Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has brought long-needed new energy to the Democratic Party since she was sworn into Congress in January, but not everyone in her camp is pleased with the newcomer’s approach to politics.
Democratic moderates, in particular, are pushing back against the progressive enthusiasm of congressional freshmen, like Ocasio-Cortez, the Washington Post reports. They are concerned that far-left proposals, like defunding the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, are both unrealistic and can alienate centrist voters.
“There is, without a doubt, a myth that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez somehow represents the narrative of Democratic primary voters in the country,” Alabama-based Democratic pollster John Anzalone, who polled for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election race, told news outlet. “Almost half of them identify themselves as moderates or conservative.”
According to Gallup polling of Democrats in 2018, he’s not so far off. The survey found that 51 percent of Democrats identified themselves as liberal, while 47 percent call themselves either moderate, 34 percent, or conservative, 13 percent.
While many career politicians have argued that millennial progressives are dividing the party since democratic socialists, like the Bronx Puerto Rican politico, began winning primaries last summer, the concerns intensified after a closed-door meeting of House Democrats last week. During the conversation, Ocasio-Cortez allegedly warned colleagues that those who continued to vote with Republicans, after many voted for a conservative amendment requiring that undocumented immigrants who try to buy guns be reported to ICE, could end up “on a list” of incumbents ripe for a liberal primary challenge.
For Anzalone, this is a sign that the young progressives might drive out moderate or conservatives in the party similar to how the tea party disrupted the Republican Party and birthed a pathway for a Donald Trump presidency.
“My main gripe about AOC is that while I respect her voice in the party, I don’t think she respects mine or anyone else’s who differs with her on policy or comes from a different political electoral reality,” Anzalone tweeted.