- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday formally seconding the nomination for Sen. Bernie Sanders.
- Many people on social media and some news outlets created confusing by claiming she had endorsed Sanders over Joe Biden, the presumptive nominee.
- In reality, Ocasio-Cortez was following a convention rule that says any candidate who receives a certain amount of delegates can be nominated at the convention and the nomination must be seconded.
- In fact, the DNC had explicitly asked Ocasio-Cortez to deliver a speech nominating Sanders and had issued a press release earlier in the day announcing the decision.
- Following the confusion, Ocasio-Cortez accused NBC News of spreading misinformation by sharing a tweet falsely claimed she had not endorsed Biden and blasted the network for waiting nearly four hours before issuing a correction and deleting the tweet.
Ocasio-Cortez’s DNC Speech
Following her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Ny.) slammed NBC News on Wednesday for spreading “misinformation” in a tweet that suggested she did not endorse Joe Biden, and then failing to issue a correction until hours later in the middle of the night.
In the 90-second speech, Ocasio-Cortez opened by thanking everyone who was working towards what she described as a “mass people’s movement” that is “striving to recognize and repair the wounds of racial injustice, colonization, misogyny and homophobia. And to propose and build reimagined systems of immigration and foreign policy that turn away from the violence and xenophobia of our past.”
“A movement that realizes the unsustainable brutality of an economy that rewards explosive inequalities of wealth for the few, at the expense of long-term stability for the many,” she added. “And who organized a historic, grass roots campaign to reclaim our democracy.”
“In a time when millions of people in the United States are looking for deep systemic solutions to our crises of mass evictions, unemployment, and lack of health care, en el espíritu del pueblo, and out of a love for all people, I hereby second the nomination of Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont for president of the United States of America,” she concluded.
Her last remark created a flurry on social media, where many users and even some news outlets claimed she had endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), with some saying the move with an intentional snub to Biden, who she did not mention in her speech.
Shortly after she delivered her speech, Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to address the confusion.
“If you were confused, no worries!” she wrote.“Convention rules require roll call & nominations for every candidate that passes the delegate threshold. I was asked to 2nd the nom for Sen. Sanders for roll call. I extend my deepest congratulations to @JoeBiden – let’s go win in November.”
DNC Rules & Delegate Roll Call
As Ocasio-Cortez referenced in her tweet, under convention rules, any candidate who gets enough delegates can be “nominated” for the party’s ticket.
While it has been set in stone for a while that Biden will be the nominee because he has already passed the 1,991 delegates needed to secure the nomination, Sanders still had enough delegates to be a nominee, even if there was no shot at him winning.
That is also why when Sanders announced he was dropping out the race, he stayed on the ballot to collect delegates for the convention.
Those delegates are then counted in a formal roll call, which normally takes place in person, but because the virtual convention is viritual, this year it took place remotely with delegates in all 57 states and territories casting their votes Tuesday.
Nominating Sanders, even though everyone knows Biden is going to be the nominee, is a symbolic gesture that acknowledges his run and his influence in the party— which was exactly what Sanders said he wanted when he announced he was suspending his campaign but staying on the ballot.
Contrary to many narratives that circulated online and in the media, Ocasio-Cortez was not using her speech to undermine the party or take a jab at Biden— she was just following a standard practice at the DNC.
In fact, the DNC had explicitly asked her to deliver a speech seconding Sanders’ nomination, which she thanked the party for while congratulating Biden in another tweet.
Ocasio-Cortez also was not the only person to second Sanders’ nomination. The DNC also asked Bob King, the Former President of the United Auto Workers, to do the same. Even beyond that, the convention also published a press release that explicitly said Ocasio-Cortez and King would be giving nominating speeches for Sanders.
NBC vs. AOC
While it is understandable that Ocasio-Cortez’s speech may have been confusing for those of us who do no read DNC press clips or know the ins-and-outs of convention rules, the news media is held to a higher standard.
Because there had been a press release earlier in the day, and because many media organizations would be aware of a common procedural requirement at the convention, outlets that ran with the narrative that Ocasio-Cortez had gone against party wishes or endorsed Sanders received significant backlash.
The news organization that most flack was NBC News, which posted a tweet Tuesday night that read: “In one of the shortest speeches of the DNC, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez did not endorse Joe Biden.”
