The rift among Democrats widened this past week as members took issue with New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez using the race card against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “singling out” women of color to criticize her and her fellow progressive freshmen members.
“What a weak argument,” Missouri Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, told Politico on Thursday. Clay, who is up against a primary challenger supported by a group aligned with Ocasio-Cortez added, “Because you can’t get your way, and because you are you getting pushed back, you resort to using the race card. Unbelievable.”
Alabama Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell, a fellow member of the CBC, also took issue with a tweet Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff sent out comparing blue dog Democrats to pro-segregationists.
“I’m not going to talk about my own private talks with members. But it’s enough to say that I’ve issued my statement about the tweet that her chief of staff did. I was highly offended by that — I represent the Deep South.”
Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmouth cautioned that while the younger members like Ocasio-Cortez may have a large online following, it is imperative they take more accountability for their actions.
The lesson is that we are in a very different world right now. And a freshman doesn’t necessarily have to sit back and mind their own business,” he said. “When you have 4 million followers on social media, you are a force that has to be respected. But if you have that power, you also have to understand what you want to do with it, and if it’s to blow things up, that’s not helpful.”
The fight between progressives and establishment Democrats also took place recently in local District Attorney races where long-time incumbent Democrats found themselves being defeated in primaries by Ocasio-Cortez aligned progressives.
In one DA race in Queens, New York, that is still being decided, the Democrat incumbent, Melinda Katz, was supported by New York Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Gregory Meeks.
However, Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren threw their support behind Katz’s challenger Tiffany Caban, which led to Meeks slamming both senators.
“I don’t know who they spoke with, but clearly they did not speak with the elected officials of Queens County, or the people who elected them,” Meeks said, The Washington Examiner reported.
“African American voters are tired of the patronizing and tired of the arrogance. If they want to be the president for all Americans I suggest they speak with us before they decide to speak for us,” Meeks added.