Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., pushed back on Democratic leadership Wednesday, after they questioned whether or not the progressive wave, which has caught widespread attention, is actually beneficial to the party or to blame for the recent loses in the U.S. House of Representatives.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., claimed the “socialist” agenda pushed by progressive House members, including Ocasio-Cortez, has hurt the party and could be to blame for the seats lost in House races last week.
Democrats in the House, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who some have speculated could be succeeded by Jeffries next election, were expecting to pick up a greater majority lead – but the opposite occurred.
Though Democrats still hold the majority, they lost at least six seats and now hold one of the slimmest majorities in the House in decades.
“Do we want to win, do we want to govern, or do we want to be internet celebrities?” Jefferies asked during a private call with fellow caucus members last week,Politico reported Wednesday.
“I think it’s a useful conversation for us to have because the socialism message wasn’t helpful,” the caucus chair added.
But Ocasio-Cortez has pushed back on this sentiment and questioned whether this mindset is actually the reason the House lost seats.
“Pretty astounding that some Dems don’t believe it’s possible to govern, be politically popular, and command formidable bully pulpits at the same time, but it actually explains a lot about how we got here,” the first-term New York representative, who won reelection last week, said Wednesday.
Ocasio-Cortez has driven the question that has voters and elected officials alike are asking: whether or not the Democratic Party has become too progressive or not progressive enough?
Sen. Doug Jones, the only incumbent Democratic candidate to lose his Senate seat after making a historical flip during a 2018 special election in Alabama, also questioned the efficiency of how the party is running elections – suggesting that the party spends too much time focusing on candidate personalities and not enough time on the voters who support Democratic policies.
“Democrats have not been able to fully counter the Republican narrative,” Jones, D-Ala., told Politico this week.
Jones contends that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee “spend too much time investing in candidates and not the electorate. They don’t invest in House districts, they don’t invest in states.”
But Democratic leadership still seem to think that messages like “defund the police” and calls for stricter environmental policies in the Green New Deal – policies that the GOP believes are socialist in nature, is what has hurt the Democratic Party.
Ocasio-Cortez countered this belief and pointed to the candidates that actually kept their seats, backed progressive measures that centrist Democrats are now questioning.
“Every single swing seat member that co-sponsored Medicare-for-all won their reelection,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Sunday. “The conversation is a little bit deeper than that, than just saying anything progressive is toxic and a losing message.”
Fox News could not immediately reach Ocasio-Cortez or Jones for comment.