In interviews with The Daily Beast, multiple sources with knowledge of the newly re-elected congresswoman’s thinking said that the Saturday Q&A with the newspaper was a direct response to Spanberger’s remarks, which were amplified by other moderates over the weekend. By going to the Times, she was performing both rapid response to the proliferating post-election narrative that the left cost the party seats and sounding an alarm about tactical, fixable problems within the Democratic Party.

She also was, in effect, unleashing the left’s opening salvo against Democratic centrists in a war that all sides expect will rage throughout the Biden years, this time about their backwards approach to campaigning in competitive areas across the country.

“100 percent of it’s planned and strategic,” said a source with insight into Ocasio-Cortez’s messaging style. “If she’s out there taking shots in the New York Times, it’s going to be easier for WFP, PCCC, Justice Democrats down the line,” the source added, referencing the grassroots organizations the Working Families Party and the Progressive Campaign Change Committee.