Omar: Biden Is Not Progressive Enough

‘We want somebody who really has a plan that is going to tackle a lot of the systematic challenges that we have’

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Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) said presidential candidate Joe Biden does not fit the progressive agenda that she believes people want. 

"There are few people who fit into the kind of progress that we all want to see in this country. And I would say he is not one of them," Omar said on Saturday when asked about Biden. 

During her keynote speech at the Iowa People's Presidential Forum, Omar said she wanted "a president who realizes we are not just fighting for one election, we are fighting for the very soul of our democracy and what society we want to become."

The Guardian asked Omar whether Biden could be the candidate she described. 

"I think it has been very clear to many of the people who have been creating the kind of movement that is exciting generations that we want somebody who really has a plan that is going to tackle a lot of the systematic challenges that we have, and he doesn't​," Omar said. 

Seventeen Democratic presidential candidates attended the forum, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), and South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg. Biden did not attend.

Ilhan Omar is among the House "squad" members, which consists of progressive freshman congresswomen like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.). 

The squad and other progressive leaders reflect the divide within the Democratic Party between centrist Democrats like Biden and Democratic socialists like Sanders. 

During a CNN interview in July, Biden was asked about the competing 2020 Democratic field and the increased push for progressive economic policies like Medicare for All.

"That's what this election is about. I'm happy to debate that issue," Biden said. "And all those issues with my friends because guess what, look who won the races. Look who won last time out. And by the way, I think Ocasio-Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman, but she won a primary. In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream Democrats who are very progressive on social issues and very strong on education and health care."

Joe Biden maintained the lead since he entered the 2020 race but according to a recent Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) holds the lead with 22 percent and Biden with 20 percent. Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) remains in third, polling at 11 percent.