There are various reasons to prefer a Biden victory tonight to one by Bernie Sanders but a low-key fun one would be getting to watch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spend the better part of the coming year in an endless cringe, forced to praise Grandpa Joe half-heartedly for the sake of party unity.

These comments to Time magazine obviously aren’t about the party uniting behind Biden. But they’ll be revisited frequently if/when Biden ends up as the nominee and millions of DSA types decide that they can’t in good conscience vote for him.

How much of an effort is AOC prepared to make personally to ensure that doesn’t happen?

While Ocasio-Cortez said she thinks Democrats’ attempts to stop Sanders are “overblown,” she suggested she could foresee a situation in which elements within the party could try to block him. “Bernie has said this, I absolutely believe this: whoever gets the nomination, we have to rally behind them, no matter who it is,” she said. “And I would hope that everybody would do so if Bernie is the nominee as well.”…

Ocasio-Cortez also discouraged Democrats from using party rules or other mechanisms to block Sanders if he advances. “I don’t think it’s a good idea for people to try to use superdelegate or other kind of subversive policies to deny anybody the nomination because it’s incredibly divisive to do so, and very demoralizing, which is a direct threat in November,” she said, adding, “The moment you start playing games trying to deny whoever is the nominee, we really start to get into dangerous territory in terms of defeating Trump.”

In fairness to her, she’s said before that she’d be willing to back Biden if the party nominates him. But even that allowance came packaged with disapproving comments about his handsiness with women. Elsewhere she’s scolded him not to call himself a progressive if he supports the Hyde Amendment; has said that the idea of nominating him doesn’t “animate” her (“I don’t want to go back [to the Obama days]. I want to go forward.”); warned Democrats that he’s “not a pragmatic choice” because so-called safe picks like Biden don’t inspire people to turn out; and went as far as to argue a few weeks ago that in a different country she and Biden wouldn’t even be members of the same party.

The same goes for the party as a whole: “Democrats can be too big of a tent.”

It is comments like that that kept Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the Democratic Party from reaching any kind of meaningful détente. I asked her what she thought her role would be as a member of Congress during, for instance, a Joe Biden presidency. “Oh God,” she said with a groan. “In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party, but in America, we are.”

“Democrats can be too big of a tent” is not the stuff of which party unity is naturally made. Makes me wonder whether she’d be willing to hit the trail for Biden next summer and, if so, how enthusiastic she’d be about it. Would the message be more “there are lots of things to like about Joe Biden, actually” or would it be more “we’re stuck with this loser but he’s somewhat preferable to the other loser”? One is obviously more likely to motivate reluctant progressives than the other. Then again, there’s a question of whether Biden would even want her on the trail for him. Given how Trump and the GOP will point to her support as proof that Biden will be captured by the party’s radical base if elected, maybe he doesn’t want her out there campaigning. Where would she even go on his behalf? Any state that’s likely to receive her warmly will be in the bag for Biden anyway.

He will want to turn out young lefties, though. Apart from Bernie himself, there’s no one better positioned to help him do that.

She wouldn’t want to campaign for Biden, but I think she would. And not just for altruistic reasons.

Close to two dozen voters who spoke to BuzzFeed News over the course of the four-stop day, including two with Sanders, said they were impressed with her — several adding that they would like to see her be part of a Sanders cabinet, and could see her running for president down the track…

Some Iowans have been paying attention to Ocasio-Cortez’s online presence and also how she’s conducted herself in several high-profile hearings since becoming a member of Congress last year.

“She’s young, but she’s an extremely astute politician, and a sharp questioner in hearings. I also really like that she pays her staff a living wage,” said Joe Balong, 47, who is undecided between Sanders and Warren. “I hope that she remains on the national stage. I would love to see her run for president one day. I think she’d absolutely be a great cabinet member.”

Bernie’s reasons when he campaigned for Hillary in 2016 weren’t purely altruistic either. He knew he might run again in 2020 and that there’d be ferocious resistance within the party establishment to nominating him. He wanted to be able to say to them, “When you needed me four years ago, I put aside my ideological differences and behaved like a team player. Now it’s your turn.” AOC will need to play the same game, not just as a matter of ensuring reciprocal loyalty if and when she seeks higher office but on behalf of the progressive congressional candidates whose primary challenges to Dem incumbents she’s supporting, whether tacitly or otherwise. Remember that she’s in a tiff with the DCCC, the Democrat group tasked with getting House incumbents reelected, because she won’t pay her “dues” to them. She resents them for their policy of not hiring vendors who have worked for lefty primary challengers, wanting the DCCC to remain neutral in intraparty fights. That is, she’s trying to build leverage for socialists amid resistance by party leaders. One way to do that is to play hardball on primaries…

…but another way would be to suck it up and campaign for a presidential nominee from the party’s center like Biden. Carrot and stick. Teach moderate Dems that there’s a penalty if they try to marginalize DSA types but there’s also a reward if they don’t. That’s what Bernie tried to show them by campaigning for Clinton. Now, per AOC, the bill has come due.