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Center-House Democrats criticized their liberal colleagues, blaming far-left views of losing party seats

Party leaders have expressed confidence that Trump’s division and mishandling of the pandemic will help them expand their majority by winning in Republican-controlled territories – yet they lost at least six seats and failed to restore the Senate. The explanation given by the centrists, according to several people who were on the call and spoke on the condition of anonymity, was that Republicans were easily able to portray them all as socialists and radical leftists who endorse far-left positions such as canceling police funding. .

“We need to never use the word ‘socialism’ or ‘socialism’ again … we have lost good members because of that,” Representative Abigail Spanberger (Democrat – Virginia), who narrowly leads her re-election bid, He said warmly. “If we classify Tuesday as a success … we will be torn apart in 2022.”

Other centrists, including Rep. Mark Vessey of Texas, made similar points. Rep. Debbie Mocarcel Powell, a Florida Democrat who suffered the unexpected loss of a Republican rival, argued through tears that the party’s infighting on Twitter should stop.

Meanwhile, the liberals hit back. Representative Pramila Jayapal (Democrat from Washington), the co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, argued that the Democrats should not single out the people and ideas that energize the party base. Angered Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Democrat, Michigan), describing herself as a Social Democrat, accused her colleagues of being only interested in attracting whites in the suburbs.

She said, “To be real, it sounds like you’re saying stop paying for what blacks want.”

Democrats are ready to hold a small majority for the past 18 years, undermining the influence of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat from California). The grudge in Thursday’s call is sure to become more apparent next year as the party faces the tougher task of uniting to pass the legislation.

During the call, Pelosi sought to reassure its members that the election was not as bad as it seemed. She said the Democrats held about 70 percent of the 30 territories that Trump won in 2018 – and predicted they would take over the White House.

“We held the house. She said that Joe Biden is on a clear path to be the next president of the United States. We have not won every battle, but we have won the war.”

Pelosi has even expressed hope for control of the Senate, citing two possible replacements in Georgia where the Democrats would be extremely vulnerable. Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (DS.C), however, cautioned that if the Democrats were to work on social medicine and cut off police funding, “we wouldn’t win” in those races.

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In the wake of their unexpected losses, Democrats have argued that the party needs to deal with a bigger problem: Republicans have categorized the most vulnerable Democrats as “socialists” and linked them to liberal ideas, including Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and slashing police budgets.

It does not matter that Biden, the Democratic leadership and most members have rejected calls to “stop funding the police,” a position that has been lost in the offensive ads.

Moderates have warned that the attacks have proven prominent and powerful – and the Democrats need to find a way to address them now.

“The Democrats’ messages are appalling; Rep. Kurt Schrader (Democrat Raw), a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, said in an interview. ” [voters] Seeing the far left that attracts all the media attention, they fear. They are so afraid that this will become a delicate state, and their ability to do things on their own will be ruled out. “

The blame game extended beyond the liberal members. Several moderate Democrats said in interviews that Pelosi should have made a deal with the Trump administration over a file Corona Virus Relief package. Many of the moderates were pushing her to make concessions, fearing that voters would blame them because the Democratic leadership was unwilling to give Trump a legislative victory before the election.

Pelosi said she was sticking to a better deal and that politics had nothing to do with it. She argued that Trump does not support policies that cater to voters – but to centrists, that was just an excuse to say no.

“It made us look like we were obstructed instead of facing the challenge the country needed,” said one lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak out. That was a huge mistake. Trump was like, ‘I’m ready for a deal, make it bigger!’ And Pelosi was hampering.

Representative Sherry Bustos (Democrat – Illinois), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who nearly lost her seat, is also facing member ire. During the call, Bustos defended her operation, saying that Republicans were forced “to spend tens of millions of dollars on defense, deep within their lands in Arkansas, Montana, Alaska, Missouri, Indiana, western North Carolina, and more.” But she also displayed her sympathy.

