Just a couple of months into their new reign in the House after the "blue wave" election in 2018, Democratic leaders are coming to find that they're not quite as unified as they'd hoped they'd be — and that some of the moderate Democrats elected in districts Trump won in 2016 are actually willing to do what the increasingly radical leadership of the party is committed to never doing: compromising at times with Republicans.
On Wednesday, despite being the minority party in the House, Republicans managed to win a vote that helped empower ICE — the agency Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other radical Democrats have demonized as the embodiment of xenophobia and cruelty and want to #abolish outright — and promote the Republican agenda of deporting more people living in the country illegally.
"Republicans offered an amendment to a broader gun background check bill to have the National Instant Criminal Background Check System report them to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which could then decide if it wants to pick them up for deportation," The Washington Times explains. "The amendment was approved on a 220-209 vote, with 26 Democrats joining the GOP in support. Only one Republican voted against it."
The vote prompted an "emotional" meeting among Democrats afterward, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lecturing her fellow Democrats about staying in line and Ocasio-Cortez vowing to put her fellow Democrats on a "list" to be primaried if they dare to undermine her radical agenda by voting with Republicans.
"We are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision," Pelosi reportedly told her fellow Democrats after the vote.
Ocasio-Cortez's spokesman Corbin Trent told The Washington Post that the freshman representative "said that when activists ask her why she had to vote for a gun safety bill that also further empowers an agency that forcibly injects kids with psychotropic drugs, they’re going to want a list of names and she’s going to give it to them."
But as the Post reports, some of the more moderate freshman representatives aren't so easily cowed and understand that their more purple views are a big part of the reason that Democrats won the majority in the House.
"It's this class of members that got elected that are the reason we have the majority," said Florida's Rep. Stephanie Murphy, co-chair of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition. "Many of them come from these [moderate] districts, and their promise to their constituents was that they were going to put people over politics."
Congresswoman Murphy is correct in saying that moderates secured Democrats the majority in the House in 2018. A total of 22 of them (18 freshmen) voted for the ICE amendment, Bloomberg's Greg Giroux pointed out (h/t RedState): "Of the 26 Democrats who voted for that Republican 'motion to recommit' (ICE amendment) gun bill, 22 represent districts Trump won in 2016; 18 of the 26 were first elected in November 2018."