November 27, 2021

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AOC says Democrats lost in Virginia because of ‘super-moderated campaign’ – Business Insider

3 min read
  • AOC said that Democrats lost in VA because they ran a campaign that didn’t fire up progressives.
  • “The results show the limits of trying to run a fully 100% super-moderated campaign,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
  • The loss in VA, where Biden won by 10 percentage points in 2020, has made Democrats nervous about the 2022 midterms. 

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday suggested that the devastating defeat Democrats suffered in the Virginia gubernatorial election this week was a consequence of running a campaign that didn’t excite progressive voters. 

“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,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a video posted to her Instagram account.

Democrats are doing some soul-searching after Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a centrist Democrat, in the race for governor. Republican candidates also won in Virginia’s races for lieutenant governor and attorney general. With the 2022 midterms on the horizon, an evenly split Senate, and a slim majority in the House, Democrats are nervous and pointing fingers after the losses — particularly given President Joe Biden won by a huge margin in Virginia last November. 

Prominent progressives like Ocasio-Cortez have frequently contended that Democrats are hurting themselves by continuously backing moderate or centrist candidates and policies, as the Democratic party’s base increasingly leans left. 

After McAuliffe lost on Tuesday, the progressive groups Battle Born Collective, Justice Democrats, Sunrise Movement, and United We Dream Action in a statement said, “We told you so. Literally. What happened in Virginia is what happens when Democrats fail to take on the GOP’s divide-and-conquer racism and motivate people to turn out.”

“The McAuliffe campaign had no comprehensive pro-worker economic message against a literal private equity magnate. It had no positive message on what the next four years would be like for Virginians. It had no rebuttal to Republican race-baiting bullshit. Put simply: it was a campaign designed to fail,” the statement added, stating that McAuliffe ran a “milquetoast campaign.”

Meanwhile, some Democrats contend that McAuliffe’s chances were hurt by the fact that the party hasn’t been able to pass two bills amounting to roughly $3 trillion that are key to Biden’s economic agenda. There’s been a lot of infighting among Democrats over the legislation.

“We got majorities in both houses, so people want us to deliver,” Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia told Insider economics reporter Joseph Zeballos-Roig. “And everybody was holding out for their little thing — whatever it was — instead of acting.”

“We blew the timing,” Kaine added. 

“I am going to say that we’ve had for over two months a broadly popular legislative achievement that somehow people thought delaying would be helpful,” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told Zeballos-Roig. “Only in DC would that strategy pass any kind of smell test.”

Biden echoed these sentiments in comments at the White House on Wednesday. 

When asked by a reporter what Democrats could do differently to avoid similar losses in November, Biden said, “I think we should produce for the American people.”

“Look, people need a little breathing room. They’re overwhelmed. And what happened was — I think we have to just produce results for them to change their standard of living and give them a little more breathing room,” Biden added.

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