Before progressive darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) officially endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for president on Saturday, the duo sat down with The Intercept to discuss the need for a progressive grassroots movement in America.
According to Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez is one of the most influential people in Congress and she has made great strides over the last year.
"It's hard to believe that a year ago today you were waiting tables, is that correct?" Sanders asked AOC. "I cannot recall any political in modern history of this country who, in the course of one year – and she's the youngest woman ever elected to Congress – I cannot recall one person who has played a more transformative role in American politics than Alexandria has. It really has been extraordinary."
Sanders said Ocasio-Cortez has inspired millions of young people and has a "strong legislative record."
"When we talk about the Green New Deal and combatting climate change, and transforming our energy system, this freshman member of Congress, that was her idea. That's pretty extraordinary," he said.
The freshman congresswoman defended grassroots activism, saying continual pressure is a good thing.
"So long as we remain principled and focused in our activism, so long as we remain committed to Kingian principles of nonviolence then I don't think that civic engagement and activism can be too much," AOC said. "I think that it is too much for people who are protecting the interests of the very few. It can be too much to those who want to prioritize the needs of billionaires over the needs of working people. But that's because once it gets to being to the point of too much, then you overwhelm the system with positive change."
The presidential contender said the Democratic Party needs a bigger grassroots movement, similar to what Ocasio-Cortez has inspired across the country.
"The essence of my politics and I think Alexandria's as well, is that we need an ongoing grassroots movement of millions of people to pressure Congress, to pressure the corporate establishment so that we can bring about the changes that this country desperately needs," Sanders explained.
"I have said that I will not only be commander in chief but I will be organizer in chief," he said with a smile. "So that's what that means."
Sen. @BernieSanders and Rep. @AOC sat down with The Intercept’s @RyanGrim and spoke in detail about what political revolution and organizing mean to them. https://t.co/yHIDY6mjmb pic.twitter.com/5Blxwfj4d4— The Intercept (@theintercept) October 20, 2019