Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refuted complaints from other Democrats that progressive policies hurt their campaign for the House, arguing that their party is still campaigning “as though it’s 2005.”
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, said Democrats failed to adapt to campaigning in a new era, particularly when it comes to digital outreach, which she credited as a strength to Republicans.
“The question that we have is how can we build a more effective democratic operation that is stronger and more resilient to republican attacks,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Her comments come as House Democrats grapple with not only failing to pick up as many vulnerable GOP seats as they hoped but also losing at seven of their own members. They’re now facing a shrinking majority in the House.
Earlier this week, several frontline members who only narrowly won reelection complained that party leadership didn’t do enough to protect them from GOP attack ads accusing them of embracing socialism and anti-police policies.
Even Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said the party needed to better on approaching controversial messaging, as the ‘defund the police’ movement was a key part of the GOP’s strategy.
The South Carolina Democrat compared the ‘defund the police’ movement, which calls for shifting resources away from police departments and back into investments into community schools and other resources, to the “Burn Baby Burn” slogan detracted from the Civil Rights Movement.
“I am against sloganeering,” he said on CNN. “We need to work on what makes headway not what makes headlines.”
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez pushed back on these kinds of complaints, saying that while not every Democrat needs to run as a progressive, there were common threads that they could support.
She also said it was “irresponsible to pour gasoline” on existing tensions within the caucus during a heated private party conference call just 48 hours after Election day, while data was still coming in.
“There are, at least in the House caucus, very deep divisions within the party,” she said. “And I believe that we need to really come together and not allow Republican narratives to tear us apart.”