The former President Barack Obama called on the Democratic National Committee to give the progressives a larger platform, as they continue to mess with the centrist members of the party.
“[…] One thing I want to say about the Democratic Party is that it is really important to support young people. We stay with the same old people for so long and make no room for new votes,” Obama said in an interview with Peter Hamby about Snapchat’s Good Luck America.
Barack Obama also acknowledges the party’s controversial decision to grant Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez only 60 seconds at this summer’s National Convention, while giving former Republican Governor of Ohio John Kasich and businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg significantly more television time.
“The Democratic National Convention, I thought, was really successful in the face of the pandemic, but, you know, the fact that an AOC only, what? Three minutes or five minutes? When she speaks to a wide range of young people who are interested in what she has to say, even if they don’t agree with everything she says,” Obama said.
“They give her a platform, just as there may be some other young Democrats who come from more conservative backgrounds and have a different point of view. But fresh blood is always good,” he continued.
His comments come as a conflict between the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and the more centrist Democrats, a conflict that expanded after the November 3 election.
Last month, the mainstream Democrats were heard in a leaked faction appeal accusing more progressive legislators, notably Ocasio-Cortez and the so-called cadre, of costing the Democrats seats with messages like “Defund the police.
Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, drew criticism from the young congresswoman and others after tweeting, “Defund the police? Defend my butt”.
In an interview with the New York Times, Manchin hinted that Ocasio-Cortez was “more active on Twitter than anything else,” even in legislating in Congress.
“We won’t defend the police, we’re not for the new Green Deal. That will not happen. We are not for Medicare for All – we can’t even pay for some Medicare,” the senator added.
However, many quickly realized that Manchin missed more votes in 2019 than Ocasio-Cortez and that she helped fund 130 more bills in the same legislative period than he did.
Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Manchin on Tuesday and tweeted: “I find it amusing when politicians try to diminish the seriousness of our political work, the organization of movements and fundraising at the grassroots level in order to ‘just tweet’ as if ‘serious’ politics is only done by begging money from company bosses through wax-sealed envelopes delivered by ravens.
Despite Obama’s insistence on newer votes within the party, the former president advised younger Democrats to stay away from those “biting slogans” that “the moment they say it, they can cost them a large audience.
“If instead you say, ‘Let’s reform the police force so that everyone is treated fairly, you know, to distract young people from getting involved in crime, and if there were a homeless person, could we perhaps send a psychiatric carer there instead of an armed unit, which could end up in tragedy? Suddenly a whole bunch of people are listening to you who might not otherwise listen to you,” Obama said.
“The key is the decision: Do you really want to achieve something? Or do you want to feel comfortable among the people you already agree with,” he added.
Washington Newsday turned to the offices of Manchin and Ocasio-Cortez to comment, but did not receive a response from either in time for publication.