Biden (and the Democrats) still have an AOC problem

Night two of the Democratic National Convention included a few more speeches that I won’t bore you with here, along with some of the necessary party housekeeping. One element of the latter was the official roll call of the states and territories needed to finalize the delegate count. Even though it was supposed to be Joe Biden’s big moment, becoming the “official” nominee rather than the presumptive one, there were two candidates who met the delegate threshold and they both had to be put up for theoretical consideration. Bernie Sanders was formally nominated by former United Auto Workers president Bob King, but the honor of seconding the nomination went to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In her one-minute speech, AOC didn’t really even give a tip of the hat to Joe Biden. She was there to finish the second failed journey of Bernie Sanders in his bid to overthrow the allegedly moderate forces of the Democratic Party establishment. And she did so in a workmanlike fashion, rallying the socialist faithful to not give up on their vision or their cause. (NY Post)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez only got a minute to speak at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night but she made it count as a warning that Joe Biden not ignore the party’s far-left wing, nominating socialist Bernie Sanders and making no mention of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

“I hereby second the nomination for Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont for President of the United States of America,” the New York Democratic socialist said at the end of her 60-second address.

In her socialist rhetoric-heavy address, she spoke about Sanders’ movement to “repair the wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny and homophobia” and not once addressed Biden, 77, who will be crowned the party’s nominee.

Probably realizing that people might see this as a sign of divisiveness inside the party (and perhaps with a nudge from some party elders), AOC took to social media afterwards. She attempted to explain that her appearance was simply a formality and part of the business that needed to be attended to.

To be fair, everything AOC said on social media was true. Bernie had more than enough delegates to break the threshold for the convention and he’d already given his leftist followers a rousing speech on the preceding night. His name had to be read into the record and his delegates recorded. But AOC’s handling of it during her single minute on the stage reminded everyone that the war for the soul of the Democratic Party is far from over. This fact is highlighted in a column from Matthew Continetti at the Free Beacon titled “Joe Biden’s AOC Problem.”

Where much of the programming celebrated the geographic and population diversity of America, Ocasio-Cortez impugned American society for its 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 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.

Generation Woke, as Continetti puts it, isn’t going away and they aren’t coming on board with the traditional Democratic Party platform. That’s because the Bernie Bros and their allies aren’t actually all that interested in politics and the mechanics of governance or elections. They comprise a church, though only in a rather warped definition of the word. It’s been Bernie Sanders’ church for the last six years, but it’s plain to see that a transition is taking place. Allow me to explain.

What we’re really seeing here is the passing of Bernie Sanders from a battlefield general to the status of a legend in the progressive world. For two straight presidential election cycles, Bernie was on the front lines, rallying the troops and drawing larger, more enthusiastic audiences than either Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. He was leading the charge and was seen as the viable savior of the hard left who could actually take his place in the Oval Office and complete the socialist transformation of the nation.

But now that dream has died, crushed at the hands of the supposed moderate forces in the party. Bernie doesn’t have another run in him at this point, so he’s beginning the transition to Socialist Saint, still fondly remembered and respected among his fellow travelers, but destined to become an elaborate painting on the walls of the Church of Karl Marx. And the faithful already realize that someone must be found to fill the void. In either 2024 or 2028 (depending on the outcome on November 3rd) his faithful followers will try again to wrest control of the party away from the fossils of their past.

So who will that be? I’m sure many of them think it could still be AOC, but that’s simply unrealistic. She’s undergone a transition of her own, turning into more of a socialist cartoon character than anything else. Elizabeth Warren is also gett well past her prime. The rest of “The Squad” won’t come out of these tumultuous times much better than AOC. But there is an army of younger or middle-aged socialists out there and one of them will inevitably rise up to take the baton.

In short, Joe Biden can’t count on a massive turnout from Sanders’ base because it’s not just a lack of enthusiasm for Sleepy Joe that’s holding them back. They genuinely see Biden and his ilk as enemies, nearly as much so as the Bad Orange Man. And they aren’t about to disappear from Democrat Party politics, either.