At the virtual Democratic Convention on Tuesday night, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seconded Bernie Sanders’ nomination for president. It’s part of the procedure and pageantry of this quadrennial event: Candidates who earn enough votes in the primary have their names and the number of delegates they won recognized during the state-by-state roll call. In 2016, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard nominated Sanders; this year it was former UAW president Bob King, with an assist from Ocasio-Cortez.
A Sanders organizer in 2016 before she ran for Congress herself two years later, Ocasio-Cortez used the opportunity to acknowledge the movement the Vermont senator helped build, and to articulate its goals, including guaranteed health care, higher education, living wages, and labor rights. It was a beautiful moment, and one that was instantly distorted and spun by multiple media outlets as a snub of Joe Biden. That narrative, combined with another media-invented storyline — that the DNC first snubbed AOC by not giving her a more prominent speaking slot — has created the specter of deep and ominous divisions in the party.
So @NBCNews how are you going to fix the incredible amount of damage and misinformation that you are now responsible for?
Because a 1:15am tweet to slip under the radar after blowing up a totally false and divisive narrative across networks isn’t it. https://t.co/zf6Wqiotvv
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 19, 2020
But media coverage playing up a schism in the Democratic Party ignores the fact that Ocasio-Cortez herself has, for months, been crystal-clear about the fact that she will vote for Joe Biden — and that she thinks everyone else should too. On Instagram Live Tuesday night, shortly after the convention wrapped up, the Bronx congresswoman thanked the DNC for the invitation. “We had one minute, but I think it’s important for us to talk about the deeper issues of this election, because let’s keep it real: We need to win in November. November is about, in my opinion, stopping fascism in the United States. That is what Donald Trump represents. And in order to do that we are going to have to build a mass movement of everyday people.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who is co-chair of Biden’s climate task force, went on to reiterate her support for the Democratic nominee, while making it clear she’ll continue to push him on specific issues. “It’s possible for us to make sure that we elect Joe Biden — it’s really important — and, guess what? It’s also really important that once Joe Biden is elected, we continue our fight for guaranteed health care, we continue our fight for living wages, and tuition-free public colleges, and justice for immigrants and making sure that we’re ending qualified immunity so that police cannot kill people with impunity. We can fight for all of these things, hold our disagreements and still move the ball forward. That is why they call it the struggle,” she said, laughing. “Because it’s not easy.”
“Someone said, ‘Do you think the Democratic Party is united?'” she continued. “I think we are! When it comes to a specific issue, we are going to have our differences, one hundred percent. But I believe that in our central mission to defeat Donald Trump in November, we are absolutely united. I think everyone understands the vast importance of reclaiming our democracy. We can have debates on a whole swing and slew of other issues, but I think it’s extremely important to recognize the fascism, the very real fascism, that this president represents.”
Watch her full convention remarks: