Nancy Pelosi Doesn’t Understand the Direction of Her Own Party
Voters in New York and Michigan knew Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib were democratic socialists when they sent them to Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. So did the people who helped Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who calls himself a democratic socialist, become the “fundraising front-runner” of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, as CNN reported Sunday, having raised $18.2 million in the first 41 days of his campaign.
According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., however, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Sanders and other members of the progressive wing of Congress represent “like, five people,” she said in a “60 Minutes” interview Sunday. When asked by CNN for a response, Ocasio-Cortez’s office declined to comment.
Pelosi also told interviewer Lesley Stahl that “I do reject socialism as an economic system. If people have that view, that’s their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party.”
Democratic presidential candidates like former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Kamala Harris, D-Calif, and Cory Booker, D-N.J., may not call themselves socialists or have a membership in the Democratic Socialists of America—the organization that helped send Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez to Congress, and others to state legislatures across the country—but many of them have supported policies associated with it, including Medicare-for-all. The elected officials among them have even co-sponsored legislation hoping to make the health care proposal a reality.
Public support for Medicare-for-all among Democratic voters is also growing. According to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, approximately 56% of respondents either “strongly favor” or “somewhat favor” the idea.
A similar pattern has occurred with the Green New Deal. All of the Democratic senators running for president have backed some version of the environmental legislation. Democratic public opinion is also moving in its favor.
According to a December 2018 poll from the Yale Program on Climate Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, 92% of surveyed Democrats support the idea of a Green New Deal. Even 64% of surveyed Republicans in the same poll supported it. The poll-takers didn’t mention to respondents which members of Congress supported the legislation.
Even the concept of socialism is starting to be viewed more positively, according to a 2018 Gallup poll. “For the first time in Gallup’s measurement over the past decade,” writer Frank Newport explained, “Democrats have a more positive image of socialism than they do of capitalism.” The poll found 57% of respondents viewed socialism positively, compared to 47% who felt the same toward capitalism.
Pelosi, at least on Sunday night, remained unconvinced that more left-leaning policies would be helpful to the Democratic Party, or that the progressive representatives should keep the stances with which they were elected. She told Stahl, “By and large, whatever orientation they came to Congress with, they know we have to hold the center. We have to go down the mainstream.”Your support matters…
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