Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday outlined key areas where she’d like to see Joe Biden move further left — as she indicated her willingness to actively campaign for the former vice president will be contingent, in part, on whether he adopts more “ambitious” policies.
Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said she’s been in touch with Biden’s team about her potential role in the campaign and urged him to shift in a more progressive direction on health care, immigration, climate change and even Puerto Rico.
“I would love to see the vice president clarify and deepen his policy stances on certain issues,” Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday morning in an interview with Politico’s Playbook. “But aside from that, you know, I think it’s incredibly important that we support the Democratic nominee in November.”
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She also urged Biden to chose a vice presidential nominee who will “push” him more to the progressive left.
“I think it would be encouraging if Biden also picked someone who’s a little bit more progressive that … he knows may push him,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
While Biden has already secured the top Democrats’ endorsements, including Bernie Sanders, former President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Ocasio-Cortez’s wholehearted endorsement is still lacking. She said in a recent interview that Biden’s campaign had not yet reached out, though that has apparently changed.
Ocasio-Cortez said she’ll support the Democratic nominee and stand behind her 14th District constituents who back Biden, but her degree of involvement with the campaign is unclear. The former Sanders surrogate has a huge platform to speak directly to two constituencies that Biden could use some help with in order to win in November — young people and Latinos.
Her involvement in the campaign will be contingent on what Biden wants and on their ongoing policy conversations, she said.
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“There are very real tangible areas where Democrats even fall short perhaps during the Obama administration that I think I would like us to have a plan to improve, particularly when it comes to Puerto Rico, when it comes to immigration, when it comes to health care for Americans,” Ocasio-Cortez said Wednesday. “I don’t think lowering (the Medicare age) to 60 is going to be enough for us.”
She said Biden needs to do more on climate change.
“We’re going to have to pursue a much more ambitious healthcare policy and climate change [plan]. I don’t think that the vice president has a climate change policy that is sufficient right now and I’d like to see us really work on that.”
Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged the disappointment among many passionate Sanders supporters, but she also urged them to face the reality that Biden is going to be the nominee.
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“At the end of the day, one of these two people are going to be president. It’s either going to be Donald Trump or Joe Biden, that will be elected president in November, and we have to live in the reality of … those choices and I know that there may be a lot of folks that are uncomfortable with that,” she said.
She spoke of her constituents in the Bronx and Queens and said the election outcome “can very much mean the difference between life and death or, you know, being separated from their children or not.”
“For me personally, [it’s] very important to be in solidarity … with the families that I represent in supporting Joe Biden.”