Doug Jones: Bernie Sanders, AOC are ‘voices who need to be heard, voices that are important’
U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) on Wednesday interviewed with PBS News Hour, coinciding with the third day of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
The interview broached the state of the national Democratic Party, as well as their ticket for November’s election: presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
Jones continued his streak of heaping praise on Biden and Harris, asserting that both running mates are popular in Alabama.
Of Harris’ inclusion on the ticket specifically, Alabama’s junior senator remarked that people in the Yellowhammer State “are very excited.”
“I mean, from Mobile, Alabama, in the south, to Huntsville, Alabama, in the north and east and west, people are very excited about Kamala being on this ticket,” Jones added.
He even suggested that Harris, the freshman senator from California, was a better choice than U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) would have been.
“But Kamala — out of all the great potential candidates that Joe had to choose from, Kamala always seemed to be at the top of the list,” Jones said. “She’s been in Alabama a lot. She’s been down here with the late John Lewis and me walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She came in here in March for me and did an event with my wife at one of our great historically black colleges and universities, Miles College.”
“So, there — she’s known here. I mean, you have heard Jim Clyburn talk about Joe Biden, saying, ‘Joe Biden – we know Joe Biden, and Joe knows us,'” he continued. “Well, that’s the way Kamala is in Alabama. People know her. She knows the folks here in Alabama. There is a tremendous amount of excitement here.”
The most striking comments from Jones’ interview came towards the end, when he started talking about socialists in the party, seemingly trying to walk the tight rope of distancing his beliefs from theirs while at the same time embracing them for adding diversity to the party.
“Joe Biden is no socialist, OK? Kamala Harris is no socialist. And Doug Jones is no socialist. You can try to pin labels. And that’s what gives us an advantage,” Jones advised. “You’re not going to be able to pin those labels and have them stick.”
PBS host Judy Woodruff subsequently noted that there are self-avowed socialists who have been highlighted during this week’s convention.
“Well, some of the voices folks are hearing are people like Bernie Sanders, who is a Democratic socialist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” she said, before asking Jones, “[I]s the left of the party an issue and a problem for candidates like you?”
“Oh, well, look, the left of the party is always an issue — they try to make it an issue,” Jones responded.
However, Jones proceeded to seemingly send some mixed messages. While embracing those on the far-left as “voices who need to be heard, voices that are important out there for all of us going forward,” he also compared them to fringe figures on the far-right who voice “racist comments” or believe in “QAnon conspiracy” theories.
Jones’ continued comments as follows:
The fact of the matter is, people just push that aside. Look, we’ve got voices on the left. But, you know, look what happened in Georgia just recently — I think it was Georgia — where a QAnon conspiracy theorist won the Republican nomination to go to Congress, and President Trump tweeted out that she’s one of the rising stars.
So, I don’t think people should be criticizing the voices on the left of the Democratic Party, voices who need to be heard, voices that are important out there for all of us going forward, if they’re not going to criticize the racist comments from folks like the lady who won the primary in Georgia the other day and this QAnon conspiracy theorist that President Trump tweeted out is a rising star.
So, we are going to have those voices on both sides in both parties. But I think the fact that the diversity of the Democratic Party is so reflective of America, it’s more reflective of Alabama than people understand and can appreciate, that’s why the strength of this party and the strength of this ticket, I think, is going to carry us forward to victory in November.
While an early endorser of Biden during the 2020 primary cycle, Jones had also committed to backing whomever the Democrats ultimately nominated against President Donald Trump, no matter how radical that Democratic nominee was.
Watch the full interview:
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn