AOC reportedly distancing herself from longshot Bernie Sanders

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been quietly distancing herself from Sen. Bernie Sanders in an effort to shift the progressive path forward given his likely defeat in the 2020 Democratic primary, according to a new report.

The relationship began to break down in early February, when Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, complained via text to AOC’s campaign manager about her performance during a three-day stretch campaigning for the senator in Iowa, according to Vanity Fair.

The magazine reported that Shakir was specifically upset about her forgetting to mention Sanders by name when she hosted a campaign event at the University of Iowa.

Sanders’ campaign did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on the allegations, but denied the remarks to Vanity Fair, adding that any reminder for the progressive Bronx-Queens congresswoman to mention Sanders was “good natured ribbing.”

AOC grew less interested in the campaign after Iowa, according to the Huffington Post, when the campaign opted to publicize the endorsement of Joe Rogan — a controversial podcast host who has been criticized for past remarks by LGBTQ activists.

Ocasio-Cortez did not campaign again for the Vermont Independent again until just a few days before the New Hampshire primary.

The Sanders campaign told the Huffington Post that no such concerns about Rogan were raised. The campaign also expressed strong appreciation for all that AOC has done as a surrogate for Sanders on the campaign trail.

The progressive darling, who endorsed Sanders in October, has endorsed just two of the Justice Democrats-backed candidates running in congressional primaries this year, and launched her own progressive PAC instead earlier this year.

The PAC will only push progressive candidates in GOP-held seats, a conciliatory move to opposing wings of the Democratic Party that feared a primary in House and Senate races by progressive challengers.

Justice Democrats, the PAC which supported Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 Congressional run and Sanders’ 2020 endeavor, is aiming to take out Democrats from across the political spectrum, including some considered not-liberal-enough who still identify with the liberal wing of the party.

On their website, the organization still lists the New York Democrat as one of their incumbent candidates along with fellow “Squad” members Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

AOC’s move away from the group’s tactics is a sign of a larger shift in both her own and the progressive movement’s approach given their likely defeat in the Democratic presidential primary.

Sanders’ inevitable loss has left the progressive movement unsure of how to expand their base, and Politico reports that many progressives have privately questioned if the Vermont senator should have softened his approach in an attempt to make moderate Democrats feel welcome.

The 30-year-old progressive is building new coalitions with fellow House Democrats, trying to work more within the complex Congressional system and picking fights with her own party far less, according to the outlet.

Politico also reported that the congresswoman is abandoning her plans for a “corporate-free” caucus with the goal of forcing House leadership to move further to the left.

AOC accepted criticism over the Democratic socialist’s lack of action over online harassment at the hands of his supporters during an appearance on “The View.”

She also publicly criticized the approach Sanders’ presidential campaign took in 2020, telling the New York Times earlier this month that her wing of the party needed to learn “political lessons” from this primary.

“There’s so much emphasis on making outreach as conflict-based as possible, and sometimes I even feel miscast and understood. Because it’s about what tools you use, and conflict is one tool but not the only tool,” she told the newspaper

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