New York City Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declined to endorse President Biden’s 2024 re-election bid on Sunday, saying Democrats have to get through the fall’s midterm races first.
“First of all, I’m focused on winning this majority right now and preserving a majority this year in 2022,” Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the Bronx and Queens, told host Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“So we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. But I think, if the president has a vision, then that’s something certainly we’re all willing to entertain and examine when the time comes,” she continued.
Bash then pushed the left-wing lawmaker on the question, pointing out, “That’s not a yes.”
“Yes, I think we should endorse when we get to it,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But I believe that the president has been doing a very good job so far. And should he run again, I think that we will take a look at it.”
The second-term congresswoman, 32, has previously warned Biden, 79, that he risks losing the support of progressive and younger party voters, and called on him to make good on his campaign promise and use executive action to wipe out millions of dollars in student debt.
“But, this is really about the collapse of support among young people, among Democratic base, feeling like they worked overtime to get this president elected and they aren’t necessarily being seen,” she said in an interview this spring.
Ocasio-Cortez’s balking at endorsing Biden comes as a report in the New York Times on Sunday said that Democrats uneasy with the president’s lagging poll numbers and the administration’s hit-or-miss response to inflation and rising gas prices have them looking beyond the president in 2024.
The progressive darling also defended her decision to back state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in her Democratic primary challenge to Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“I think we have seen from prior primaries throughout this year that a motivated, young, multiracial, multiclass base is exactly what the Democratic Party needs in order to win in November,” she told Bash.
She brought up Greg Casar, a progressive former city council member in Austin, Texas, who won the Democratic primary in March, and Summer Lee, a state representative in Pennsylvania, who won the Democratic primary in May, as the type of candidates Democrats should be seeking out.
“When we are able to elect representatives that excite the Democratic base, that excite young people, that excite a multiclass, multiracial coalition, then that puts us in an even better position to win in November,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“I think, right now, there are a lot of voters at home that have quite a bit of anxiety about the enthusiasm right now in terms of turnout for the Democratic Party. And I think one of the best things that we can do is elect people with a proven record of being able to excite a base and turn it out,” she said on CNN.
But Bash asked her if she was “comfortable” endorsing a candidate who is running against a member of the Democratic Party leadership.
“I believe that, every single year, every single one of us as a voter has the possibility to elect a representative that best suits them,” the self-described Democratic socialist said.
She also said that lawmakers should not be “elected in perpetuity.”
“Our party’s dynamic. And, right now, millennials are deeply underrepresented in Congress, compared to baby boomers and Gen X’ers back when they were our age, frankly,” she said. “And, at the end of the day, we need to have a generational shift in the United States Congress in order for us to have a policy shift in the United States Congress.”