What does AOC think of Bernie Sanders

US Democrats: Only Donald Trump holds them together


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The US Democrats had only 60 seconds to deliver their message on Tuesday evening. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, MP from New York, has to be content with a brief appearance on the second day of the nomination party conference. The 30-year-old makes the best of it - and covers another 37 seconds.

It is not one of the rather shallow speeches that praises the presidential candidate-designate Joe Biden as an honorable reformer, but a clear criticism of the socio-economic conditions in the USA. Ocasio-Cortez speaks of the "intolerable brutality of an economy that enables a few unevenly distributed wealth at the expense of stability for the majority".

This is also noteworthy because the Democrats do not allow anyone who stands for the left wing to have a say at their party conference apart from the independent Senator Bernie Sanders. Instead, former Ohio Republican governor John Kasich was allowed to deliver a four-minute speech on Monday, saying that he doesn't think Joe Biden will move too far to the left. An affront for the progressives in their own party. The message is clear: Instead of promoting reformers within the party, the Democrats obviously want to attract representatives and voters from the opposite political side. The party leadership's priorities are clear.

The money determines the odds

The fact that Ocasio-Cortez only got a mini-appearance then met with some criticism. "(She) is an icon for young voters who want to see real justice in our country," tweeted Shaun King, a noted supporter of Bernie Sanders. You deserve more than 60 seconds of speaking time. Andrew Yang, a former presidential candidate and actually belonging to the moderate camp, also spoke out in favor of giving Ocasio-Cortez more space. Despite all calls for unity, this party conference shows how deeply divided the Democrats are.

Roughly speaking, the party currently consists of a more conservative establishment wing and a progressive activist wing. Party veterans such as presidential candidate Joe Biden (in federal politics since 1973), the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (MP since 1987) or the minority leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer (in office since 1999) have held top political positions for decades and stand above all for a policy of Incrementalism - that is, smaller, step-by-step reforms with as little resistance as possible from business and the Republicans. With good contacts to rich party donors, the federal party controls which candidates get campaign funds and thus indirectly who has the best chances in promising elections.

Course correction almost impossible

On the other hand, since the presidential campaign of the left Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016, a progressive wing of the party has emerged, which, with far-reaching demands for general health insurance and trillion dollar socio-ecological reforms (Green New Deal), is shaking the political system in the USA, not just changing it gradually want. Instead of strong donors, its representatives rely on small donations and committed supporters for door-to-door election campaigns. Ocasio-Cortez is something of a leader of the new movement with the two congressmen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.

In the past few weeks, the conflicts between the party wings have become increasingly clear. After Bernie Sanders had lost the primaries against Biden, a "unity working group" was supposed to work out political compromises for a new party program. But in many important matters there was no concession from the Biden team. A commitment to general health insurance (in the USA there is no complete public health protection) was completely lacking. The Biden camp only agreed to lower the entry age for public health insurance for pensioners (Medicare) from 65 to 60 years. Even the party conservative Hillary Clinton had campaigned for a reduction to 50 years in 2016. A course correction of the decade-long economic swing to the right by the Democrats is almost impossible, even in view of the current positive poll numbers.