As Election Day 2020 inches closer each day, about a year away, Democratic Party presidential primary candidates look to their fellow lawmakers, power brokers, unions and voices in all industries to lend support and formally endorse them for their presidential run to attempt to unseat President Donald Trump.
However, with the large and crowded primary field, endorsements have been hard to come by as many current lawmakers appear to not want to ruffle feathers and create internal party divisions over primary candidates for the White House. According to Ballotpedia, former vice president Joe Biden leads the pack with thirty-six endorsements, including five U.S. senator endorsements, three governors, and sixteen endorsements from the House of Representatives.
This week, freshman congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez formally endorsed progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders as her pick to be president. One of the more vocal members of “The Squad,” a group of four freshman progressive Democratic Party congresswomen, Ocasio-Cortez explained her endorsement in a Sanders rally in New York City alongside progressive filmmaker Michael Moore.
Ocasio-Cortez told the rally’s attendees that Sanders’s progressive credentials won her over to his campaign, “Bernie Sanders did this and fought for these aims and these ends when they came at the highest political cost in America…I have grown to appreciate the enormous consistent and nonstop advocacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders.”
But, Ocasio-Cortez received criticism from within progressive ranks in the Democratic Party for endorsing an older white male for president, instead of a younger or a female candidate such as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), or Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
It is ironic that Ocasio-Cortez was criticized by fellow progressive activists for endorsing Sanders, although Sanders’s track record illustrates his longtime progressive political advocacy and stances. Singling out a candidate by age or gender appears to be discriminatory and far from progressive ideology’s acceptance of all people. Also, Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement is ironic since she constantly criticized Congress for inaction, of which Sanders is a part of the political establishment as a long-serving U.S. senator.