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'Lucky': Inside Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement of Sanders

'Lucky': Inside Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement of Sanders
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNew York City's suicide mission should alarm the entire nation Marjorie Taylor Greene rakes in over .2M in first quarter The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan MORE (D-N.Y.) gave Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' On The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE’s (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign a shot in the arm in October 2019 when she endorsed him just after Sanders suffered a heart attack — but her support was never guaranteed.

According to “Lucky: How Joe Biden Barely Won the Presidency,” Ocasio-Cortez, then a 29-year-old progressive with one of the largest social media platforms of any politician, had expressed hesitance to back Sanders.

While the two liberals were ideological matches, Ocasio-Cortez expressed concerns to Sanders’s campaign that it lacked a path to victory in the Democratic primary contest.

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Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House MORE (D-Mass.), another progressive in the Democratic primary, also was appealing for Ocasio-Cortez's support through texts and phone calls.

The Sanders campaign was left with the impression that while Ocasio-Cortez would not endorse another candidate, she might not endorse Sanders either and just stay out of the race entirely.

However, Sanders’s October heart attack changed the calculus.

Ocasio-Cortez called the Vermont senator in the hospital, where he was getting restless and barking at a nurse that “I want to get out of here,” to inform Sanders she planned to endorse him, sparking the then-78-year-old to pump his fist in the air.

Her support culminated in a raucous rally in Queensbridge Park in New York City later that month that drew over 25,000 attendees.

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“It wasn’t until I heard of a man by the name of Bernie Sanders that I began to question and assert and recognize my inherent value as a human being that deserves health care, housing, education and a living wage,” Ocasio-Cortez said during the rally. 

Sanders would ultimately end up losing the Democratic primary to now-President BidenJoe BidenBiden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech Kemp: Pulling All-Star game out of Atlanta will hurt business owners of color MORE, though he and Ocasio-Cortez remained relevant even after he left the race.

Several of their allies were tapped for the so-called unity task forces that brought together centrists and progressives to advise Biden on policies during the 2020 race.