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6 Jan, 2020 21:06

‘We’re not allowed to talk about anything wrong in the party’: AOC trashes the Democratic establishment

‘We’re not allowed to talk about anything wrong in the party’: AOC trashes the Democratic establishment

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the chief architects of the Democrats’ leftward shift, has hit out at her party for fielding candidates like the centrist Joe Biden, and said “we’re not allowed to talk” about party division.

Ocasio-Cortez considers herself “one of the most hated people in America,” she told New York Magazine in an interview published on Monday. Since a surprise electoral victory over a 10-term incumbent Democrat in 2018, she’s since become the face of her party’s emboldened progressive wing, alongside ‘The Squad’ of fellow Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) and Massachusetts’ Ayanna Pressley.

Ocasio-Cortez’s occasionally loose grip on the truth has made her a favorite punching bag of the Republican Party, while her calls for sweeping healthcare, climate, and immigration reforms have earned rebukes from establishment Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who jested last summer that ‘The Squad’ live in “their Twitter world.”

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Speaking to New York Magazine, Ocasio-Cortez highlighted this growing rift in the Democratic Party. “In any other country, Joe Biden and I would not be in the same party, but in America, we are,” she said. A supporter of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the presidency, Ocasio-Cortez cautioned her party of the dangers of running a moderate candidate like Biden.

“And that’s exactly what happened to 2016,” she said. “We picked the logically fitting candidate, but that candidate did not inspire the turnout that we needed.”

Among Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez said, there remains in place a belief that Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 election was based on her personality, not her policies. Democrats “often think there was nothing wrong before Trump. They think Hillary was the problem. But it’s much deeper than that.”

In attempting to unseat Trump, Democrats have been criticized for focusing on their prospective candidates’ “electability,” a nebulous term that boils down to which candidate presents the most palatable, inoffensive message. Intra-party argument and debate bickering is therefore treated as dangerous, when simply defeating Trump is the primary objective.

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“We’re a family and we have our moments,” Pelosi told House Democrats at a meeting in July. “Without that unity, we are playing completely into the hands of the other people.”

“So the Democratic Party has a role to play in this problem,” Ocasio-Cortez told New York Magazine. “It’s not like we’re allowed to talk about it. We’re not allowed to talk about anything wrong the Democratic Party does.”

Against this background, Ocasio-Cortez encouraged her fellow progressives in Washington to enforce stricter ideological purity rules. The Congressional Progressive Caucus, for example, does not require members to submit applications, allowing anyone on Capitol Hill to identify as a progressive.

“They let anybody who the cat dragged in call themselves a progressive. There’s no standard,” she declared, adding “Democrats can be too big of a tent.”

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