Dec 27, 2019 - Politics & Policy

AOC's work as Sanders' surrogate triggers presidential speculation

Rep. Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) continues to be a top campaign surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), there is increasing speculation that she may be positioned as the successor to his progressive political base for the 2024 and 2028 presidential cycles, Politico reports.

Why it matters: AOC has showcased her ability to draw huge crowds of voters in many early-voting and delegate-rich states while campaigning for Sanders — as their dual events have drawn the largest crowds for any presidential candidate in 2019.

  • While Ocasio-Cortez has focused on getting Sanders to the White House, these events have allowed her to hone her own stump speech — sometimes in Spanish — and outline her own progressive vision, Politico notes.

What they're saying: "The future of the Democratic Party is not Pete Buttigieg. It’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez," Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, president of the California Young Democrats, told Politico.

  • "She has gripped the attention of fellow millennials across the country. The Green New Deal has changed the conversation on environmental action in the Democratic Party."

Yes, but: It's still too early to know where the country stands on electing a democratic socialist, even as mainstream Democrats have started taking Sanders' White House bid more seriously in recent weeks.

  • The Republican Party has been working to paint AOC as a villain since she first entered office — an attempt to drive down her favorability ratings years before the 30-year-old is even eligible to seek the White House.

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