The most prominent Millennial legislator may be bailing on the man who paved the way for her stardom. According to a report in the Washington Examiner, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who is a self-described democratic socialist, will not endorse the nation’s leading socialist for president.
Instead, she’s reoortedly considering backing Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Warren has been staging a comeback of sorts these last few weeks, crushing Sanders from behind and pulling from his base of support, just as former Vice President Joe Biden increases his lead over the longtime Vermont senator in certain key primary states. Once behind by double digits, Warren has moved comfortably into third place in the 2020 Democratic primary, commanding comfortable double-digit favorability ratings in both national and state-based polls.
In one particularly astounding Quinnipiac University poll, reported Tuesday by The New York Times, Warren was listed as the favorite candidate of those describing themselves as “very liberal,” beating Sanders by a whopping 8 points in a race he might have very easily won just weeks ago.
She’s also been cozying up to Ocasio-Cortez, imitating Ocasio-Cortez’s social media strategy and appearing in videos with the freshman New York congresswoman discussing things like “Game of Thrones.”
The pandering is paying off, the Examiner says, and Warren anticipates earning Ocasio-Cortez’s official seal of approval, even if Ocasio-Cortez is much closer on the policy spectrum to Sanders.
“One longtime Warren watcher said that it appears the senator’s campaign to win the official endorsement from the darling of progressives is on track,” the Examiner reports, adding that the “coveted” endorsement “could be the coup d’état for the heart and soul of the restless left wing base Warren is courting.”
Ocasio-Cortez has also stepped up to defend Warren from criticism, even when it means compromising her basic progressive values. Last week, Warren was the target of a hit piece that took aim at her legal career, revealing that she, at one time, charged in excess of $600 per hour to serve as a consultant on certain cases. Ocasio-Cortez rode to her side, chastizing the piece’s author (who was a woman) for her cheap shot (and her sexism, to boot).
This week, Ocasio-Cortez endorsed a plan to break up tech companies — and specifically social media companies — that’s been Warren’s legislative baby for years.
Unless things change dramatically, Sanders and Biden are the most likely competitiors for the top of the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket, with Joe Biden clearly — at this point — the favorite.
But both sects competing for control of the Democratic party — the more moderate left that believes a populist is better situated to take on President Donald Trump, particularly in the midwest, and the progressive left that wants a dynamic candidate with policy ideas easily distinguishable from Trump’s — seem to recognize that some compromise must happen to maximize the Democrats’ chances of winning. That may mean trading the unapologietically far-left Sanders as the party’s nominee for the similarly far-left but wonkier-sounding Warren for vice president.
Warren is, of course, no less threatening to economic stability than Sanders, but it’s also not clear that the Democratic party can run two white men on a ticket in 2020. After years of identity politics, it’s simply not an option.