Far-left radicals will be able to push Joe Biden (D) in a “more progressive direction,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said in an interview on Tuesday.
The New York lawmaker, who enthusiastically supported far-left Democrat socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) throughout the Democrat primary, struck an optimistic tone when it came to the possibility of a Biden presidency, telling Just the News that she believes that progressives will “likely” be able to push the former vice president further to the left.
“I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues,” she told Just the News this week, citing foreign policy and immigration as two areas in which they can “improve.”
“There are some areas where we just fundamentally disagree, but that’s okay. I think it’s important to acknowledge that we can have, in some cases, very large disagreements — it doesn’t mean that we’re trying to undermine the party or undermine each other,” she said. It means that we’re trying to do what’s best for people in the country.”
Biden has already signaled that he is willing to heed to the demands of the radical left, as was clearly displayed in the creation of the “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force” platform, which includes a return to the Paris Climate agreement “on day one,” the end of cash bail, and a halt to the construction of the border wall. The proposal also includes the creation of a commission to study and “recommend” reparations.
Ocasio-Cortez explained that she supported Sanders in the primary “because of how progressive his stances are” but stressed that the primaries are over, which means Democrats must unite around and work with Biden.
“Right now what is most important is to make sure that we ensure a Democratic victory in November and that we continue to push Vice President Biden on issues from marijuana to climate change to foreign policy,” she added, using the legalization of marijuana as a prime example but adding that they will “hash” out the details of their proposals down the road.
However, when it comes to pushing Biden further to the left on key progressive issues, such as a single-payer healthcare system, Ocasio-Cortez said she would need more help.
“That would not just take me to convince him nor any one individual,” the freshman congresswoman said. “We need a mass movement in this country. We need widespread popular support for single payer in order to get a chance at getting it done.”
“Our main priority is to make sure that the vice president is successful and victorious in November so that we can have those kinds of conversations in the first place from a more effective stance with him in the White House,” she told Just the News.
While Sanders said Biden is in an “excellent position to win this election,” he recently warned that a Biden victory in November is not necessarily a “slam dunk.”
Faiz Shakir, former campaign manager for Sanders, said the Vermont senator has been in “direct contact with the Biden team and has urged them to put more emphasis on how they will raise wages, create millions of good paying jobs, lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand health care coverage.”
Editor’s Note: At the time of publication, this story identified Rep. Ocasio-Cortez as a congresswoman from California. She serves a district in New York. We have corrected the error.