Progressives expressed their discontent with the Democratic establishment Friday after reporting from Politico indicated that it was "unclear" if popular Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be guaranteed a speaking slot at the party's convention.
"It would be stupid not to give" Ocasio-Cortez a role at the convention, Corbin Trent, a former top adviser to the New York Democrat, told Politico. "She's one of the best speakers the Democratic Party's got."
This is so on-brand @TheDemocrats : debate whether @AOC (who would excite turnout) should speak because "moderates" might be offended VERSUS "of course" have the 2016 horrendous party nominee speak who lost partly because she alienated..."moderates" https://t.co/0o6nFm1M66
— Jonathan Tasini (@jonathantasini) August 7, 2020
As Politico reported, the convention has lined up a number of party stalwarts and leaders, including more centrist types like former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State and 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton, as well as progressives like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
• Warren, Kamala speaking, per sources
• Citizens like a nurse may talk
• Unclear if AOC will talk (to some tweeting on it, that's diff than saying "she def won't")
• Bernie expected "to have a big speaking role"
• Planning still in flux, things can change
— Holly Otterbein (@hollyotterbein) August 7, 2020
The party has also invited former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, to speak in a show of anti-Trump unity that goes past party.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a powerful member of the party's centrist wing, told Politico that he doubted Ocasio-Cortez would be offered a role at the convention.
"I think Bernie and Warren will speak, and they'll represent the progressive wing of the party very ably," said Rendell.
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) August 7, 2020
Kasich's inclusion and Ocasio-Cortez's possible exclusion rankled advocates and activists on the left.
DNC literally about to let John Kasich, a Republican, fill in host for Bill O'Reilly and frequent Hannity guest, speak at the convention. Yet there’s no guarantee AOC will.
This isn’t an accident, it’s neoliberals trying to reconsolidate power.https://t.co/WnsplvUjVk
— #GeorgeFloyd #BreonnaTaylor (@OldNorthEnder) August 7, 2020
"You want Bill Clinton to speak but maybe not AOC," tweeted progressive activist and former Sanders campaign advisor Winnie Wong. "Okay, dummies."
Calling the decision "classic Dem shit," journalist Paul Blest opined it was unlikely that the party would ever see a repeat of former President Barack's famous keynote speech at the 2004 convention that propelled him to political stardom and the White House.
"She's one of the three most visible and culturally relevant politicians in the country," said Blest, "and she's particularly popular among young and left-leaning people, two blocs Biden needs even more in states like Wisconsin where the margin is narrow."