Justice Democrats, a group that backed Democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her run for Congress, has come out in opposition to Joe Biden, who announced he is running for president in 2020 on Thursday.
The group called Biden a member of the "old guard" and a "centrist" — apparently both bad words in today's Democratic Party.
"The old guard of the Democratic Party failed to stop Trump, and they can’t be counted on to lead the fight against his divide-and-conquer politics today. The party needs new leadership with a bold vision capable of energizing voters in the Democratic base who stayed home in 2016," the group wrote on Twitter, where it has 180,000 followers.
The group went on, saying, "Joe Biden stands in near complete opposition to where the center of energy is in the Democratic Party today. Democrats are increasingly uniting around progressive populist policies like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, free college, rejecting corporate money ... ... and ending mass incarceration and deportation. We don’t need someone who voted for the Iraq War, for mass incarceration, and for the Bankruptcy Reform Act while voting against gay marriage, reproductive rights, and school desegregation."
But the group did say it will support Biden if he wins the nomination. "While we're going to support the Democratic nominee, we can't let a so-called 'centrist' like Joe Biden divide the Democratic Party and turn it into the party of 'No, we can’t.' "
But Nate Silver, the editor of the political website FiveThirtyEight, said the opposition might not amount to much, noting that support from the group had little impact on an endorsed candidate's success in elections.
"It's probably worth noting that while this group, Justice Democrats, calls Biden 'out-of-touch' with the 'center of energy' in the Democratic Party, only 26 of the 79 candidates it endorsed last year won their primaries, and only 7 of those went on to win the general election," Silver wrote.
On its website, Justice Democrats says it is working "to elect a new type of Democratic majority in Congress, one which will create a thriving economy and democracy that works for the people, not big money interests."
"Democrats are increasingly uniting around progressive populist policies like 'Medicare-for-All,' a Green New Deal, free college, rejecting corporate money, ending mass incarceration and deportation. We don’t need someone who voted for the Iraq War, for mass incarceration, and for the Bankruptcy Reform Act while voting against gay marriage, reproductive rights, and school desegregation," the group said in its statement about Biden.
Biden entered the race on Thursday, releasing a video in which he says "we are in a battle for the soul of this nation."
"If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation," Biden said. "Who we are. And I cannot stand by and watch that happen."