Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might quit politics if Democrats continue to be “hostile” towards progressive causes, she has said in an explosive New York Times interview .
On Saturday, the Bronx native offered her congratulations to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, but slammed Democrats for blaming progressives after the party showed poorly in many of the Senate and House races that accompanied the election.
“Externally, there’s been a ton of support, but internally, (the party) been extremely hostile to anything that even smells progressive,” she said.
She admitted to the New York Times that she wasn’t even sure she was going to run for re-election this year, citing “stress,” “violence” and a “lack of support from her own party” as reasons for her reluctance.
Despite her initial hesitations, Ocasio-Cortez ran for and won second term in the House, handily defeating first-time Republican challenger John Cummings. But the odds of her staying put are still precarious, she asserted.
“I’m serious when I tell people the odds of me running for higher office and the odds of me just going off trying to start a homestead somewhere — they’re probably the same. It’s your own party thinking you’re the enemy,” she said. “When your own colleagues talk anonymously in the press and then turn around and say you’re bad because you actually append your name to your opinion.”
Post-election, several Democrats pointed fingers at their progressive colleagues for the party’s poor performance. Representative Abigal Spanberger, who narrowly won her seat in a conservative-leaning district of Virginia, blamed colleagues for supporting the “defund the police.” Democrats must consider the election results a “failure” and change strategies, or else they will be “crushed” in future elections, she said.
But Ocasio-Cortez said the failings came from the Democrats’ lack of core campaign abilities — not from any policy goals pursued by those further to the left of the party.
“There’s a reason Barack Obama built an entire national campaign apparatus outside of the Democratic National Committee,” she said. “And there’s a reason that when he didn’t activate or continue that, we lost House majorities. Because the party – in and of itself – does not have the core competencies, and no amount of money is going to fix that.”
It’s clear, she said, that progressive politics do not hurt candidates.
“Every single candidate that co-sponsored Medicare for All in a swing district kept their seat. We also know that co-sponsoring the Green New Deal was not a sinker. Mike Levin was an original co-sponsor of the legislation, and he kept his seat,” she said.
She accused moderate Democrats of being “sitting ducks” and attributed their losses to inadequately-funded campaigns.
“If you’re not door-knocking, if you’re not on the internet, if your main points of reliance are TV and mail, then you’re not running a campaign on all cylinders. I just don’t see how anyone could be making ideological claims when they didn’t run a full-fledged campaign,” she said.
The support for Donald Trump, she said, is an indicator of the unrest within the U.S., and Democrats need to commit to “anti-racist, deep canvassing in this country” to prevent more white voters from shifting to the other side. “There’s no amount of people of color and young people that you can turn out to offset that,” she said.
“Before the election, I offered to help every single swing district Democrat with their operation. And every single one of them, but five, refused my help,” she said. “And all five of the vulnerable or swing district people that I helped secured victory or are on a path to secure victory. And every single one that rejected my help is losing. And now they’re blaming us for their loss.”
It’s time for the party to stop viewing her and her progressive-minded colleagues as the enemy, she said.
“This isn’t even just about winning an argument. It’s that if they keep going after the wrong thing, I mean, they’re just setting up their own obsolescence,” she said.
Source: NATIONAL POST