She said, “I also want to say the thing that we all feel: I’m angry.” “Something went wrong here across the entire political world. Opinion polls, Senate polls, government polls, presidential polls, Republican opinion polls, public opinion polls, turnout modeling, and forecasters all point to one political environment – that environment never materialized.” “.

She added, “I want answers, and my team is already planning how we go and get these answers. I look forward to talking to them through.”

In secret, Democrats said in interviews over the past two days that the answer is clear. The party has moved in recent years to the left, with some members espousing liberal ideas such as Free college, The Green New Deal, the elimination of the Senate’s disruption Add judges To the Supreme Court. Many House members support these policies, although Pelosi and the DCCC have done their best to steer the caucus away from those ideas and prevent them from advancing. at home.

At the same time, one member indicated that 130 Democratic House of Representatives faced primaries in this cycle, as groups like the Democratic Justice Party defeated the Foundation for Democrats and sought to punish members who were not liberal enough.

“There is no doubt that this was a huge albatross on the necks of many of our candidates, who unfortunately have fallen,” said one lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions. “There has to be an account within our ranks about this matter because a lot of democratic justice is indifferent to the Democratic Party … … they are all about purity and faith, and this hurts our chances.”

In response, Alexandra Rogas, Executive Director of Democratic Justice, blamed Democratic House of Representatives for their failures.

“They had one job and blew it up,” she said in a statement to this story. “We need a Democratic party that is more than just anti-Trump.”

The frustration was evident during the phone call Thursday, when moderates who had won in Trump’s counties spoke of how the use of certain languages ​​on the left – such as the word “socialism” – was causing problems with those in Central America. But Jayapal, speaking on behalf of several Progressive Rally members, argued that Democrats had the highest participation rate in urban areas in years, including among people of color.

She said the Democrats lost in 2016, because they did not convert to al Qaeda.

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But Representative Connor Lamb (D-Pennsylvania), a centrist who barely won his seat on Election Day, agreed with Spanberger.

“Spanberger was talking about something that many of us feel today: We are paying for these unprofessional and unrealistic comments on a number of issues, whether they are police or shale gas,” Lamb said. “These issues are so dangerous for the people we represent that they can bear to talk about them casually.”

Some liberals even agree with their moderate colleagues that the language espoused by the extreme left needs to change. Representative Jared Hoffman (Democratic, California), a member of the Progressive Caucus that supports universal health care, said the party needs to stop using the word “socialist” altogether.

“I think the Republicans got some momentum trying to scare people in this“ socialist narrative. ”… he said in an interview,“ It was a shrewd play on them. ”These labels distract us and divide us in unfortunate ways. . . . What is the purpose of adopting a phrase like this? All you are doing is feeding these fears and false narratives. “

In swing counties, Republicans have spent millions of dollars on ads seeking to connect Democrats to the “Stop Police Funding” movement that almost no one has supported. In New York, Republicans ran commercials showing a clip of Representative Max Rose (DN.Y.) joining the Black Lives Matter march to protest police brutality.

Rose opposes the police fundraising movement, but Republicans have accused him of leading the charge mainly to take money from police stations. Rose trails his Republican opponent by more than 15 percentage points, with 95 percent of the vote counted, according to the Associated Press.

Something similar happened to Representative Anthony Brindisi in upstate New York. Republican attack ads called him a “cop hate” after he similarly joined a protest for criminal justice equality. Brindisi, who tried to respond to the charge, dropped by more than 10 points, according to the Associated Press, although his race was not called up.

The significance of “socialist” messages may be one where the two sides agree. Republicans signaled in numerous press conferences and conversations with reporters this week that Democrats are moving to the left because of their unexpected misfortunes.

“Democrats have lost these races because you can’t afford to spend crazy and dangerous ideas like funding the police, Medicare for everyone and eliminating hundreds of thousands of energy jobs in Texas,” said Representative Kevin Brady (Texas), a senior Republican. Ways and Means Committee.

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