It looks like the group of representatives known as the “Squad” has decided which Democratic presidential candidate it will support. For some reason, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have gained enough influence on the left that their endorsement has been coveted by various progressive politicians. It should come as no surprise that the Squad is going to throw its support behind Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). But the question is: Why would they support a campaign that has just hit a massive hurdle?
The Squad Supports Bernie Sanders
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez will appear with Sanders at a “Bernie’s Back” rally to garner support after his recent heart procedure. Reps. Omar and Tlaib have also indicated they will make their support public. Omar recently released a statement in which she said Sanders “is leading a working class movement to defeat Donald Trump that transcends generation, ethnicity and geography.” The representative also stated that he “is the best candidate to take on Donald Trump in 2020.”
Sanders seems like the obvious choice for the Squad’s endorsement. The only other candidate who might be as far to the political left is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). But Sanders’ popularity and the fact that he was the first to run on an openly socialist platform in 2016 has given him more credibility. Indeed, one could even describe him as America’s Socialist Granddaddy. That said, he is perhaps not the most realistic or practical choice when it comes to endorsing a presidential candidate.
Currently, Sanders is polling at third place behind Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, who are positioned ahead of their competitors by a healthy margin, according to a recent RealClearPolitics survey. Sanders’ health issues have become a major concern for his campaign. At 78 years of age, he is the oldest individual vying for the presidency. The fact that he has been trailing in the polls while Warren unseats Biden as front runner seems to indicate that he doesn’t have much of a chance.
Perhaps this is the very reason the Squad decided to voice its support for Sanders. The representatives may intend their endorsement to give his campaign a much-needed shot in the arm. If members of the Squad decide to act as surrogates for his campaign, they could galvanize young people to vote for him.
Polls suggest that members of the Squad are not quite as popular as left-leaning media want the nation to believe, but the group’s base is among younger voters, who were a crucial demographic for Sanders in 2016. The fact that Biden can’t seem to remember where he is half the time combined with Warren’s failing efforts to be the cool grandma seems to lend credibility to the theory that Ocasio-Cortez and co. are trying to resuscitate Sanders’ existing youth vote – they already know he can appeal that that audience.
While Sanders is older than both Warren and Biden, he has up until recently exhibited the kind of energy that drew voters to Trump. Also, he is not known as a “gaffe machine” and has never recorded himself pretending to enjoy beer. Will the Squad’s support help his waning campaign? It’s too early to tell, but one thing is for sure: The progressive left isn’t going moderate anytime soon.