‘Democrats as a whole are not socialists’: Vulnerable Dems seek distance for 2020

‘Democrats as a whole are not socialists’: Vulnerable Dems seek distance for 2020

Two House freshmen, Illinois Rep. Lauren Underwood (left) and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (Va.), both dismissed concerns that their more vocal Democratic colleagues will complicated their reelection chances. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo Elections Centrists fear socialism tag will cost Democrats the House in 2020 The most endangered House Democrats in next year's election are wary of their more outspoken, liberal colleagues. By LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ 03/15/2019 05:00 AM EDT Updated 03/15/2019 08:15 AM EDT 2019-03-15T08:15-0400 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter The moderate Democrats who delivered the House majority want you to know they’re not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib or Ilhan Omar. They haven’t all blindly signed on to the “Green New Deal.” They haven’t been widely accused of anti-Semitism. They aren’t hungry to impeach President Donald Trump.Story Continued Below They are the ones on the front lines of the battlefield, defending Democrats’ House majority. And many of the endangered Democrats already see their outspoken colleagues as a potential obstacle standing between them and reelection in 2020. “As we run up to this presidential [election], we need to show that Democrats, as a whole, are not socialists,” said Rep. Katie Hill, who last November flipped a Southern California district that Republicans held for the previous quarter-century. “We’re not pushing for impeachment without serious cause and serious evidence.” With the progressive squad of Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) capturing most of the headlines, the vulnerable Democrats are left to respond in stronger and stronger terms. The four liberals have forced majority-makers like Hill to distinguish themselves with voters and donors early and often. “You have these four members frankly that were elected from seats that are going to be Democratic no matter what and represent a very small fraction of the party as a whole,” said Hill. “And it’s like they’re the only ones that exist.” Morning Score newsletter Your guide to the permanent campaign — weekday mornings, in your inbox. Email Sign Up By signing up you agree to receive email newsletters or alerts from POLITICO. You can unsubscribe at any time. And as the presidential election nears, Hill and her fellow at-risk Democrats will need all the attention they can get. Republicans must win 18 seats to take back the House, and they have ample targets. Republicans are setting their sights on the 31 Democratically held districts that voted for Trump in 2016, followed by another two-dozen districts like Hill’s that didn’t back Trump but have Republican DNA. To survive, vulnerable Democrats are shrugging off their more progressive colleagues. It’s a strategy they employed last year when Republicans dropped millions on a steady stream of TV ads tying them to then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The Pelosi-themed ads ultimately didn’t work and Democrats netted 40 seats — their largest gain since Watergate. But the ‘tweet first, explain later’ strategy, utilized by Ocasio-Cortez and friends, who wield nearly 5 million Twitter followers between them, puts Democrats like Rep. Abigail Spanberger in a tough spot. “We all won in districts when we were accused of being somebody else, or something else,” said Spanberger, before reprising the viral line from one of her 2018 debates: “I am Abigail Spanberger. I’m not anybody else.” Spanberger is among more than a dozen Democrats who represent districts Trump won by more than 6 percentage points in 2016 — the front line of the 2020 battlefield. The list
Read More