By Talia Kaplan
Published May 10, 2019
Former Hillary Clinton campaign adviser Antjuan Seawright said Friday that regardless of whether Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supports 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, he'll still have a problem “with the most dominant voting bloc in our party, and that’s African-American voters.”
Seawright, a Democratic strategist based in South Carolina, made the comment on “Outnumbered Overtime,” as reports surfaced that the freshman congresswoman said she is "entertaining" the idea of endorsing a candidate ifor president.
She added that while she hasn’t yet picked a candidate from the crowded field, she believes Sens. Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders are people she could endorse.
“What I’d like to see in a presidential candidate is one that has a coherent worldview and logic from which all these policy proposals are coming forward,” the New York Democrat told reporters on Thursday. “I think Senator Sanders has that. I also think Senator Warren has that.”
“She has influence because you all in the media give her more influence than she really has.”
Said Seawright, “Here’s the things about endorsements, they bring some of your friends but they bring all of your enemies and so endorsements cut two ways in some cases.”
Seawright said that when Sanders "comes to South Carolina, which will decide who our nominee will be, I think he will have the same problem he had in 2016, particularly with [former Vice President Joe] Biden, [Sen. Kamala] Harris and [Sen. Cory] Booker in the race.”
On “Outnumbered Overtime,” Seawright was joined by former Florida Republican congressional candidate Noelle Nikpour, who said Ocasio-Cortez "has a little bit of a celebrity appeal.”
“The thing of it is, with Bernie Sanders, her policies pretty much align with his,” Nikpour said.
“Being seen together, being sitting there together working on something together, actually the optics, whether or not she endorses him or not, the optics, you know, if you really like AOC and you look at her sitting with Bernie working on a piece of legislation that could be enough. You don't have to endorse somebody per se with the optics of that.”
Seawright chimed in and said, “but, she was also having coffee with Elizabeth Warren a few weeks ago and the media and everyone fell out of their chair about it,” referencing a March lunch meeting on Capitol Hill between the two Democrats.
Nikpour countered, “there’s a difference between having coffee and working on a piece of legislation.”
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“One can argue that she has a lot in common with quite a few of the people who are seeking our party's nomination. I just don’t think it's transferable,” Seawright said.“They both serve in the Congress, they both have similar interests in legislation and ideas and so take it for what it is. But again, at the end of the day, her endorsement doesn't heal Bernie Sanders’ African-American problem in the Democratic primary.”
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Reports that Ocasio-Cortez was “entertaining” the idea of possibly endorsing Sanders came after the two unveiled a new proposal on Thursday that aims to put a 15 percent cap on credit card interest rates, with the ability of states to establish lower limits if they wish.