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Ocasio-Cortez: Democrats Lost Virginia Because They Were Not Far-Left Enough
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a news conference to discuss legislation that would strengthen Social Security benefits, on Capitol Hill October 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. The lawmakers discussed their proposed bill, called the Social Security 2100 Act, which would include increased minimum benefits and add caregiver credits for people who have to leave the workforce to care for children or elderly family members.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said in a video that she posted to Instagram that Democrats got blown out by Republicans in Virginia because they were too moderate.

“On the election front, I actually think we have good news as well,” she claimed. “I know that Virginia was a huge bummer. And honestly, if anything, I think that the results show the limits of trying to run a fully 100% super moderated campaign that does not excite speak to or energize a progressive base and frankly, we weren’t even really invited to contribute on that race.”

However, serious entities, like The New York Times Editorial Board, quickly pushed back on the far-fetched reality that Ocasio-Cortez was trying to push, writing that the “trend lines were a political nightmare for the Democratic Party.”

The Times’ Editorial Board wrote in part on Thursday:

Familiar takeaways like “wake-up call” and “warning shot” don’t do justice here because the danger of ignoring those trends is too great. What would do justice, and what is badly needed, is an honest conversation in the Democratic Party about how to return to the moderate policies and values … The results in Virginia are a grave marker of political peril. Virginia is a blue state; it hasn’t been a battleground in years. Mr. Biden won there in 2020 by 10 points; a year later, the Democratic nominee for governor just lost by 2.5 percentage points, and Republicans flipped two other statewide offices — lieutenant governor and attorney general — that they have not won in 12 years. …

But Democrats, looking left on so many priorities and so much messaging, have lost sight of what can unite the largest number of Americans. A national Democratic Party that talks up progressive policies at the expense of bipartisan ideas, and that dwells on Donald Trump at the expense of forward-looking ideas, is at risk of becoming a marginal Democratic Party appealing only to the left. … Tuesday’s results are a sign that significant parts of the electorate are feeling leery of a sharp leftward push in the party, including on priorities like Build Back Better, which have some strong provisions and some discretionary ones driving up the price tag. The concerns of more centrist Americans about a rush to spend taxpayer money, a rush to grow the government, should not be dismissed.

Tuesday was not just about Republicans reclaiming electoral ground from Democrats. Even in many blue enclaves, voters showed an interest in moving toward the center. In Buffalo, N.Y., the democratic socialist who bested the current mayor, Byron Brown, in the Democratic primary appears to be losing to Mr. Brown’s write-in campaign. In Minneapolis, a referendum to replace the police department with a Department of Public Safety went down in flames. In the New York mayoral race, voters went with Eric Adams, a moderate Democrat who ran with a focus on law and order. “Progressives on the ropes?” asked The Seattle Times, in a postelection piece noting that “the more moderate, business-backed candidates in the city’s three most watched races surged to huge and likely insurmountable leads.”

Top responses to AOC’s remarks included:

  • Drew Holden, political commentator: “That’s right, Dems. The answer is to run more progressive candidates and campaigns. Go with that. Test that theory at scale. We’re begging you.”
  • Matthew Kolken, immigration attorney: “Now do the mayoral race in Buffalo, where the socialist lost to a write-in moderate candidate.”
  • Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX): “Yes Democrats, listen to AOC. You aren’t radical enough… THAT’S the problem.”
  • Julia Manchester, reporter: “AOC says progressives ‘weren’t invited’ to contribute to McAuliffe/Democrats in Virginia’s general gubernatorial campaign. National progressive groups were involved in the Democratic primary supporting Jennifer Carroll Foy, but McAuliffe won every locality in the primary.”
  • Karol Markowicz, columnist: “She’s right. Democrats should invite AOC to campaign for them in every state.”

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