Obama says Democrats should make sure Ocasio-Cortez has a platform

Former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPolitics must accept the reality of multiracial America and disavow racial backlash To empower parents, reinvent schools Senate race in Ohio poses crucial test for Democrats MORE suggests in a new interview that the Democratic Party should give younger voices like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWar of words escalates in House McCarthy faces headaches from far-right House GOP Noncitizen voting doesn't pass this test MORE (D-N.Y.) a bigger platform regardless of ideology.

“The Democratic National Convention I thought was really successful considering the pandemic, and really used technology wisely,” Obama said in an interview with Vanity Fair contributor Peter Hamby for his Snapchat show "Good Luck America."

“But, you know, the fact that an AOC only got, what? Three minutes or five minutes? When she speaks to a broad section of young people who are interested in what she has to say, even if they don’t agree with everything she says,” Obama continued. “You give her a platform, just like there may be some other young Democrats who come from more conservative areas who have a different point of view. But new blood is always good.”


Some House Democrats, many of whom flipped longtime GOP districts in 2018, have blamed their 2020 underperformance on Ocasio-Cortez’s national platform, arguing the self-identified democratic socialist alienates moderates.

While Obama defended giving Ocasio-Cortez a platform, he also echoed similar criticisms from the same more moderate Democrats that calls to defund the police have hurt outreach efforts.

“If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it's not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan, like Defund The Police, but, you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done,” he said.

Ocasio-Cortez has pushed back on the intraparty backlash, including with a tweet Tuesday responding to criticism from Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE (D-W.Va.).

“I find it amusing when politicians try to diminish the seriousness of our policy work, movement organizing & grassroots fundraising to 'she just tweets,' as though 'serious' politics is only done by begging corporate CEOs for money through wax-sealed envelopes delivered by raven,” she wrote.