Progressive Democrats like “Squad” member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., are already gearing up to lobby a Biden-Harris administration for policies like the Green New Deal and Medicare for all.
Before the election, Sanders said left-wing lawmakers and supporters need to push Democratic President-elect Joe Biden to be the “most progressive president” since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
“Our first task we’ve got to defeat the worst president in modern history in this country and number two we organize our people to make sure that Biden becomes the most progressive president since FDR,” he said in an interview with the left-wing group of freshman congresswomen known as “The Squad.”
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks as Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
“We must govern with integrity and accountability. Laquan McDonald’s life mattered,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter on Monday, referencing McDonald, a Black teen who was shot by a white police officer in 2014 when Emanuel was in office.
“What we understood in this election was that we had one job,” “Squad” member Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., told CNN on Sunday. “That one job was to get rid of Trump and to give ourselves the opportunity and the privilege to lobby the new administration on the policies that we know resonate with so many people.”
Although more moderate Democrats are blaming the progressive wing of their party for losses in the House, Omar claimed Biden’s choice of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his running mate “won” Democrats the election.
“We not only celebrated a historic win of the first Black woman, South Asian daughter of immigrants who will become our next vice president but we also celebrated the message he sent in putting her on the ticket as a cosponsor of the Green New Deal and Medicare for all,” Omar said on Sunday. “Her being on top of that ticket did not cost us the election. It actually won us the election.”
Harris may be ranked as the nation’s most liberal senator, but that won’t ensure progressive victories in a Biden administration, political science expert Glen Duerr, who teaches international studies at Cedarville University, told Fox News.
“Biden will throw bones [to the progressives], but he’s going to have to be very cautious,” Duerr said. “In the campaign, he showed he’s not ideologically fixed. … Democrats really could have gone with anyone else. Biden, I think, said enough to bring in the progressives but made no major promises along the ‘Squad’ platform.”
Duerr predicted “a layer of disappointment” for progressives over the next four years as Biden steers clear of the Green New Deal and “Medicare-for- all.”
However, Biden may try to placate progressives on issues like a federal minimum wage.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris holds hands with President-elect Joe Biden and her husband, Doug Emhoff, as they celebrate Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
“Fifteen-dollar-an-hour minimum wage isn’t going to fly in Ohio or the Midwest,” but Biden could do something “similar to what Secretary Hillary Clinton proposed in 2015 and 2016, building toward a minimum wage,” Duerr said.
Bowing to progressives could lead to even more trouble for Biden if they don’t think he’s gone far enough, Duerr added, citing the example of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who committed to a 50-50 gender-split cabinet. Trudeau still faced accusations he wasn’t feminist enough.
“Women reporters asked, ‘Why are men in the most powerful positions and women in less powerful positions?'” Duerr said. “[Biden’s] talked about his cabinet being the most diverse. That’s a double-edged sword within the Democratic Party.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.