Ocasio-Cortez: Anti-Pelosi movement opens window for ‘more conservative leadership’

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a leading voice in the progressive movement and among the Democratic congressional freshman class, late Monday criticized the efforts within the party to prevent Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) from again becoming Speaker. 

“My main concern was that there is no vision, no common value, there is no goal that is really articulated in this letter aside from we need to change,” Ocasio-Cortez said on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes,” referring to a letter signed by 16 Democrats saying they oppose Pelosi.

“And for me what that says is, I do think that we got sent to Congress on a mandate to change how government works, to change what government even looks like, but if we are not on the same page about changing the systems and the values and how we’re going to adapt as a party for the future, then what is the point of just changing our party leadership just for the sake of it?” Ocasio-Cortez asked.

{mosads}“If anything, I think that what it does is it creates a window where we potentially could potentially get more conservative leadership,” she added. “And when you actually look at the signatories, it is not necessarily reflective of the diversity of the party. We have about 16 signatories, 14 of them are male, there are very few people of color in the caucus, there’s very little ideological diversity. … I’m not totally bought into the concept.” 

The anti-Pelosi Democratic lawmakers argued in a letter released earlier Monday that “Our majority came on the backs of candidates who said that they would support new leadership because voters in hard-won districts, and across the country, want to see real change in Washington. We promised to change the status quo and we intend to deliver on that promise.”

Much of the opposition to Pelosi emerged in swing districts during the midterm campaigns by moderate Democrats running to unseat Republicans. Critics of the insurgents fear that a replacement to Pelosi, who has garnered the endorsements of several progressive groups, would be more conservative than the current leader.

Pelosi votes with President Trump less than 20 percent of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight. Only one of the signatories to the letter votes in line with the White House less often.

A prominent challenger has failed to come forward to face Pelosi, who has expressed confidence in the support she has within her caucus, where she needs a simple majority vote when the Democrats choose their nominee later this month.

Pelosi in January will need the support of a majority of the entire House of Representatives in her bid for Speakership.

Democrats have picked up 37 seats in the midterms thus far, with four races yet to be called. If Democrats win all of the outstanding contests, Pelosi could lose 18 votes within her party and still clinch the gavel if all Republicans oppose her. 

However, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) told The Hill last week that he and some other Republicans are committed to backing Pelosi for Speaker if she agrees to enact a package of rule reforms.

Tags Donald Trump Nancy Pelosi Tom Reed
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