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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dangles 2020 endorsement: Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren?

Janet Hook, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

It is not clear how much an Ocasio-Cortez endorsement would mean in the early-voting states that matter most: In Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, voters like to make their own judgments, and the endorsement of a progressive Democrat from New York City might not matter much.

Still, she has already succeeded in using her social-media megaphone to shape the 2020 debate and promote issues she cares about.

She called for former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland to end his long-shot presidential bid after he was booed at the California Democratic Party convention for saying Medicare for all was bad politics and policy.

She teamed up with Sen. Kamala Harris of California on a bill to expand access to federally subsidized housing. The two are not ideological soulmates but are looking for ways to promote the bill together, perhaps in a video.

Her biggest footprint has been left on the climate change debate. The Green New Deal was regarded as a wish list when Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives unveiled it earlier this year. Now it is almost a mandatory part of candidates' stump speech.

For now, progressive candidates are happy to shine in Ocasio-Cortez's reflected social media glow.

 

"Irrespective of any kind of endorsement, the fact she is often lending support for the progressive movement is so immensely helpful," said Faiz Shakir, Sanders' campaign manager. On whether she will endorse Sanders, Shakir said, "I want to respect that she is going to have her own process. We will cross that bridge when we get to it."

Ocasio-Cortez's ties to Sanders reach back to his 2016 campaign, when she worked as a volunteer organizer in New York. When she ran for Congress in 2018, in her upstart primary challenge to 10-term Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley, she was endorsed by Our Revolution, a political organization close to Sanders -- but not by Sanders himself.

After she won the primary, which was tantamount to winning the general election in the heavily Democratic district, she was enough of a political celebrity that she campaigned with Sanders on behalf of other Democrats in the midterm election.

Before she was even sworn in, she appeared with Sanders at a December 2018 forum on climate change.

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