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In Leaked Call, House Dems Say Socialism, Anti-Cop Rhetoric Cost Them Key 2020 Races

Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives warned colleagues Thursday that promoting and campaigning on a far-left social agenda hurt them badly in 2020.

“[If] we are going to run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine, we’re not going to win,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina said on a leaked Democrat House caucus phone call.

A Washington Post congressional reporter receiving leaked information from a source with access tweeted part of the more than two-hour phone call on Thursday afternoon.

Democrats underperformed in both Senate and House races on Nov. 3, losing ground in critical areas such as Iowa and Florida to GOP candidates, including a significant number of conservative women, some of whom ran campaign ads targeting their opponents for peddling socialism and wanting to defund the police.

It was this round of losses that began to worry Democrats and propel them redirect their efforts into pushing Georgia Senate races into runoffs between Republican Sen. David Perdue and his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff as well as GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and her Democratic opponent Raphael Warnock in January.

During the call, Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia reaffirmed Clyburn’s concerns, saying that if leftists couldn’t reevaluate the platforms they relied on for the Nov. 3 election, they would lose in a landslide in the 2022 midterms.

“No one should say ‘defund the police’ ever again,” Spanberger said. “Nobody should be talking about socialism.”

Pelosi tried to push back on Spanberger by telling members Democrats gained victory with both the House and the presidency, noting that the party should focus on an “agenda of lowering health care, better paychecks, building infrastructure.”

“This has been a life or death fight for the very fate of our democracy. We did not win every battle but we did win the war,” Pelosi said. “We held the House. Joe Biden is on a clear path to be the next president of the United States.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell jumped in to defend Pelosi, reportedly claiming she had “done an amazing job,” and shifted the blame to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who he claimed is absent from Democrats’ larger conversation.

Squad member Rashida Tlaib tried to defend the democrat-socialist agenda against other Democrat member’s attacks, saying that attempting to cater to one group’s preferences is wrong. She also claimed that if it wasn’t the emphasis on Black Lives Matter that lost Democrats some of the toss-up races, another issue would have taken its place and caused the same results.

Members on the call were warned against leaking the information to the press multiple times, with Rep, Hakeem Jeffries explicitly stating that “reporters aren’t your friends.”

One of the most significant moments in the call was Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) ripping into the “defund the police” and “socialism” sloganeering wing of the Democratic party for costing them congressional seats in the 2020 election.

Audio provided to The Washington Post captured Spanberger’s frustrations:

The number one concern that people brought to me, in my [inaudible] was defunding the police. And I heard from colleagues who said ‘Oh, it’s the language of the streets, we should respect that.’ We’re in Congress. We are professionals. We are supposed to talk about things in a way where we mean what we’re talking about. If we don’t mean we should defund the police, we shouldn’t say that….

And we need to not ever use the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again, because while people think it doesn’t matter, it does matter, and we lost good members because of that….

And if we are classifying Tuesday as a success from a congressional standpoint, we will get f****** torn apart in 2022.

Listen to Spanberger goes off below:

Spanberger, too, concluded her rant with a request that other people on the phone call not leak her remarks to the media.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the House majority whip who played an instrumental role in reviving Joe Biden’s flailing primary campaign, agreed with concerns from the more moderate Democrats in the party about rhetoric.

Running on “Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine,” he warned, would put future elections in jeopardy.