Sanders hits back at Biden's skepticism of progressive appeal

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) is hitting back back at 2020 rival former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE’s skepticism of the progressive appeal across the country.

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Sanders tweeted Friday that a leftward agenda is what will energize voters against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE in the upcoming presidential election. The Vermont senator, a democratic socialist, has consistently polled in second place behind the former vice president.

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“I’m proud to be working with @AOC [Ocasio-Cortez] and so many other Democrats to pass Medicare for All, debt-free college and a Green New Deal,” Sanders tweeted. “This is the agenda America needs — and that will energize voters to defeat Donald Trump.”

Biden expressed skepticism about the mainstream appeal of progressive figures and policies in a wide-ranging interview with CNN earlier Friday. 

“Look who won last time out,” Biden, who describes himself as in the “center-left,” told the network.

“In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream Democrats who were very progressive on social issues, and very strong on education, health care.”

Biden also questioned how well figures like progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAttorney says 75-year-old man shoved by Buffalo police suffered brain injury How language is bringing down Donald Trump Highest-circulation Kentucky newspaper endorses Charles Booker in Senate race MORE (D-N.Y.) would do in a general election race. 

“I think Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman, but she won a primary,” he said. 

Ocasio-Cortez has hit Biden for being too centrist for the Democratic Party, warning last month that he could depress voter turnout in the 2020 race.

“I think that he’s not a pragmatic choice,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “If you pick the perfect candidate like Joe Biden to win that guy in the diner, the cost will make you lose because you will depress turnout as well.”

“And that’s exactly what happened to 2016. We picked the logically fitting candidate, but that candidate did not inspire the turnout that we needed,” she said. 

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