Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday issued a warning to the Democratic Party to “rally behind” the party’s eventual presidential nominee or risk damaging their chances to defeat President Trump.
Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, claimed that reports that her party is conspiring to deny the Vermont independent the nomination are “overblown,” but warned Democrats against using “super delegate or other kind of subversive policies to deny anybody the nomination.”
“It’s incredibly divisive to do so, and very demoralizing, which is a direct threat in November,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with Time magazine. “The moment you start playing games trying to deny whoever is the nominee, we really start to get into dangerous territory in terms of defeating Trump.”
The high-profile progressive freshman from New York, who has been campaigning for Sanders in Iowa leading up to Monday’s caucuses, said that she hopes the party will unite behind the eventual nominee, even if it is not Sanders.
“Bernie has said this, I absolutely believe this: whoever gets the nomination, we have to rally behind them, no matter who it is,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And I would hope that everybody would do so if Bernie is the nominee as well.”
Ocasio-Cortez previously said last year that it would not be “pragmatic” for Democrats to choose former vice president Joe Biden as the nominee, arguing that picking the “perfect” and “logically fitting candidate” will not inspire turnout.
“You can be radical and you can be respectful,” she said.
Also on Sunday, former Secretary of State John Kerry was reportedly overheard discussing “the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party” and floating launching his own presidential bid in order to stop that eventuality. Kerry later forcefully denied reports that he was considering a 2020 bid.
Monday marks the country’s first caucuses in Iowa, where Sanders currently leads his 2020 rivals. Biden is polling in second place and former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg trails them in third place, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls.