Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez To Endorse Sanders

Not surprisingly, AOC is getting behind Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic nomination.

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will endorse the Presidential campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders later this week, as will another member of the so-called “squad” of minority freshman Congresswomen that she is a part of:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of the most influential voices among young liberals and a rising Democratic star, plans to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president and appear with him at a rally on Saturday, according to two people with knowledge of her plans.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), another member of the “Squad” of four liberal congresswomen, also announced late Tuesday that she was backing Sanders.

The surprise endorsements are a political coup for Sanders, 78, who has been fading in the polls and faced growing questions about his age and health. Before Tuesday’s Democratic debate, he had been sidelined from the campaign trail for two weeks by a heart attack.

“We’re looking forward to Saturday,” said Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez. Sanders teased the rally at Tuesday night’s presidential debate, saying he would have a “special guest” appearing with him in New York.

In a statement, Omar said she had worked closely with Sanders on several policy initiatives, including a measure to cancel student debt and another to provide year-round school meals.

“Bernie is leading a working class movement to defeat Donald Trump that transcends generation, ethnicity, and geography,” Omar said.

Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said the congresswomen could excite younger voters.

“You’ve heard Senator Sanders talk a lot about [how] the revolution is going to happen when you have a lot of young people get involved in the process,” Shakir said. “And you have a couple individuals here who I think have a unique ability to inspire young people, so we’re excited about the direction of this campaign.”

The endorsements could be a blow for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who, like Sanders, is running on a platform of sweeping liberal change and who has emphasized her role as a female pioneer. Ocasio-Cortez had worked as a volunteer organizer for Sanders’s 2016 presidential bid; she was recruited to run for Congress in 2018 by Justice Democrats, a group that grew out of the Sanders campaign.

It isn’t entirely surprising to see Ocasio-Cortez endorse the Senator from Vermont. Not long after she won the Democratic nomination for her Congressional seat last year, AOC began campaigning around the country with Sanders in support of progressive candidates for Congress. Some of their travels took them to unlikely places such as Kansas, where their success was understandably limited, to California and other places. Granted, many of these stops were as much about Sanders and AOC as they were about the candidate they were endorsing, but the alliance between someone who had served in Congress and the Senate since 1991, when Ocasio-Cortez was two years old, and a woman who had not even a Member of Congress yet notwithstanding her national stature was a natural one given how much in common the two have ideologically.

Along with Representative Omar’s endorsement, AOC’s endorsement could go a long way toward boosting Sanders’ campaign, which has been lagging significantly behind Senator Warren and former Vice-President Biden over the past month. Additionally, it will help Sanders relaunch his campaign in what will be his first big campaign rally since his heart attack at the start of the month. It will also be interesting to see the extent to which AOC in particular acts as a surrogate for Sanders and where they choose to send her. She could prove to be useful in places such as California and other post-February states where Sanders will need to perform well to keep his campaign above water in the face of what is likely to be a month in which Biden and Warren end up splitting wins in the four early states.

As for AOC, this kind of event is likely to boost her influence and prestige inside the Democratic Party generally and the progressive wing of the party in particular. As it stands, she’s likely to be able to stay in Congress as long as she wishes unless she ends up facing a surprise in the Democratic Primary. Where she goes from there will depend in no small part on the vicissitudes of New York politics. Advancement outside the House is basically impossible in the Empire State right now since both Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand have the state and national parties firmly behind them. Thus, if she wishes to advance politically she may have to wait quite awhile.

FILED UNDER: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Campaign 2020, Politicians, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. CSK says:

    I read this a.m. that Rashida Tlaib is endorsing Sanders as we. My guess is that Presley will go with the home team: Warren.

  2. Teve says:

    Fine by me, Sanders is closer to her ideology. I’m sure she will enthusiastically back Warren when Warren gets the nomination. 😀

  3. Kathy says:

    Wouldn’t she help the Democratic cause more if she endorsed Trump? 😛

  4. CSK says:

    @Kathy: You know what’s sad about this? If she did, Trump would believe it and lap her face.

  5. steve says:

    I look at that picture and I think, Nice lowlights.


  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    AOC and the posse are trying to catch a falling knife.

