NEW YORK — Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mocked The New York Times’ decision to endorse two separate Democratic candidates during the party's primaries, calling it a move that “serves to cloud political consciousness.”
Ocasio-Cortez cited the NY Times’ endorsement of Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., during a conversation with author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates at the MLK NOW 2020 event at the historic Riverside Church in Manhattan.
The 30-year-old congresswoman was criticizing America’s two-party system when the issue of the Times’ endorsement came up.
“In many other democracies in the world they have parliamentary democracy where there are many parties and you build coalitions between parties to have a governing coalition. The United States, we have a two party system. I think it’s a system that has a vote of little confidence in the electorate when you see that the largest plurality of voters are independent or not party affiliated,” she began.
“That tells you that there is a certain lack of personal identification. I think when you look at multiparty systems, because there are more parties, it allows people the opportunity to actually personally identify with a political party in which case it becomes more of an agent of structural change.
"A lot of people who advocate for a kind of two-party duopoly in the United States say, ‘Oh well, the coalition is built in so you don’t have to do all that work (activism). But the problem is you don’t always know what your party stands for and you kinda find out every cycle,” she continued.
This "uncertain" party identity, Ocasio-Cortez said, is reflected in the Times’ endorsement of Warren and Klobuchar.
“I think that is an issue in the Democratic Party. Just yesterday The New York Times endorsed two candidates. What is that?” Ocasio Cortez asked to laughter from the crowd. “Well what is the Democratic Party if we can’t ... and they’re two candidates that are very different. And so I think it kind of serves to cloud political consciousness in the United States.”
In their endorsement of the two senators, the Times’ editorial board cited the growing lack of confidence in American politics.
“The history of the editorial board would suggest that we would side squarely with the candidate with a more traditional approach to pushing the nation forward, within the realities of a constitutional framework and a multiparty country. But the events of the past few years have shaken the confidence of even the most committed institutionalists. We are not veering away from the values we espouse, but we are rattled by the weakness of the institutions that we trusted to undergird those values,” the board wrote on Sunday.
“There are legitimate questions about whether our democratic system is fundamentally broken. Our elections are getting less free and fair, Congress and the courts are increasingly partisan, foreign nations are flooding society with misinformation, a deluge of money flows through our politics. And the economic mobility that made the American dream possible is vanishing. Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it. That’s why we’re endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar,” they added.
Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t the only one that made a mockery of the Times’ dual endorsement. Speaking on ABC’s “The View” Tuesday morning, Republican co-host, Meghan McCain, said she had a good laugh at the Times’ decision.
“I was laughing my ass off when I read this,” she said. “You’re endorsing two women with two completely ideologically different views on their path forward.”
McCain said “The New York Times has the most access to all these candidates, arguably of any other outlet,” and yet the editorial board still “can’t figure out one” to endorse. “I’m sorry, everyone in here is going to have to choose one. This is not how this works.”
Tristan Justice, a staff writer at The Federalist, said the Times’ editorial board “couldn’t decide on their endorsement, so they virtue signaled their way out of making a decision by directing their readers to choose between the only two viable far-left female senators in the race.”
With the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses just under two weeks away, Tom Jones of the Poynter Institute argued in an op-ed that the dual endorsement is counterproductive.
“Endorsing two candidates because you aren’t sure which has the best path to the White House isn’t informing anyone. It’s confusing them,” Jones wrote Tuesday.