AOC backs Biden but takes aim at his fracking policy: 'It will be a privilege to lobby him'

Young progressives ‘want to vote for who they are going to lobby,’ New York congresswoman says

Griffin Connolly
Sunday 25 October 2020 15:50 GMT
Barack Obama mocks Donald Trump for walking out of 60 Minutes interview as he rallies Joe Biden supporters in Miami

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez re-affirmed her support for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday despite lingering policy differences on several key issues such as fracking to produce natural gas wells.

“It will be a privilege to lobby him,” the freshman Democratic congresswoman said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, indicating that while Mr Biden is not the perfect candidate for progressives, the 78-year-old former vice president has signalled a willingness to listen to young liberal activists.

“They want to vote for who they are going to lobby,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said of young voters.

“There is no question that Joe Biden is a much better person in that position to be receptive and actually listen to the voices of advocates than Donald Trump,” she said.

During the Democratic primaries, Mr Biden initially supported a ban on fracking, before later softening his stance. He now supports a plan to stop issuing new permits for natural gas companies to frack on federal lands. But current operations can carry on.

The former vice president’s stance on fracking has become a key issue in the swing state of Pennsylvania, where the industry accounts for roughly 26,000 jobs, according to recent estimates.

Climate scientists have shown fracking for natural gas, as it is currently done, is harmful for surrounding ecosystems and releases carbon into the air, contributing to global warming.

Recent polling in the Keystone State has found Mr Biden with a lead ranging from 5 to 8 percentage points over Mr Trump, consistent with survey results for most of the year since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez dismissed the notion on Sunday that young progressives are sitting out the 2020 presidential election to protest Mr Biden’s candidacy over key policy differences on issues like fracking.

“Young people right now have a very disciplined activist mindset,” the congresswoman said.

“They are not here with the intent of voting for their favourite person or voting for someone that they think is perfect as president,” she said. “I think young people are actually quite disciplined, and quite realistic and pragmatic in their vote.”

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