The progressive political action committee that helped elect Democratic firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress announced Thursday that it opposes former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 run for president.
Justice Democrats, founded in January 2017 in response to President Donald Trump’s election, said it would support the Democratic nominee, but called Biden “out-of-touch with the center of energy in the Democratic Party today.”
“The old guard of the Democratic Party failed to stop Trump, and they can’t be counted on to lead the fight against his divide-and-conquer politics today,” the group tweeted. “We can’t let a so-called ‘centrist’ like Joe Biden divide the Democratic Party and turn it into the party of ‘No, we can’t.’”
After months of hesitation, Biden formally announced his 2020 presidential campaign in a video on Thursday with a warning that electing Trump again would “forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation.”
“I cannot stand by and watch that happen,” he said in the video.
But Justice Democrats suggested Thursday that Biden isn’t capable of “energizing voters in the Democratic base who stayed home in 2016” and blasted his past political decisions as counter to the progressive ideals gaining traction within the party.
“We don’t need someone who voted for the Iraq War, for mass incarceration, and for the Bankruptcy Reform Act while voting against gay marriage, reproductive rights, and school desegregation,” the group tweeted.
“We need Democrats who will fight racism and inequality with solutions that match the scale of the crises we’re facing — not piecemeal compromises with corporate America and the party of Donald Trump,” they added.
Justice Democrats was created in part by progressive commentator Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks and former staffers of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign with the mission of ridding Congress of its corporate-backed members.
During the 2018 midterm elections, 26 of the 78 candidates endorsed by the Justice Democrats won their respective primary elections. Seven of them went on to win seats in the House, including freshman lawmaker Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
She told Yahoo News earlier this month that a potential Biden run doesn’t “particularly animate” her, though she said she will support whoever ends up being the Democratic nominee.
“I can understand why people would be excited by that, this idea that we can go back to the good old days with Obama, with Obama’s vice president,” Ocasio-Cortez said of Biden’s presidential campaign. “There’s an emotional element to that, but I don’t want to go back. I want to go forward.”
She added that she hasn’t endorsed anyone in the 2020 race yet, but said she’s “very supportive” of Sanders and described Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as “truly remarkable and transformational.”