McConnell: Democrats taking 'abrupt left turn toward socialism'
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' McConnell calls McCain a 'rare patriot' and 'American hero' after Trump criticism MORE (R-Ky.) knocked Democrats on Wednesday, arguing that the party is moving toward socialism — an issue Republicans want to make a focal point ahead of the 2020 election.

"Our nation has watched the Democratic Party take a sharp and abrupt left turn toward socialism. A flawed ideology that has been rejected time and again across the world is now driving the marquee policy proposals of the new House Democrat majority," McConnell said from the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Republicans have seized on socialism as a wedge issue as freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez fires back at Jamie Dimon after CEO dismisses Green New Deal Inslee: We want world to know 'there is still intelligent life in the US' The importance of moderate voters MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses RNC says it raised .6 million in February Pollster says 'it's certainly not looking good' for Trump ahead of 2020 MORE (I-Vt.), who both identify as democratic socialists, have electrified the party's progressive base in recent years.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE, during his State of the Union speech, sparked a divided reaction from Democrats when he pledged that the United States would not become a socialist country. 

McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, pointed to the progressive "Green New Deal" as an example of the shift within the Democratic Party. It marked the latest time the Senate GOP leader has brought up his concerns about socialism this week. 

Speaking to reporters in Kentucky on Monday, he said that it was a "bigger threat" than people might think. 

"I never thought in my lifetime we would be debating the virtues of capitalism … having serious presidential candidates suggesting we ought to have socialism in this country," he said. "We're going to have a great debate in 2020 about the very essence of America."