  7. Gustopher says:

    Do people care about endorsements? They help early on as a signal to fundraisers and bunglers, I suppose, but dona lot of voters get swayed by them?

    (I had also just figured AOC had probably already endorsed Sanders…)

  8. Kari Q says:

    I don’t think this will help AOC’s status within the Democratic party. Sanders is viewed ambivalently at best by many Democrats and much of his support has come from independents rather than Democrats. AOC is ideologically aligned, sure, and the endorsement makes sense. But if Sanders doesn’t enthusiastically support the eventual nominee (who won’t be named Sanders), AOC could be hurt by the association rather than helped.

    AOC needs to demonstrate a willingness to be a team player as well as ideological and media lightning rod if she wants to advance her standing in the party. Of course, she may be perfectly content to play the role of lightning rod; she’s good at it and she’s certainly opening up dialog that way.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    I hope she got something significant for this and for doing it right at this moment. This isn’t meant as a disparagement, but rather an acknowledgement that you need leverage to achieve your political goals and, since Bernie needed some attention getting positive press. The AOC endorsement delivers that and I hope she understands that as an opportunity to press for something concrete. “A favor to be returned later” doesn’t mean that much as Bernie is pretty much of a lone actor. He could add a vote in the Senate for something AOC championed, but couldn’t really motivate any other Senators or anyone else in political office to rally around a cause.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    Endorsement by 3/4 of the squad and a $1.25 gets you a cup of joe at Dunkins. I’m with Michael, they are trying to catch a falling knife.

  11. Stormy Dragon says:


    fundraisers and bunglers

    Was that intentional, or was it a Freudian slip?

  12. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I think this helps Warren. She is being painted as a socialist or social democrat, when in reality she is a capitalist that wants a meaningful regulatory environment for the financial sector and a baseline social safety net. She would be well within the politics of any center or center-left party in a Western democracy outside of the US.

  13. David S. says:

    Yup. Lost a ton of respect for her as a result of this endorsement. Loyalty isn’t what I want to see from someone in her position.

  14. Mister Bluster says:

    @Sleeping Dog:..a $1.25 gets you a cup of joe at Dunkins.

    Don’t know where you are but even with my AARP card good for a free donut the cheapest mug of mud I can get at Dunkin’ here in Sleepytown is $1.96 after tax with the senior discount.
    Fortunately the refills are free and the WiFi works.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I’ll confess that it has been a while since I was in a Dunkins. I have 4-5 small, locally owned coffee shops that I frequent. As much as possible, I try to support locally owned restaurants and bars, even when travelling. The exception was when I was travelling for business and on the road 125-150 nights a year, I stayed at Hilton properties, when you reach you room at 11:30 after finally arriving after a flight delayed 4 hours, it was nice to know where the light switches were

  16. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Plain coffee?

    That makes the equivalent $2.60 for a latte at Starbucks, or $2.55 at El Globo, seem rather reasonable. Of course, there are no refills…

  17. Jim Brown 32 says:

    People with Activist roots and instincts usually make for terrible politicians and leaders who can govern. Seriously, Bernie cant even be bothered to be a Democrat but has no problem using the Party to advance his personal ambitions. This is the person she endorsed…Birds of a feather.

  18. Mister Bluster says:

    Plain coffee?

    “One senior coffee please. Black, no sugar.” 88cents at Mickey D’s.
    Do you want cream? I get that sometimes from the new help.

    Cristaudo’s is one of the local coffee shops I frequent. Even when I bring my own travel cup the French Roast is $2.00.
    The place has been around for over 40 years. Click on the about us tab for a history.
    Not included is the heroic death of Lucia Cristaudo.
    She was working as a manager in a local pawn shop when it was held up at gunpoint. The thieves took two of the help, college students, as hostage. Lucia begged them to take her instead. They did.
    The driver of the getaway car took a turn at high speed and crashed into a tree. Lucia was killed instantly. The three robbers in the car survived.
    It was a very dark day in Sleepytown.
    Thousands of people were at her wake and funeral.

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: You can get a cup of joe for $1.25 at Dunkins? We don’t have any out here (10 or so went broke in Metro Portland 15 or so years back though), but that’s a bargain. A coffee out here costs $1.79 at AM/PM or 7/11 and that’s for a 12 oz cup.