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Bernie Sanders Is Banking on the Power of the Squad

Three of the four most visible new faces in Washington are endorsing Senator Sanders.

by Tim Marcin, Cameron Joseph, Daniel Newhauser, and Liz Landers
16 October 2019, 2:21pm

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

The Squad has Bernie’s back.

Three of the four famous freshman congresswomen — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib — are endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders in his 2020 bid for the Democratic nomination.

Ocasio-Cortez will appear as a much-hyped “special guest” at a Sanders rally in New York City on Saturday, sources in the campaign confirmed to VICE News Tuesday night. After that news broke, Omar announced her endorsement of Sanders, although she won’t appear at the rally. Tlaib will also back the campaign soon.

Former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner, national co-chair of the Sanders campaign, confirmed Tuesday night that Ocasio-Cortez will be the special guest at the Queens rally — dubbed “Bernie’s Back.” It’s the first rally Sanders has held since his campaign revealed that he suffered a heart attack a few weeks ago while on the campaign trail.

Sanders' progressive history has enabled candidates like Ocasio-Cortez to be unabashedly progressive on the national stage, Turner said. Now, Ocasio-Cortez can return the favor by lending Sanders some millennial energy.

"For all the haters who say that he's not a feminist enough, all the haters who say he too old, she brings that youthfulness with her to complement what he already did in 2016," she told VICE News after the Democratic debate in Ohio. "He already brings the thunder... This just takes him to the next level."

The liberal congresswomen, and Ocasio-Cortez especially, were considered prized endorsements and represent a well-timed win for Sanders, who has slipped to a consistent third place in the polls.

READ: Inside Bernie’s fight to stay close in Iowa

In announcing her endorsement, Omar emphasized Sanders’ commitment to fighting for working class voters.

“Bernie is leading a working class movement to defeat Donald Trump that transcends generation, ethnicity, and geography,” Omar said on Twitter. “I know this from experience — I’ve worked with him up close on bold progressive reforms. I’ve seen the values that motivate his fight for progress.”

It's not yet clear if Pressley, who hails from the same state as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), will endorse Sanders. She’s noted in the past that the four members of The Squad don’t always agree.

“We are not a monolith,” she said in August. “We don’t land in the same place on every vote. We are each our own people.”

But the Sanders campaign left the door open for Pressley to back them eventually.

When asked why the whole squad isn’t endorsing, Turner said, “Yet.”

Cover: In this July 15, 2019, file photo, from left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

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The Squad
AOC
Rashida Tlaib
Ilhan Omar
Ayanna Pressley