Centrist House Democrats got vocal with their more liberal counterparts on Thursday in a private conference call discussing their outcome in the 2020 election.
There was a bitter exchange that lasted more than three hours as they sniped at each other over ideology and tactics, with centrists laying blame on far-left views they said cost party seats.
“We need to not ever use the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again. . . . We lost good members because of that,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), who narrowly leads in her reelection bid, said heatedly. “If we are classifying Tuesday as a success . . . we will get f—ing torn apart in 2022.”
Others including Marc Veasey of Texas agreed, pointing out he had seen Republicans use the term “defund the police” as a successful strategy against Democrats. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a Florida Democrat who suffered an unexpected loss to a Republican challenger, argued through tears that the party’s infighting on Twitter needs to stop.
Democrats argued that one of their biggest problems was messaging from Republicans vilifying them as “socialists” over Medicare-for-All, the Green New Deal, and defunding the police.
There was also finger pointing at Speaker Pelosi for not making a coronavirus deal with Trump, saying it made them look like obstructionists.
Pelosi reassured her members that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, that they had lost some battles but won the war, retaining the House and seeing Joe Biden capture the White House.
Liberals, meanwhile, fired back. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, argued that Democrats shouldn’t single out people and ideas that energize the party base. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), a self-described democratic socialist, grew angry, accusing her colleagues of only being interested in appealing to White people in suburbia.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had her own analysis. Follow this Twitter feed for more from AOC.
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