- 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)
Republicans Say They Will Block Bill To Avert Government Shutdown and Debt Default
Democrats argue the bill is necessary to prevent an economic catastrophe.
Democrats Introduce Legislation
Democrats in the House and Senate unveiled sweeping legislation Monday that aimed to keep the government funded through early December, lift the federal debt limit, and provide around $35 billion for Afghan refugees and natural disaster recovery.
The bill is needed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires next week. It is also necessary to prevent the Treasury Department from reaching the limit of its borrowing authority, which would trigger the U.S. to default on its debt for the first time ever.
For weeks, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has urged Congress to raise the federal debt limit, also known as the debt ceiling, warning that the department will soon exhaust all of its measures to keep the federal government within its legal borrowing limit.
If the U.S. were to default, it would be unable to pay its debts, sending massive shockwaves through the financial system.
Democrats have painted the bill as crucial to avert an economic doomsday that would massively undermine recovery.
They argue that the combination of a government shutdown and a debt default would destabilize global markets and leave millions of Americans without essential aid.
Republicans Vow to Oppose Raising Debt Ceiling
Despite the considerable threats, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly said Republicans will not vote to increase the debt ceiling, arguing that Democrats should do it without their help because they are pushing trillions of dollars in new spending priorities.
Democrats have slammed the Republican leader’s stance as hypocritical. They point out that while it is true they are proposing new spending, it has not been approved yet, and the debt that currently risks default has been incurred by both parties.
Democrats also noted that trillions of dollars were added to the federal debt under former President Donald Trump, which is more than what has been added by President Joe Biden. As a result, Republicans raised the debt ceiling three times during the Trump administration with the support of Democrats.
McConnell, however, remains unlikely to budge. On Monday, White House officials said McConnell has not outlined any requests or areas of negotiation in exchange for support of the legislation.
While the bill is expected to pass the House, it appears all but doomed in the Senate, where it needs 60 votes to break the filibuster.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (Politico)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom Survives Recall
Experts say the outcome should act as a warning for Republicans who tie themselves to former President Donald Trump and attempt to undermine election results by promoting false voter fraud claims.
Recall Effort Fails
After seven months and an estimated $276 million in taxpayer money, the Republican-led effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) failed Tuesday.
Just under 70% of the votes have been reported as of Wednesday morning, showing that “no” on the recall received 63.9% of the vote. That’s nearly twice as many votes as “yes,” which had 36.1%.
According to The Washington Post, even if the margin narrows as more votes are counted, this still marks one of the biggest rejections of any recall effort in America over the last century.
Analysts say the historic rebuke was driven by high Democratic turnout and broader fears over resurging COVID cases.
While the Delta variant continues to push new infections to record highs in many parts of the country with lax mask rules and low vaccination rates, California, once a global epicenter of the pandemic, now has one of the highest vaccination rates and lowest new caseloads in the nation.
Newsom has continually tried to convince voters that those figures are the results of his vaccine and masking policies, which have been some of the most aggressive in the U.S.
Given that polls showed the pandemic was the top concern for California voters, it is clear that the majority favored his policies over those of his competitors. Larry Elder, the Republican talk radio host of led the field of 46 challengers, ran on a platform of getting rid of essentially all COVID restrictions.
In his victory speech Tuesday night, Newsom painted the recall’s failure not only as a win for Democratic coronavirus policies but also for Democracy at large.
“We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic,” he said. “We said yes to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression.”
“I think about just in the last few days and the former president put out saying this election was rigged,” he continued. “Democracy is not a football. You don’t throw it around. That’s more like a, I don’t know, antique vase. You can drop it and smashing a million different pieces. And that’s what we’re capable of doing if we don’t stand up to meet the moment and push back.”
“I said this many, many times on the campaign trail, we may have defeated Trump, but Trump-ism is not dead in this country. The Big Lie, January 6th insurrection, all the voting suppression efforts that are happening all across this country.”
A Warning for Republicans
Newsom’s remarks took aim at the efforts by Elder and other Republicans — including former President Donald Trump — who over the last week have claimed falsely and without evidence that voter fraud helped secured the governor’s win before Election Day even took place.
