Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the freshman Bronx lawmaker expected to win her re-election race by nearly 40 points, told The New York Times in an interview published Sunday that she tried to offer help to swing-district Democrats running for congress, but was turned down in nearly every case. In fact, Ocasio-Cortez suggested that she’s been unsuccessfully “begging the party to let me help them for two years.”
“Before the election, I offered to help every single swing district Democrat with their operation. And every single one of them, but five, refused my help,” declared Ocasio-Cortez. “And all five of the vulnerable or swing district people that I helped secured victory or are on a path to secure victory. And every single one that rejected my help is losing. And now they’re blaming us for their loss.”
“So I need my colleagues to understand that we are not the enemy. And that their base is not the enemy. That the Movement for Black Lives is not the enemy, that Medicare for all is not the enemy,” Ocasio-Cortez told the Times.
“This isn’t even just about winning an argument. It’s that if they keep going after the wrong thing, I mean, they’re just setting up their own obsolescence,” she added.
After stumbling through a poor down-ballot performance on election day, the Democratic caucus has been rife with infighting, finger-pointing, and disagreements about what exactly went wrong within the caucus itself. Ocasio-Cortez has pushed back against claims that “socialism” and “defund the police” talk should be downplayed, calling criticism of those movements “racial resentment attacks” that should be counteracted by Democrats.
Congressman Conor Lamb (D-PA), who Ocasio-Cortez criticized by name in the interview for how he ran his campaign, suggested to The New York Times in an interview published Sunday evening that messaging has, in fact, hurt the Democratic Party, and that the way he ran his campaign wasn’t the problem.
“She doesn’t have any idea how we ran our campaign, or what we spent, to be honest with you,” Lamb told the Times.
“I respect her and how hard she works. And what she did in an extremely low-turnout Democratic primary. But the fact is that in general elections in these districts — particularly in the ones where President Trump himself campaigns over and over and over again, and attacks members within their own Republican-leaning districts, like me and Representative Slotkin and Representative Spanberger — it’s the message that matters. It’s not a question of door knocking, or Facebook. It matters what policies you stand for, and which ones you don’t,” he said.
Lamb also suggested that Ocasio-Cortez made it harder to draw voters to the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania ahead of the election, specifically invoking a recent comment she made about fracking.
“[S]he can put her name behind stuff and that’s I guess courageous, but when it’s a damaging idea or bad policy, like her tweeting out that fracking is bad in the middle of a presidential debate when we’re trying to win western Pennsylvania — that’s not being anything like a team player. And it’s honestly giving a false and ineffective promise to people that makes it very difficult to win the areas where President Trump is most popular in campaigns,” said Lamb.