- AOC was more concerned about “Bernie Bros” during the 2020 campaign than previously known.
- As she mulled endorsing Sanders, she privately fretted that they were “very, very damaging” for him.
- A new book on The Squad also details her concerns with the “misogyny I saw within the left.”
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had more concerns about “Bernie Bros” than previously known, according to a new book.
During the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, supporters of Hillary Clinton popularized the notion that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ supporters were disproportionately aggressive, misogynistic, white and male.
Sanders and his supporters have long viewed the characterization as unfair, pointing to polling and election results showed the Vermont senator performing well among a variety of groups in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns.
During the 2020 primary, the New York congresswoman publicly acknowledged some of those concerns, even as she told the hosts of “The View” that Sanders “works very hard” to handle the issue.
But according to reporting in Ryan Grim’s “The Squad: AOC and the Hope of a Political Revolution,” the New York congresswoman thought the idea had a lot of merit — and that it was hurting Sanders’ prospects.
“Bernie’s supporters have been very, very damaging to him, and it’s really frustrating to see and experience. They don’t realize how influential they are. It’s frustrating to feel like they are hurting him,” Ocasio-Cortez said in the midst of the 2020 primary, according to the book. “I feel like Warren is scooping up LGBT, progressives, women, and progressives of color because of how they isolate.”
She also worried that the behavior of Sanders’s supporters were “forcing an unnecessary choice between class analysis and race analysis” through their “behavior, not so much policy.”
Ocasio-Cortez made those comments as she mulled whether to endorse Sanders’s 2020 campaign, even though she had worked as an organizer on his 2016 campaign.
By then an influential politician in her own right, her endorsements was seen as critical as Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts competing to claim the progressive mantle during the 2020 race. Ocasio-Cortez ultimately endorsed Sanders.
The congresswoman later said it was “not smart” for the Sanders campaign to publicize what appeared to be an endorsement from controversial podcaster Joe Rogan, saying that Rogan “alienates so many people and platforms alt right figures.”
She added that the campaign was “signing up for an insane amount of blowback” for the decision and that Twitter was “probably the worse place to amplify” the endorsement.
But Ocasio-Cortez’s concerns about certain elements on the left didn’t end with Sanders’s campaign. They also extended to what she saw as singling out of “The Squad” — a group originally made up of Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley — by elements of the left.
In late 2020, left-wing activists pushed House progressives to “force the vote” on Medicare for All, and her second term in Congress was marred by accusations on the left that she was a sellout who prioritized consensus-building and institutionalism over her progressive values — even as Sanders conducted himself in a similar manner in the Senate.
“I was most depressed at the time by the misogyny I saw within the left and how differently [the Squad was] treated,” she said, according to the book.