AOC’s Caucus Splits On Presidential Endorsements

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Saurabh Sharma Contributor
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Two members of the progressive grassroots organization best known for launching Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s political career have issued conflicting presidential endorsements, setting up an internal conflict as the 2020 primary season heats up.

This development comes as Justice Democrats member Rep. Raul Grijalva announced his endorsement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The oldest and longest serving official in Justice Democrats, his endorsement conflicts with that of Rep Ro Khanna, who currently co-chairs Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

Justice Democrats has not yet issued an endorsement in the presidential election, and their representatives did not return a request for comment by the Daily Caller by presstime. (RELATED: Justice Democrats Name 8-Term Incumbent As First Target In Bid To Primary Moderate Democrats)

Justice Democrats was founded by alums of the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign with the goal of supporting progressive candidates within the Democratic Party. Their membership consists of 3 incumbents, Khanna, Grijalva, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal as well as the four freshmen that constitute “the Squad”— Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 15: U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks as Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on four progressive Democratic congresswomen, saying if they’re not happy in the United States “they can leave.” (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

The squad has pointedly avoided wading into the internecine conflicts in the Democratic primary, instead making support of their policies a litmus test for 2020 candidates. Most of them have endorsed aspects of Justice Democrats’ platform, including a Green New Deal, free college, and Medicare for All.

The conflicts between Warren and Sanders supporters originate in 2016, when many Sanders supporters accused Warren’s failure to endorse Sanders in the primary as a betrayal of progressive values. (RELATED: Socialist Thunderdome: Bernie Vs. Liz Warren — Who Comes Out On Top?)

While Warren and Sanders’ policies are often very similar, Sanders supporters cite Warren’s more establishment tone and support for capitalism as disqualifying, while many Warren supporters find Sanders divisive, not diverse, and unelectable.