Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says the Democratic Party needs new leadership, and should begin with a new Speaker of the House and Senate Minority Leader.
Ocasio-Cortez says Democrats have failed to create a succession plan once Pelosi and her generation of longtime leaders — many of them now in their 80s — step aside.
Pelosi has indicated that this upcoming two-year term will be her last as Speaker.
The New York rep says she’s not ready, though.
“It’s easy for someone to say, ‘Oh well, you know, why don’t you run?’ but the House is extraordinarily complex, and I’m not ready. It can’t be me. I know that I couldn’t do that job.”
“Even conservative members of the party who think Nancy Pelosi is far too liberal for them don’t necessarily have any viable alternatives, which is why whenever there’s a challenge, it kind of collapses,” she continued. “And that is, I think, the result of just many years of power being concentrated in leadership with lack of … real grooming of a next generation of leadership.”
Ocasio-Cortez seemed to point toward Hakeem Jeffries, House Democratic Caucus Chairman and Congressional Black Caucus member, also of New York, whom many Democrats have looked at as a natural heir. Another possible replacement is incoming Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, of Massachusetts.
Ocasio-Cortez gave no indication that she would not vote for Pelosi, even while a few moderate Democrats have. Some progressives want AOC to primary Chuck Schumer in 2022, but she hasn’t said if she’s interested.
She again cautioned that there is no succession plan or serious candidates who could fill the vacuum left behind the aging duo of Pelosi and Schumer.
“The hesitancy that I have is that I want to make sure that if we’re pointing people in a direction that we have a plan,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And my concern, and this I acknowledge as a failing as something that we need to sort out, is that there isn’t a plan. How do we fill that vacuum?