Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Beto O’Rourke Steal Some Thunder From 2020 Democrats .
The struggle to get noticed in a bulging field of Democratic presidential contenders doesn’t get easier when you have
to compete with the likes of party stars Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Beto O’Rourke.
But as the candidates took turns giving lengthy, often policy-weighted interviews, they were eclipsed by two Democrats who aren’t even in the race. New York Representative Ocasio-Cortez and O’Rourke, a former Texas representative, each commanded huge crowds and dominated the conference buzz.
O’Rourke made a widely expected “surprise” appearance at the premier of a documentary about his close but
ultimately failed 2018 Senate race against Republican Ted Cruz. He disappointed fans that hoped he’d use the occasion to announce he’s also entering the presidential contest. Ocasio-Cortez, 29, weeks into her first term and not old enough to run for the White House, packed a huge ballroom at the Austin Convention Center to answer questions about her vision for a Green New Deal and identity politics.
Their appearances overshadowed sessions with two sitting U.S. senators who are candidates for the Democratic nomination,
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, although both drew full houses of attentive listeners. Warren inspired an animated response to her proposal, announced on Friday, to break up giant tech companies like Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Co.’s Google in a bid to ensure a competitive market.
But Ocasio-Cortez’s call to smash political norms was the session that attracted the most diverse and enthusiastic crowd. As she entered, about one-third of the audience leaped up, cheered and raised their phones to capture photos and videos.
A queue of people waiting to ask questions of the youngest woman in Congress included television personality Bill Nye,