Steve August 18, 2020
ocasio-cortez,-in-60-second-speech-to-dnc,-stresses-progressive-values

Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez stressed the importance of broad progressive priorities during a brief speech to the virtual Democratic National Convention Tuesday night that made no mention of the party’s presumptive nominee.

The New York Democrat, who was given a 60-second slot for her remarks, opened her quick speech by offering her thanks to a “mass people’s movement working to establish 21st century social, economic, and human rights, including guaranteed health care, higher education, living wages, and labor rights for all people in the United States.”

She ended by seconding the nomination of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to be her party’s presidential nominee, a symbolic move.

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“In a time when millions of people in the United States are looking for deep systemic solutions to our crises of mass evictions, unemployment, and lack of health care, and espíritu del pueblo and out of a love for all people, I hereby second the nomination of Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America,” she said.

The move was strictly procedural: the convention proceedings Tuesday included a formal roll call of delegates, an archaic procedure by which each candidate who won sufficient support during the primaries and caucuses to receive delegates can then be nominated for president (unless the candidate has already turned over those delegates to the presumptive nominee). It’s all part of the convention process of actually nominating the party’s nominee.

It came as little surprise that Ocasio-Cortez — like Sanders, a democratic socialist — used her slot to formally back Sanders, who she also endorsed and campaigned for during the primaries.

But it was notable that Ocasio-Cortez — one of the most outspoken, progressive and youngest members of Congress — spent no time pushing the specific policies that she and Sanders have championed. She did not mention by name any of the signature policies that she and Sanders support, including the Green New Deal or Medicare for All, nor did she namecheck Joe Biden or President Tweety McTreason.

If I can regularly roast Trump sycophants in 280 characters or less, I can speak to progressive values in 60 secs (& maybe filibuster a few extra 😉).

Meanwhile, you’re supporting GOP sabatoge of people’s medicine, votes, etc by mail bc apparently democracy means nothing to you. https://t.co/Y3hYhpfOuK

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 18, 2020

The convention organizers’ decision to give the Ocasio-Cortez only a minute of speaking time rankled activists — and Ocasio-Cortez herself — who noted that former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, had more time to speak at the Democrats’ convention on Monday. (Kasich had criticized Ocasio-Cortez in an interview prior to the event kicking off as not being “representative” of the Democratic Party, and she responded sharply on Twitter.)

At the same time, in a tweet posted hours before Tuesday night’s convention programming kicked off, Ocasio-Cortez, who is known for stinging her critics on social media, said she’d aptly be able to “speak to progressive values in 60 secs,” noting that she has been able to “regularly roast Trump sycophants in 280 characters or less.”

Ocasio-Cortez was among a small handful of Latinos to speak at the Democratic National Convention — a fact that has frustrated several Latino activists.

Image: Adam EdelmanAdam Edelman

Adam Edelman is a political reporter for NBC News.

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