Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) pushed back against Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) on Thursday afternoon for comments he made about the “defund the police” movement in a tweet on Wednesday evening.
Manchin, one of the most right-leaning Democrats in the senate, had remarked: “Defund the police? Defund, my butt. I’m a proud West Virginia Democrat. We are the party of working men and women. We want to protect Americans’ jobs & healthcare. We do not have some crazy socialist agenda, and we do not believe in defunding the police.”
Ocasio-Cortez, in turn, responded with a passive-aggressive photo from the most recent state of the union address, in which she appears to stare down Manchin for applauding.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 12, 2020
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), however, promptly weighed in on the exchange, which he chalked up to political “theatre.”
“This is all theatre. If Dems win GA, Chuck Schumer will be terrified of being primaried from the Left, which means [Ocasio-Cortez] will effectively be Senate Majority Leader. And Joe Manchin will dutifully obey (like he did on ACB & impeachment). They’re trying to hide this from GA voters,” remarked Cruz.
This is all theatre.
If Dems win GA, Chuck Schumer will be terrified of being primaried from the Left, which means @aoc willeffectively be Senate Majority Leader. And Joe Manchin will dutifully obey (like he did on ACB & impeachment).
They’re trying to hide this from GA voters. https://t.co/uEyHUyM25g
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 12, 2020
Manchin has sought to distance himself in recent days from the left flank of the party, a move that appears increasingly important with two special elections in Georgia — elections that will decide the future of the senate majority — and a Democratic Party concerned that radicalism harmed them in down-ballot races across the country.
But the Democratic Party has been, thus far, incapable of providing the strong united front that some Democrats, such as Rep. Conor Lamb (D-CA), have suggested is necessary to build confidence in voters that the party will not kowtow to the Left.
During a CNN interview with Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial candidate avoided a question about whether left-wing sloganeering could hurt Democrats in the Georgia special elections, and instead simply predicted that Dems would win the races.
Ocasio-Cortez has been adamant that the Democratic Party shouldn’t dismiss its activist base, which she has credited for coming up with the “defund the police” slogan, and also recently declared that its a politician’s job to own the message emanating from the base.
“I need my colleagues to understand that we are not the enemy,” Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times in an interview. “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.”
Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) also have been recently tweeting that the Democratic Party needs to embrace its left-wing base.
We show up, we matter, we deserve to be seen and heard. pic.twitter.com/RDEo6nPwsA
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) November 11, 2020
Embrace the base 💜
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) November 11, 2020
Notably, both congresswomen co-authored the “BREATHE Act” back in the summer, a proposed comprehensive transformation of the criminal justice and policing system that would have included divesting from policing agencies, including the DEA and ICE.
According to Fox News, the BREATHE Act also called for developing a “time-bound plan to close all federal prisons and immigration detention centers,” abolishing gang databases used by police departments, and put an end to life sentences in prison.
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