“It’s just bad judgment,” the 2020 White House hopeful told Axios’ Mike Allen in an interview set to air Sunday on HBO. “You all thought that what happened was the party moved extremely to the left after Hillary [Clinton]. AOC was a new party. She’s a bright, wonderful person. But where’s the [Democratic] party? Come on, man.”
Since unseating incumbent Joe Crowley in the 2018 primary ― a man once seen as a potential successor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ― Ocasio-Cortez has emerged as one of the party’s most recognized figures. The 30-year-old’s outspoken support of democratic socialism, coupled with her status as a political newcomer, has triggered backlash from conservatives, who have painted her as a radical. Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, a moderate Democrat from Connecticut, argued in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that she is “far from the mainstream” and will “hurt Congress, America and the Democratic Party.”
Despite Biden’s claim, Ocasio-Cortez has wielded some influence within their party, notably helping to popularize the Green New Deal, a proposed set of economic and environmental reforms aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions within the next decade.
She has also received attention for her breakout moments during congressional hearings, questioning Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on user data breaches, speaking out against dark money in politics and highlighting lawmakers’ failures to label white supremacist violence as terrorism.
However, enthusiasm for more progressive candidates remains limited in battleground states ahead of the 2020 election. According to a New York Times/Siena College survey conducted in late October, Democratic voters in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania overwhelmingly preferred Biden to Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.