Former Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden snagged major victories in Tuesday night's primaries, widening his lead over fellow candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and signaling the beginning of the end of a divisive Democratic primary.
The two candidates represent two highly different schools of thought on the best way to beat President Donald Trump in November and the ways to move forward after he's gone.
Sanders champions bold, progressive policies like Medicare for All, while Biden pushes more for a return to normalcy. At times, the two camps can seem irreconcilable, leading to bitter confrontations.
But after a disheartening night for Bernie Sanders, one of his most formidable supporters and surrogates—Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)—offered some heartening words.
After admitting that it had been a "tough night," the Congresswoman noted the generational divide within the Democratic party, and that older voters had decisively chosen Biden, whom she congratulated.
"First of all, I don't think it's appropriate to dismiss older voters. We don't blame voters, we don't dismiss voters, and we don't think of people as disposable. No matter how old you are, no matter what state you live in, your vote matters, and it's something that we should fight for, and we should fight for every community and every vote."
She reached out to those frustrated at what seemed like an unwillingness to embrace ambitious policies, especially among young people, whose turnout left a lot to be desired:
"People get better at learning to vote over time. People get better at voting their values over time, but a lot of generations politically do get defined over time. And it seems like our generation has a streak of progressivism in it that doesn't seem to be going away any time soon."
She urged young Bernie supporters not to give up hope, and not to turn over the table.
"There's a lot of folks out there that don't want you to vote. If you're feeling sad, if you're feeling down, let yourself feel that way, but the number one rule in politics—my opinion—and in organizing in general is to never ever ever ever let your heart turn black. You can't do it. We cannot afford to do that. There are too many people's hearts who are on the line. The worst thing we can do is allow cynicism to guide our actions."
People were moved by her unifying words in such a divisive time.
Many saw signs of greatness and a promising future in her calm determination.
Maybe a unified Democratic party isn't out of reach yet after all.