AOC: ‘We Need New Leadership in the Democratic Party’

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives for a closed-door meeting with freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, July 26, 2019. Ocasio-Cortez recently criticized Pelosi, saying she felt Pelosi had been "outright disrespectful" by "singling out of newly elected women of color" for criticism. …
AP Photos/J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said the Democrat Party needs new leadership — a remark which comes after two years of rumors infighting among establishment Democrats and far-left progressives in the caucus as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) continue to hold a grip on ultimate direction of the party.

Ocasio-Cortez made the observation during a Wednesday interview with The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill as they discussed a variety of issues — from President-elect Joe Biden’s “corporate revolving door” transition team to the prospect of shifts in Democrat Party leadership.

“Well, you know, I do think that we need new leadership in the Democratic Party,” she said after Scahill mentioned Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer specifically.

“I think one of the things that I have struggled with — I think that a lot of people struggle with — is the internal dynamics of the House has made it such that there’s very little option for succession, if you will, you know?” she said.

“And I think it’s easy for someone to say, ‘Oh, well, you know, why don’t you run?’ But the House is extraordinarily complex. And I’m not ready. It can’t be me! I know that I couldn’t do that job,” she continued, explaining that more “conservative” members of the party also do not have any “viable alternatives” to Pelosi, who has been in Washington for over 30 years:

And so even conservative members of the party, who think Nancy Pelosi is far too liberal for them, don’t necessarily have any viable alternatives, which is why whenever there’s a challenge, it kind of collapses. And that is, I think, the result of just many years of power being concentrated in leadership with a lack of real grooming of a next generation of leadership. And so when you have really talented members of Congress that do come along, the opportunities to lead are so few and far between, that they leave, that the kind of path of ascension, if you will, for a lot of members looking around, both progressive and conservative alike, is to run for a statewide office and get out of there.

She added that the left does not really have a plan for the time the 80-year-old lawmaker decides to transition.

“So I do think that it’s something that we really need to think about,” she added.

When asked if she is ready to say, “Pelosi and Schumer need to go,” Ocasio-Cortez responded, “I mean, I think so.”

“I mean, the question is, like, this year, for example, the hesitancy that I have is that I want to make sure that if we’re pointing people in a direction that we have a plan,” he said, stressing, once again, that Democrats do not seem to have a plan to fill the void.

“Because if you create that vacuum, there are so many nefarious forces at play to fill that vacuum with something even worse. And so the actual sad state of affairs is that there are folks more conservative than even they are willing to kind of fill that void,” she continued before adding that the answer is “yes.”

“The answer is we need to shift power; we need to make sure that we have a transition of power in the leadership of the Democratic Party,” she said, adding that it is crucial to “ensure that when we shift we don’t even move further to the right.”

“And that’s the kind of thing that keeps me up when I think about what we’re going to do moving towards the future,” the New York lawmaker said.

The freshman congresswoman’s remarks are not necessarily new, as she and the “Squad” took on Pelosi during their first term, with tensions boiling over during a dispute over a bipartisan emergency funding package in 2019.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi said at the time.“But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”


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