Ocasio-Cortez defends Sanders running as a Democrat: It's 'more than what you call yourself'

Ocasio-Cortez defends Sanders running as a Democrat: It's 'more than what you call yourself'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez calls for extending census period Harris, Ocasio-Cortez among Democrats calling for recurring direct payments in fourth coronavirus bill 'Drag Race' teases first look at guest judge Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday defended Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSteyer endorses Biden for president Sanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Sanders 2020 press secretary: Democratic leadership interested in 'corporate status quo' or 'they're planning to replace Joe' MORE against charges that the independent Vermont senator is a “Democrat by convenience,” arguing that one's policies are more important "than what you call yourself."

Co-host Sunny HostinSunny HostinMeghan McCain shares rare agreement with Trump: WHO 'spewing Chinese propaganda for a very long time' Joy Behar taking time off from 'The View' due to coronavirus concerns: report Whoopi accidentally pitches Jill Biden as surgeon general MORE questioned Ocasio-Cortez about the Democratic presidential front-runner during an interview on ABC’s “The View,” saying "the problem I’ve always had with him is that I don’t consider him a Democrat."

"It seems to me that he’s a Democrat by convenience," Hostin continued, "because he’s even registered as an independent in 2024," the next time Sanders will be up for reelection to the Senate. "How do you reconcile that?" she asked Ocasio-Cortez.

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“I come from a district that is very progressive, but even in our district, even in the state of New York, something like 30 to 40 percent of voters are registered independent,” Ocasio-Cortez responded.

“I think one of the largest pluralities of voters in the United States of America consider themselves as … not wanting to be a part of this labeling. They don’t feel like there’s a home for them at the Democratic Party or the Republican Party,” she said.

“That doesn’t mean they’re in the middle, it means they don’t want to consent to be governed by all this kind of vitriol,” she added. “And so I think ultimately it comes down to what the senator fights for.”

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Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent Sanders surrogate who has credited him with inspiring her to run for office, noted that people adopt the political label of "independent" for varying reasons and that in Sanders’s case “he’s always fought for the issues that I think the Democratic Party is now starting to catch up to.”

She pointed to Sanders’s support for LGBTQ rights as mayor of Burlington, Vt., in the 1980s.

"Ultimately it comes down to what the policies are, more than what you call yourself," she said.

“He hasn’t just come to this fight, he has been fighting for these issues for his entire life,” she said. “He did this when it was least convenient, he paid the highest political cost.”

Sanders, along with Sen. Angus KingAngus KingTrump's IG firings prompt questions of whether more are coming Senate 'unlikely' to return on April 20, top GOP senator says Democratic senators call for funding for local media in coronavirus stimulus MORE (Maine), is one of two senators registered as independents who caucus with the Democrats in the Senate.