If you’re coming to this late and wondering from the headline whether Ocasio-Cortez might have bailed on Sanders once his campaign started to tank, you’re thinking logically — but incorrectly. This isn’t a “rats off a sinking ship” thing. AOC started inching away weeks before Biden’s game-changing win in South Carolina, back when Bernie was steaming ahead towards the Democratic nomination. Usually that’s a moment when politicians clamber onto a ship, not off. So why did she scamper?
My theory all along has been that Team Sanders saw something in their internal polling that made them leery of having her on the trail. Maybe her radicalism polled badly with undecided Democratic voters in states like New Hampshire and Nevada and they politely asked her to lie low for awhile. She *has* done occasional events for Sanders since then, appearing at a rally for him earlier this week in Michigan. But she hasn’t been nearly as visible on the trail as she was this past winter, raising the question of why.