Leftists See Coronavirus as "Opportunity" for Progressive Agenda

AOC and Bernie Sanders are the latest to openly suggest the COVID-19 is an opportunity to implement their agenda.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) said in a new interview she is "thankful" people see the "fragility of our system" in light of the coronavirus pandemic and are thus more receptive to government remedies.

"Government at its best is an instrument to the public and the public's means of taking care of itself, and this pandemic has just exposed us [to] the fragility of our system," she said on "The Daily," a New York Times podcast. "I already hear people telling me, ‘I can't believe I didn't see this before. I cannot believe I didn't see this before,' and I'm just thankful that people are seeing it now."

Ocasio-Cortez pointed to increased support for Medicare for All, the single-payer health care system championed by fellow democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.). A recent Morning Consult poll found 55 percent of registered voters support it, the highest recorded in the survey since June 2019.

Her New York City district, which covers parts of Queens and the Bronx, is among the worst affected by the virus in the United States.

"Do you think this moment represents an opportunity for the progressive [movement]?" podcast host Michael Barbaro asked, adding it was "weird" to think of a tragedy that way.

"Yeah," Ocasio-Cortez said, noting progressive movements flourished following President Donald Trump's victory in 2016.

Other Democrats have made similar remarks about the disease that has killed more than 30,000 Americans. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) saidthe coronavirus gave Democrats a "tremendous opportunity" to advance their policy goals. California governor Gavin Newsom (D.) said the virus presented a chance for a new "progressive era" and could "reshape the way we do business and how we govern."

Here's more from the Washington Examiner

Sen. Bernie Sanders thinks the arrival of the coronavirus in the United States has exposed the country's biggest weaknesses and should spark meaningful change to American institutions. 

"In the midst of the twin crises that we face — the coronavirus pandemic and the meltdown of our economy — it’s imperative that we re-examine some of the foundations of American society, understand why they are failing us, and fight for a fairer and more just nation," Sanders wroteMonday in an op-ed for the New York Times. "If there is any silver lining in the horrible pandemic and economic collapse we’re experiencing, it is that many in our country are now beginning to rethink the basic assumptions underlying the American value system." 

Sanders, a former candidate for president and a vocal proponent of "Medicare for all," said the disparities and inequalities in America's healthcare system are on display during the pandemic. 

...

Sanders, who has been critical of President Trump's response to the virus, said change to America's healthcare, education, and social services programs must be made before another pandemic or financial crisis hits the U.S. 

"Simply opposing Mr. Trump will not be enough — we will need to articulate a new direction for America," Sanders wrote. "I get very tired of the politicians and pundits who tell us how difficult it is to bring about fundamental changes in our society. Let’s get to work and get it done." 

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