In their autopsy on how poorly they fared in last week's House elections, Democrats are trying to pinpoint where their messages went wrong. Most concluded that it was the radical progressive wing of the party pressing for the defunding of the police or socialism that probably cost them precious seats.
Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger sounded off in a wildly entertaining phone call with caucus members. As others have reported, the Virginia Democrat lit into Democratic leadership by arguing "defund police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad."
"Don’t say socialism ever again," she reportedly said.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reasoned that most of his colleagues are rational on these issues.
"I don't know of any of the Democrats in the caucus that are for defunding the police," he said. "We're not for that whatsoever. And when they talk about Medicare for All, we can't even pay for Medicare for some. Doesn't make any sense at all."
But, as Politico reported on Monday, the Squad is standing their radical ground.
"Rashida Tlaib isn’t apologizing for wanting to yank money away from bad police departments," the outlet writes. She's "not interested" in the unity that so many of her fellow Democrats are talking about right now.
“We're not going to be successful if we're silencing districts like mine,” said Tlaib, who told her colleagues something similar during a contentious call last week. “Me not being able to speak on behalf of many of my neighbors right now, many of which are Black neighbors, means me being silenced. I can't be silent.”
“We are not interested in unity that asks people to sacrifice their freedom and their rights any longer,” said Tlaib, whose Michigan district is among the poorest in the country. “And if we truly want to unify our country, we have to really respect every single voice. We say that so willingly when we talk about Trump supporters, but we don't say that willingly for my Black and brown neighbors and from LGBTQ neighbors or marginalized people.” (Politico)
But she's not alone. A few other Democrats are doubling down on their anti-police agenda, including a few incoming members like Democrat Representative-elect Cori Bush (D-MO). She agreed with Rep. Tlaib that she's not going to remain silent.
"We have this super aggressive police department, and they don't get to continue to just kill black folks in my community and I not say anything," Bush said on MSNBC. "So yes, defund your butts."
She suggested using that money instead for substance use programs.
Democrat Representative-elect Cori Bush (D-MO) doubles down on defunding the police: “defund your butts, defund you”— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) November 11, 2020
In his Saturday night speech, Joe Biden, the projected winner of the 2020 election, spoke about the need for healing and unity, arguing that he wants to be president for those who supported him and those who didn't. That sounds like a far cry from what the above Democrats are advocating.
On her Twitter account, Tlaib added, #EmbracetheBase.
My residents walked by blighted homes, closed schools and breathed in polluted air, to vote for President-elect @JoeBiden & VP-elect @KamalaHarris. They don't deserve to be silenced. We must honor our communities that showed up. #EmbracetheBase https://t.co/4L9vuoqRly— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) November 11, 2020