What happens when a political party picks someone on the other team’s establishment over one of its most well-known activists? Team Biden is making “ruthless cuts” to the Democratic convention speaking schedule, Politico reports, but right now it looks more like Old Guard Night. And not just the Democratic Old Guard — John Kasich will get a prime-time slot:
Bernie Sanders and John Kasich will share a night in the spotlight, and both Clintons are slated to have prominent speaking roles at the all-virtual Democratic National Convention in less than two weeks, multiple people familiar with the plans told POLITICO.
Others who’ve been tapped for coveted speaking slots during an event that’s been shrunk down to eight prime-time hours over four nights are Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Jill Biden. And it goes without saying that the party’s two most popular figures, Barack and Michelle Obama, will be featured prominently.
So far, though, one of its most popular young figures hasn’t been invited — and may not speak at all:
It is unclear whether Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first-term lawmaker beloved by progressives — and demonized by the MAGA-verse — will speak. Other prominent Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will also have roles. But given the time constraints — two hours of programming each night from August 17-20 — the Biden campaign is making some ruthless cuts. Some high-profile Democrats do not yet have confirmed roles.
That will send quite a clear message to the Democrats’ young progressives, won’t it? Joe Biden would rather promote a Republican retread than Ocasio-Cortez. That decision isn’t entirely inexplicable — Biden wants to highlight Kasich’s support as an argument against Trump, even though Kasich’s opposition to his party’s incumbent was last a surprise in mid-2015. The only people that will impress will be the reporters forced to cover this bore (and maybe the reporters forced to cover the GOP’s bore the next week).
Kasich’s not the only old establishment figure to get a speaking slot, either. The list includes one member of the Lolita Express Frequent Fliers Club, in fact:
There has been significant chatter in Democratic circles about whether the Clintons, who are both close to Biden, would have speaking roles. Some Democrats have grumbled that if Hillary Clinton earned a spot, then it’s hard to turn down other unsuccessful Democratic presidential nominees such as Al Gore and John Kerry, who is a close Biden friend.
Others have worried about showcasing Bill Clinton, who has spoken at every Democratic convention since 1980, in the #MeToo era. But several sources confirmed that both Clintons will speak.
Quick — someone check on Ghislaine Maxwell! What happens if Epstein’s pimp starts talking in a couple of weeks?
This looks like a serious snub of Ocasio-Cortez. Even if she gets a speaking slot between now and the convention, the fact that they’re not planning to give a prominent place to the most visible young progressive in the party looks like a deliberate exclusion. The DNC might still be sore over the efforts by AOC-linked Justice Democrats to target Democratic incumbents in primaries, which resulted in William Lacy Clay’s scalp earlier this week. Her legions of followers — well, platoons, anyway — are not going to overlook this snub. They’re already suspicious of Biden as it is, and using the convention to fly his establishment flag might turn them off altogether.