- Oct 28, 2017
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has played down Democratic victories in districts such as her own and that of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, fending off calls from some of the party’s newer members and politicians to shift leftward.
Ocasio-Cortez, 29, a self-described democratic socialist, defeated 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary before winning New York's 14th District last November. She is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and has become the face of a movement that's pushing for Democrats to adopt more "progressive" policies, such as free health care, free tuition and a higher minimum wage.
”When we won this election, it wasn't in districts like mine or Alexandria's. And she's a wonderful member of Congress, I think all of our colleagues will attest,” Pelosi, a California Democrat, told an audience Monday night at a London School of Economics event during a U.K. visit.
“But those are districts that are solidly Democratic. This glass of water would win with a D next to its name in those districts,” she said, picking up the water at her table.
“And not to diminish the exuberance, and the personality, and the rest of Alexandria and the other members...but the 43 districts—we won 43, net gain of 40—were right down the middle. mainstream, hold-the-center victories.
You cannot be progressive going down the middle. And winning elections is important, but what we do while in power is also important.She continued: “What we're saying is to have a message that appeals to people that does not menace them, that really does address their concerns. When we win, and we have the White House, and we have that, then we can expand our exuberances to some other things.
“But our message, our progressive message, is down the middle.”
Pelosi said a strongly left-wing message such as that of Ocasio Cortez "works great in my district, I get over 80 percent in my district, these folks do as well, but that's not where we have to win the election."