Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not ready to make a 2020 endorsement quite yet. But that wasn’t going to stop her from sharing her thoughts about the first of two Democratic primary debates with Stephen Colbert.
As the “AOC!” chants died down, Colbert began by asking the congresswoman what she thought about all of the Spanish being spoken on stage by candidates, including Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker.
“I loved it, because, I represent the Bronx and there was a lot of Spanglish in the building,” she answered, explaining that she “thought it was humorous, sometimes, at times” because she thought some candidates might start saying “I will not give you an answer to your question” in Spanish. “But it was good,” she added. “I thought it was a good gesture to the fact that we are a diverse country.”
From there, Ocasio-Cortez said that to her, some candidates seemed like high school students who got called on without having read the book. “They’ll be like, ‘Yes, the hero was courageous and the protagonist of the story,’” she joked.
Asked who she thinks will make it to the next debate, Ocasio-Cortez first mentioned Elizabeth Warren, to which Colbert said, “I think she knocked it out of the park.” She also thought Julian Castro did a “fantastic job.” She didn’t have quite as kind things to say about “underdog” candidates like Tim Ryan and John Delaney.
“I’ll be honest, I really do think that this was a breakaway night,” she said. “I think Elizabeth Warren really distinguished herself, I think Julian Castro really distinguished himself. I think Cory Booker did a great job in talking about criminal justice.”
As for NBC’s moderators, the woman behind the Green New Deal said, “I don’t think that we are discussing climate change the way we need to be discussing climate change,” adding, “You can’t just say, ‘Is Miami going to exist in 50 years?’ we need to say, ‘What are you going to do about this?’”
Looking ahead to Thursday night, Ocasio-Cortez reiterated her argument that former Vice President Joe Biden is not necessarily the “safe choice” many Democratic voters appear to think he is.
“I think it’s dangerous to assume that any candidate is a quote-unquote ‘safe choice,’” she said. “That you pick one candidate and that’s just going to deliver an election for you. But with respect to Vice President Biden, it’s more about an overall electoral strategy.”
“I think there’s this idea that we have to sacrifice everything,” she continued. “That we can’t talk about working class issues, that we can’t talk about criminal justice issues, that we can’t talk about immigration because it isolates this very small sliver of Obama-to-Trump voters. And I think that that’s a mistake. Because if we sacrifice the issues of so many communities, I think we depress turnout. And what we need is more people to turn out next year than have ever turned out in American history.”