While it is currently unknown whether that narrative may have prompted more Republican voters to stay home, Newsom’s effort to cast Edler as a Trump-like candidate and the recall as an undemocratic, Republican power grab appears to have been effective.
Now, political strategists say that the outcome of the recall should serve as a warning that Republicans who pin themselves to Trump and his Big Lie playbook may be hurt more in certain states.
“The recall does offer at least one lesson to Democrats in Washington ahead of next year’s midterm elections: The party’s pre-existing blue- and purple-state strategy of portraying Republicans as Trump-loving extremists can still prove effective with the former president out of office,” The New York Times explained.
Even outside of a strongly blue state like California, analysts say this strategy will also be effective with similar candidates in battleground states like Georgia, Arizona, Missouri, and Pennsylvania, which will be essential to deciding control of the Senate.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (NPR)
Justice Department Sues Texas Over Abortion Ban
The department claims the Texas law violates past Supreme Court precedents on abortion and infringes on Constitutional protections.
Biden Administration Takes Aim at Texas Law
The Department of Justice sued Texas on Thursday in an attempt to block the state’s newly enacted law that effectively prohibits all abortions by banning the procedure after six weeks, before most people know they are pregnant.
The abortion law, which is the most restrictive in the country and does not provide exceptions for rape or incest, allows private citizens to take legal action against anyone who helps a person terminate their pregnancy after six weeks.
In its lawsuit, the Justice Department argued that the Texas law is unconstitutional because it violates past Supreme Court precedents through a technical loophole.
While numerous other states have passed similar laws banning abortion after about six weeks, federal judges have struck down those measures on the grounds that they are inconsistent with Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court decisions that states cannot prevent someone from seeking an abortion before a fetus can viably live outside the womb, usually around 22 to 24 weeks.
The Texas law, however, skirts the high court decisions by deputizing citizens to enforce the law rather than state government officials, taking the state out of the equation entirely and protecting it from legal responsibility.
Individuals who do so do not have to prove any personal injury or connection to those they take legal action against, which can range from abortion providers to rideshare drivers who take someone to a clinic.
If their lawsuit is successful, the citizen is entitled to a $10,000 award.
DOJ Lawsuit Targets Constitutionality
During a press conference detailing the DOJ lawsuit, Attorney General Merrick Garland referred to the enforcement mechanism as “an unprecedented” effort with the “obvious and expressly acknowledged intention” to prevent Texans from their constitutionally protected right to have an abortion.
“This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans — whatever their politics or party — should fear,” Garland said, adding that the provision of the law allowing civilians “to serve as bounty hunters” may become “a model for action in other areas, by other states, and with respect to other constitutional rights and judicial precedents.”
The Justice Department argued that the Texas policy violates equal protection guarantees under the 14th Amendment as well as the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which establishes that the Constitution and federal law generally take precedence over state law.
The lawsuit also claimed that the law interferes with the constitutional obligation of federal employees to provide access to abortion, including in cases of rape or incest, to people who are under the care of federal agencies or contractors such as those in prisons.
Both Sides See Path to Supreme Court
While proponents of abortion rights applauded the Justice Department’s legal challenge, officials in Texas defended the law and accused the Biden administration of filing the lawsuit for political reasons.
“President Biden and his administration are more interested in changing the national narrative from their disastrous Afghanistan evacuation and reckless open border policies instead of protecting the innocent unborn,” a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), said in a statement.
“We are confident that the courts will uphold and protect that right to life.”
The DOJ’s suit will now be decided by a federal judge for the Western District of Texas, based in Austin.
Depending on how that court rules, either opponents or supporters of the abortion ban are expected to appeal the case, sending it to the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal and likely ultimately placing the matter before the Supreme Court again in a matter of months.
The Supreme Court allowed the law to go into effect by declining to approve an emergency petition to block the measure last week, but it did not rule on the constitutionality of the policy.
As a result, the Justice Department’s legal challenge could force the high court to hear another facet of the law that it has not yet considered if it decides to see the case.