Rep. James Clyburn is the House Majority Whip. Yesterday he told Axios that “defund the police” and other progressives slogans cost Democrats seats in the House and Senate.
“We were not able to discipline ourselves according to voter sentiment,” Clyburn told Axios reporter Alexi McCammond. He continued, “We keep making that mistake. This foolishness about, ‘You got to be this progressive or that progressive.’ That phrase — ‘defund the police’ — cost Jaime Harrison tremendously.”
Jaime Harrison lost his $100 million bid to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Asked directly if he was blaming progressive members for Democrats’ losses, Clyburn said he wasn’t doing that but added, “I want everyone in my caucus to be as practical as I am. That’s the difference here.”
He then offered this advice on how to do things differently, “Stop sloganeering. Sloganeering kills people. Sloganeering destroys movements. Stop sloganeering. And let’s go about the business of representing people and building hopes and aspirations for people.”
Again, he’s talking about “defund the police” and the movement he’s worried about is Black Lives Matter. Later he explained that if you ask someone about that slogan “they will explain that’s not what we mean.” But according to Clyburn, “the moment you start explaining what you mean, you’re losing the argument.”
Clyburn is far from the only person pointing to that particular slogan as a problem for Democrats. Politico published a piece today in which losing Democratic Senator Doug Jones complained he’d been in the same boat as Jaime Harrison:
“We’re not some demonic cult like we’re portrayed to be,” said Jones. “I was fighting the same battle that Jaime Harrison was fighting, that Mike Espy was fighting, that Cal Cunningham was fighting, that Steve Bullock was fighting. And Democrats have not been able to fully counter the Republican narrative.”…
“It ain’t over,” said Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), who offered to go to Georgia to explain to voters that Democrats don’t agree with liberal activists on everything. “I don’t want anyone to think that I am trying to defund the police.”…
“We always look at how we can do things better. But the map was the map,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), a close Schumer ally. “None of our candidates are supporting defunding the police, socialism. But we still got tagged by it. So the question becomes: How do you rise above that?”
Of course we all know who the poster girl is for defund the police and socialism. In this clip below, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Nancy Pelosi and AOC made his job of fundraising easy. Speaking specifically of AOC, he said “That wing of the party, the socialist wing of the party, they are the new power of the Democratic Party…You watched on the floor. Legislation couldn’t be passed unless AOC agreed with it.”
Notice that Axios’ Mike Allen attempts to minimize AOC as a junior congresswoman which is absurd at this point. Not many junior congresswomen are on the cover of major magazines. Not many have people asking when they’ll run for president.
AOC raised $10 million for her reelection this year beating every Democrat in the House with the exception of Adam Schiff who had been on TV everyday because of impeachment. She even outraised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. AOC campaigned with Bernie Sanders and helped bring in huge crowds. The idea that she’s just some junior congresswoman is so absurd that Mike Allen should be embarrassed to utter it. She is a leading national figures in her party and the heir apparent to the growing Sanders wing of the party.
Which bring me back around to why more moderate Democrats had such an uphill battle in this election. Everyone (with the exception of Axios’ Mike Allen) can see that there are far left progressives like AOC and the rest of her Squad who are a rising force in the party. Democrats can say over and over that Joe Biden isn’t for defunding the police but that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a lot of energy on the far left. Several cities around the country have already passed measures defunding police because the City Councils have more in common with AOC than with Joe Biden. And that’s not to mention the left’s other priorities like single payer and the Green New Deal.
Clyburn seems to wish the far left would just show some “discipline” while the moderates get through the election, but voters aren’t so easily fooled. They know where the real energy in the Democratic Party (and the left in general) is coming from and it’s not coming from Joe Biden. He’s a 77-year-old moderate face, probably the last moderate face, for a party that is busy moving hard left toward Democratic Socialism.