AOC warns against denying eventual Dem nominee: 'Dangerous territory'

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., warned her party about messing with the nominating process, arguing that it put candidates in "dangerous territory in terms of defeating" President Trump.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea for people to try to use superdelegate or other kind[s] of subversive policies to deny anybody the nomination because it’s incredibly divisive to do so, and very demoralizing, which is a direct threat in November,” she told TIME magazine ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

She added: "The moment you start playing games trying to deny whoever is the nominee, we really start to get into dangerous territory in terms of defeating Trump.”

Her comments on Monday came as her chosen candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., started gaining traction just before the Iowa caucuses -- the first for a long election cycle in which Sanders typically polled second or third behind former Vice President Joe Biden.

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Some have speculated that Sanders' massive base of supporters could create an issue during the nominating process. He previously lost to former Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who faced resistance from his delegates during the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Ocasio-Cortez's warning underscored the party's apparent desperation in replacing Trump. Seen as a progressive icon, Ocasio-Cortez hasn't been afraid to flout party leadership and endorse primary challengers to Democratic incumbents.

In January, Fox News reported that Ocasio-Cortez refused to pay her dues to the campaign arm for Congressional Democrats -- a form of protest for the committee "blacklisting groups that help progressive candidates."

Amid a delay in caucus results on Monday, Sanders highlighted the need to replace Trump.

“Tonight, in this enormously consequential 2020 election, the first state in the country has voted and today marks the beginning of the end for Donald Trump,” Sanders said.

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“No matter what our political views may be, the American people know we cannot continue to have a president who is a pathological liar,” he continued. “Who is corrupt, who does not understand our constitution, who is trying to divide our people up by the color of their skin, their religion, their sexual orientation or where they were born."

And despite her previous criticism, Clinton herself pledged to support Sanders if he became the Democrat nominee.

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.