endorsed her tweeting  that there was “no ‘middle ground’ when it comes to climate policy”. Progressives find Biden’s and Republicans mutual proximity on the so-called ‘middle ground.’ 

Ocasio-Cortez, whose New York district includes parts of the Bronx and Queens, took Washington by storm, when she spoke before the  435-member House of Representatives , with a set of proposals that included a Green New Deal to combat climate change and a 70 per cent tax rate on earnings over $10m to tackle economic inequality . The majority of the house felt unnerved. New York-based political analyst Dave Handy was quick to react, “This is a race to the left. Even if people don’t like her or her policies, they will be racing to get her endorsement because it’s a progressive check mark. She embodies the general direction the party is going in.” AOC has over three 3 million followers on Twitter with more engagement than Donald Trump, Barack Obama or Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. She  cleared the air in a tweet, explaining  that it was a procedural vote and said she was asked by convention organizers to second Sanders’ nomination because he passed the delegate threshold. 

 AOC supporters were upset when that the Bronx congresswoman had only been given a 60-second speaking slot after Republicans such as former Ohio Gov. John Kasich were at the Democratic National Convention. A petition launched by progressive delegates called it “unacceptable” and argued the Democratic socialist should have been a keynote speaker. But all this were in vain. The fact remains that the Biden campaign worked hard to woo the influential Democratic socialist, appointing her as the co-chair of Biden’s climate change panel and engaging her in discussions about how they could be more progressive.

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Aug 24, 2020

Sankar Ray

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