KEY POINTS

  • The Democratic Party “is not a left party,” declares AOC
  • It's a center or "center-conservative party"
  • There are Dems like her working to make the party truly a party of the left

Liberal firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took time-off stumping for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), one of the Democratic Party's front running presidential nominees, to raise eyebrows and hackles among liberals by declaring her party isn't a true party of the left.

The feisty 30 year-old from New York's 14th congressional district said her party is a “center or center-conservative party,” and “not a left party,” during a talk at MLK Now 2020 that commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.

"I wanted to go back to what you said about our 'left party’," she pointed out. "We don’t have a left party in the United States. The Democratic Party is not a left party. The Democratic Party is a center or center-conservative party."

To drive home her point Dems are centrists at their core, Ocasio-Cortez said not only doesn’t the U.S. have socialized medicine but that Congress, which includes the Democratic-controlled House, won’t vote on it.

"We can’t even get a floor vote on Medicare-for-all -- not even a floor voted that gets voted down," she said in exasperation.

"We can’t even get a vote on it. So this is not a left party." She did, however, admit "there are left members inside the Democratic Party that are working to try to make that shift happen."

"But you’re right, it does convey a certain sentiment about true believers, and there are a lot of true believers in that we can capitalism our way out of poverty in the Democratic Party," according to Ocasio-Cortez. “If anything, that’s probably the majority."

She was also dismayed by what she sees as a cheapening of the term progressive among the party.

"They let anybody who the cat dragged in call themselves a progressive," she noted. "There’s no standard. Democrats can be too big of a tent."

Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders go way back and share a progressive viewpoint such as Medicare-for-all. She's now the leading campaign surrogate for Sanders in the latter's bid to become the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. She first worked for Sanders as an organizer for his 2016 presidential campaign.

She and Sanders campaigned together for James Thompson in Kansas in July 2018. Thompson lost his bid for the Kansas's 4th congressional district to Ron Estes. That seat was previously held by Mike Pompeo, who resigned because of his nomination by Trump as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

US Senator Bernie Sanders, shown campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination with congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, raised more than any Democrat in the White House race in 2019, but trailed President Donald Trump US Senator Bernie Sanders, shown campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination with congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, raised more than any Democrat in the White House race in 2019, but trailed President Donald Trump Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck