New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday appeared to endorse the idea that nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd caused a surge in Democratic voter registration, and thus contributed to a win for Joe Biden.
The congresswoman re-tweeted a chart from Tom Bonier, a Democratic political strategist, that showed voter registration numbers among Democrats and Republicans in May – the month Mr Floyd was killed while in police custody.
The chart showed Democratic voter registration bottoming out and being overtaken by Republicans in early May amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But in late May – when Mr Floyd was killed – Democratic voter registration appeared to overtake Republicans.
Mr Bonier suggested “it was the George Floyd/BLM demonstrations that create a huge Dem voter reg spike.”
The chart, Mr Bonier said, was derived from TargetSmart, an information services company specialising in data analysis of politics, non-profits, and labour organisations.
The study said that after the “murder of George Floyd and demands for justice and equality,” there was a “significant surge in turnout among Black voters, who comprised 35% of early ballots cast before the demonstrations, and 47% after they began”.
“Youth intensity also surged as well, with voters under the age of 30 seeing their early vote share almost double in a day”, the study said.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s apparent endorsement of Bonier’s tweet, is in line with arguments she’s made against the idea that progressive politics turns off voters and plays into the hands of the Republican Party.
On Thursday, she harshly criticised former Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill for saying during an appearance on MSNBC that Republicans have taken advantage of voters who feel alienated by Democrats’ embrace of issues like gun control, gay marriage, and transgender rights.
“Whether you’re talking guns, or issues surrounding the right to abortion in this country, or things like gay marriage and rights for ‘transsexuals,’ and other people we as a party have tried to ‘look after’ and make sure they’re treated fairly—as we circled those issues, we left some voters behind and Republicans dove in with a vengeance.”
Ms Ocasio-Cortez, who won reelection in New York’s 14th congressional district, argued that backing conservative positions cost Ms McCaskill her Senate seat in the 2018 midterms.
“Why do we listen to people who lost the elections as if they are experts in winning elections?” Ms Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response to a clip of Ms McCaskill. “McCaskill tried her approach. She ran as a caravan-hysteria Dem& lost while grassroots organisers won progressive measures in MO. Her language here shows how she took her base for granted”.