About four hours after posting that tweet, NBC deleted the tweet and issued a correction clarifying that Ocasio-Cortez had in fact been asked by the DNC to second Sanders’ nomination. They also noted that she had previously endorsed Biden.
NBC also went back on the claim that Ocasio-Cortez’s speech was one of the shortest at the convention by clarifying that it was a similar length to other nominating speeches. Though not noted in the correct, the DNC had explicitly given the representative just 60 seconds for her speech, a time limit she surpassed.
However, many felt that the correction still did not undo the damage it had done, including Ocasio-Cortez herself, who criticized the outlet on Twitter Wendesday.
“You waited several hours to correct your obvious and blatantly misleading tweet. It sparked an enormous amount of hatred and vitriol, & now the misinfo you created is circulating on other networks,” she wrote. “All to generate hate-clicks from a pre-recorded, routine procedural motion.”
Ocasio-Cortez also said that the DNC had shared the purpose of her remarks with the media well in advance and that NBC knew what was going to happen and that it was standard. “How does a headline that malicious & misleading happen w/ that prior knowledge?” she added.
“So @NBCNews how are you going to fix the incredible amount of damage and misinformation that you are now responsible for?” she wrote in a later tweet. “Because a 1:15am tweet to slip under the radar after blowing up a totally false and divisive narrative across networks isn’t it.”
See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Hill) (Business Insider)
Senate Democrats To Introduce Voting Rights Bill This Week
Republicans are expected to block the legislation, but Democratic leaders hope the GOP’s unified opposition will lay the groundwork to justify getting rid of the filibuster.
Voting Bill Set for Floor
Senate Democrats are officially set to advance their voting rights bill this week, with a procedural vote to start debate on the legislation scheduled for Tuesday.
The move comes as an increasing number of Democrats and progressive activists have begun to embrace a more watered-down version of the bill proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), the sole Democrat who opposed the initial proposal on the grounds that it was too partisan.
While Democrats have spent the weekend hashing out the final details of compromise on Manchin’s bill, which he has touted as a more bipartisan compromise, Senate Republicans have still broadly rejected it.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who previously opposed the initial For the People Act as too far-reaching, called Manchin’s alternative proposal “equally unacceptable” and predicted that no members of his party will vote in favor.
The legislation is all but guaranteed to fail in the chamber, where it will require all 50 Democrats and at least 10 Republicans to overcome the filibuster.
However, bringing the bill to the floor still has major utility for Democrats because it will lay the groundwork for the party to justify scrapping the filibuster entirely.
Pathway for Filibuster Reform
Specifically, if Manchin agrees to some form of the bill which Republicans then filibuster, Democrats can say they had the to votes to pass the legislation if the filibuster were removed.
That, in turn, would bolster the Democratic argument that bipartisanship cannot be a precondition to taking actions to secure our democracy if it relies on reaching common ground with a party that they believe is increasingly and transparently committed to undermining democracy.
It would also give more ground to the Democratic claim that the GOP is abusing existing Senate rules to block policy changes that have gained wide public support following the Jan. 6 insurrection and amid the growing efforts by Republican governors and legislatures to restrict voting access in their states.
As a result, if Republicans block the legislation along party lines, Democratic leaders hope that could change objections to scrapping the filibuster voiced privately by some members and publicly by Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Az.).
This is especially true for Tuesday’s planned vote, because it is just a vote to proceed to debate, meaning that if Republicans filibuster, they will be preventing the Senate from even debating any efforts to protect democracy, including Manchin’s plan which he crafted specifically to reach a compromise with the GOP.
Whether a full party rejection would be enough to move the needle for Manchin and the other Democrats remains to be seen. Any successful overhaul of the contentious Senate rule would not only be incredibly significant for President Joe Biden’s agenda, but also for the precedent it could set.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Reuters) (USA Today)
McConnell Says He Would Block a Biden SCOTUS Nominee in 2024
The Senate Minority Leader also refused to say whether or not he would block a hypothetical nominee in 2023 if his party overtakes the chamber’s slim majority in the midterm elections.
McConnell Doubles Down
During an interview with conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatened to block a hypothetical Supreme Court nominee from President Joe Biden in 2024 if Republicans took control of the Senate.
“I think in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled,” he said. “So I think it’s highly unlikely. In fact, no, I don’t think either party if it controlled, if it were different from the president, would confirm a Supreme Court nominee in the middle of an election.”
