Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez struck a dissonant note in an otherwise well-orchestrated second night of the Democratic National Convention. The freshman congresswoman’s highly anticipated speech was devoted to seconding Bernie Sanders’s nomination. Where much of the programming celebrated the geographic and population diversity of America, Ocasio-Cortez impugned American society for its supposed misogyny, racism, and colonization. She said it was Sanders, not his rivals, who could lead the country out of its overlapping social, economic, and health crises. Unlike Sanders, however, Ocasio-Cortez said hardly a word about the actual Democratic nominee. On Monday, Sanders urged his movement to back Biden in November. On Tuesday, we learned why he felt it was necessary to be so emphatic. The reason is voters like Ocasio-Cortez.
It’s no secret that Millennials and Zoomers trend left. Racially and ethnically diverse, and less affiliated with religious institutions than their elders, the rising generation is reshaping both the Democratic Party and national politics. Ocasio-Cortez is its avatar. Her failure to endorse Biden forcefully is a reminder that, for all the inroads Democrats have made among suburbanites and college-educated white voters, the party is still worried about turnout among young people and minorities. For all the change Biden promises, it’s not enough for Ocasio-Cortez and Generation Woke.