New York Democrat Says AOC Should Not Lecture Party on How to Win Elections

November 12, 2020 Updated: November 13, 2020

Moderate Democrats have lashed out at the leftist progressive “Squad” in their party for “lecturing” them on how to run election campaigns in their purple suburbs.

New York’s Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs criticized Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) for her comments about what her party could do to win more seats, after disappointing results in key New York congressional and legislative districts.

Jacobs said that Ocasio-Cortez, who represents portions of The Bronx and Queens in the 14th Congressional District, and other “left-wingers” could not win races in suburbs in places like Long Island and upstate.

“AOC has no standing on how to run a general election in the suburbs and upstate. AOC is in a district that’s 6-1 Democrat and she couldn’t find a Republican in her district with binoculars,” Jacobs told The Post.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) listens during a press conference in the Corona neighborhood of Queens in New York City, on April 14, 2020. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

“I invite AOC to come to Long Island and stand for election in one of our districts. You’ll see different results,” Jacobs said.

Ocasio-Cortez advised the rest of the party on what they could do differently to win their districts like her wing of the party who easily won re-election to second terms, including returning congress members Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and new members Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.).

Ocasio-Cortez told Jake Tapper of CNN that her party should seek advice from progressives instead of dismissing them. “We can help, It’s to say that we have assets to offer the party which the party has not yet, fully leaned into, or exploited.”

Moderates like Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Jacobs say that slogans within the party like “defund the police” cost Democrats in other areas their seats.

“The number one concern in things that people brought to me in my [district] that I barely re-won, was defunding the police. And I’ve heard from colleagues who have said ‘Oh, it’s the language of the streets. We should respect that.’ We’re in Congress. We are professionals. We are supposed to talk about things in a way where we mean what we’re talking about. If we don’t mean we should defund the police, we shouldn’t say that,” Spanberger told colleagues in a Nov. 5 call.

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A protester carries a sign that reads “Defund The Police” during the Black Women Matter “Say Her Name” march in Richmond, Va., on July 3, 2020. (Eze Amos/Getty Images)

President Trump and Republicans see the Democrats’ desire to socialize healthcare, education, energy, housing, and defunding the police, etc., as socialist ideas and a threat to freedom with government overreach. But Democrats say the label has been used to scare voters and malign them.

However, progressives like Ocasio-Cortez say they won their races because of their socialist agenda including “Defunding the police,” her support for Blacks Lives Matter,” the Green New Deal, and Medicare for All, and say it is unfair of their own party to blame them.

Tlaib lashed out at centrist over blame for election losses: “I can’t be silent.”

“My residents walked by blighted homes, closed schools, and breathed in polluted air, to vote for President-elect @JoeBiden and VP-elect @KamalaHarris. They don’t deserve to be silenced. We must honor our communities that showed up. #EmbracetheBase.”

Heidi Heitkamp
Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), center, speaks alongside other Senators in a 2014 file photo. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Former senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) called some progressive ideas radical on ABC’s “This Week” and said their agenda on climate change and energy does not sound sustainable to rural communities in her state.

“Sixty-five percent of the people in North Dakota think climate change is a problem,” she said. “We’re a big fossil state, we’re a conservative state, but yet they see climate change as a problem. They get concerned when they see radical ideas being introduced to completely upend the energy system because that creates angst in their mind both economically and in terms of cost of energy.

“There is a place that you can go in solving these problems that speaks to all sides and does not radicalize important issues in this country. We saw that with the pandemic, which was incredible how masks got radicalized and politicized. We need to stop doing that,” she added.

“[Progressives] are not saying leave people out, we’re saying bring people in. But if parts of our party, when we bring home the bacon as we did just yesterday, call us ‘radical’ like Republicans did, that’s not the starting place of a good family conversation,” Yvette Simpson, CEO of progressive political action committee Democracy for America, said in response to Heitkamp.

“Progressive get attacked by other Dems. Everyone: silent. Progressives defend themselves and their democratic base. Everyone: stop being divisive. Maybe people should stop attacking progressives and work on unity instead of projecting,” Rep. Ilhan Omar wrote on Nov. 8.

Freshman Congressman Jamaal Bowman also took to Twitter to defend the “Squads” agenda.

“Progressives organized with the Biden-Harris team all the way. We pushed the election to the top in cities like Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. We will continue to champion policies our constituents need and are ready to enact a bold agenda with Biden and Harris,” Bowman said.

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New York Democratic House candidate Jamaal Bowman greets supporters in Yonkers, N.Y., on June 23, 2020. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

In response to attacks against her and the “Squad,” Ocasio-Cortez said the party needs to unite against Republican attacks instead of blaming each other.

“And I believe that we need to really come together and not allow Republican’s narratives to tear us apart. You know, as you mentioned, when we have a slimmer Democratic majority, it’s going to be more important than ever for us to work together and not fight each other.”