McConnell’s remarks do not come as a surprise as they are in line with his past refusal to consider former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the court in February 2016 on the grounds that it was too close to the presidential election.
The then-majority leader received a ton of backlash for his efforts, especially after he forced through Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation just eight days before the 2020 election. At the time, McConnell argued the two situations were different because the Senate and the president were from the same party — a claim he reiterated in the interview.
McConnell also implied he may take that stance even further in comments to Hewitt, who asked if he would block the appointment of a Supreme Court justice if a seat were to be vacated at the end of 2023 about 18 months before the next inauguration — a precedent set by the appointment of Anthony Kennedy.
“Well, we’d have to wait and see what happens,” McConnell responded.
Many Democrats immediately condemned McConnell’s remarks, including progressive leaders who renewed their calls to expand the court.
“Mitch McConnell is already foreshadowing that he’ll steal a 3rd Supreme Court seat if he gets the chance. He’s done it before, and he’ll do it again. We need to expand the Supreme Court,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-Ma.).
Some also called on Justice Stephen Breyer, the oldest SCOTUS judge, to retire.
“If Breyer refuses to retire, he’s not making some noble statement about the judiciary. He is saying he wants Mitch McConnell to handpick his replacement,” said Robert Cruickshank, campaign director for Demand Progress.
Others, however, argued that the response McConnell’s remarks elicited was exactly what he was hoping to see and said his timing was calculated.
The minority leader’s comments come as the calls for Breyer to step down have recently grown while the current Supreme Court term draws near, a time when justices often will announce their retirement.
On Sunday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was asked if she thought Breyer should leave the bench while Democrats still controlled the Senate. She responded that she was “inclined to say yes.”
With his latest public statement, McConnell’s aims are twofold here: he hopes to broaden divisions in the Democratic Party between progressives and more traditional liberals, who are more hesitant to rush Breyer to retire or expand the court, while simultaneously working to unite a fractured Republican base and encourage them to turn out in the midterm elections.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (CNN) (The Hill)
Gov. Abbott Says Texas Will Build Border Wall With Mexico
The announcement follows months of growing tension between the Texas governor and President Biden over immigration policies.
Texas Border Wall
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced during a press conference Thursday that the state would build a border wall with Mexico, extending the signature campaign promise of former President Donald Trump.
Abbott provided very few details for the border wall plans, and it is unclear if he has the authority to build it.
While some of the land is state-owned, much of it belongs to the federal government or falls on private property.
Even if the state were able to build on federal ground, private landowners who fought the Trump administration’s attempts to take their land through eminent domain would still remain an obstacle for any renewed efforts.
During his term, Trump built over 450 miles of new wall, but most of it covered areas where deteriorating barriers already existed, and thus had previously been approved for the federal project.
The majority of the construction also took place in Arizona, meaning Abbott would have much ground to cover. It is also unclear how the governor plans to pay for the wall.
Trump had repeatedly said Mexico would fund the wall, but that promise remained unfulfilled, and the president instead redirected billions of taxpayer dollars from Defense Department reserves.
While Abbott did say he would announce more details about the wall next week, his plan was condemned as ill-planned by immigration activists, who also threatened legal challenges.
“There is no substantive plan,” said Edna Yang, the co-executive director of the Texas-based immigration legal aid and advocacy group American Gateways. “It’s not going to make any border community or county safer.”
Abbott’s announcement comes amid escalating tensions between the governor and the administration of President Joe Biden.
Biden issued a proclamation that stopped border wall construction on his first day of office, and has since undone multiple Trump-era immigration policies. Abbott, for his part, has blamed Biden’s rollback of Trump’s rules for the influx of migrants at the border in recent months.
Two weeks ago, the governor deployed over 1,000 National Guard members and troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety to the border as part of an initiative launched in March to ramp up border security dubbed Operation Lone Star.
Last week, Abbott issued a disaster declaration which, among other measures, directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to strip the state licenses of all shelters that house migrant children and have contracts with the federal government.
The move, which federal officials have already threatened to take legal action against, could effectively force the 52 state-licensed shelters housing around 8,600 children to move the minors elsewhere.
During Thursday’s press conference, Abbott also outlined a variety of other border initiatives, including appropriating $1 billion for border security, creating a task force on border security, and increasing arrests for migrants who enter the country illegally.
“While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows,” he said. “Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve.”