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Nancy Pelosi Emerges As Unexpected Villain At Liberal Conference in Philadelphia

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The young, energized Democrats are backing AOC and her Squad against Pelosi. Pelosi is not radical enough. The young Dems want change and they want it now.




Activists are furious that she has publicly criticized progressive members of the House Democratic Caucus.





PHILADELPHIA ― The chatter at Netroots Nation, a progressive gathering that attracts thousands of people each year, was expected to be on the rising influence of the left on the 2020 presidential election. But frustration with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, once considered an avatar of San Francisco liberalism, has emerged as a constant theme ― centered on her recent criticism of progressive members of her caucus. 


“She doesn’t act this way when Blue Dogs say negative things about other Democrats and about the party,” said Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the popular liberal blog Daily Kos, referring to a group of conservative House Democrats. “For some reason, she’s singling out these four for a special brand of conflict. It doesn’t make any sense.” 

Progressive discontent toward the California Democrat has been simmering for months, with the feeling that the speaker has been putting the interests of the more conservative members of the caucus over the priorities of the left. She has pushed off pursuing impeachment of President Donald Trump and been slow to embrace ideas like the Green New Deal and “Medicare for All.”

But it burst into the open when Pelosi gave an interview to The New York Times, dismissing the power of four of the biggest progressive stars in the House: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.).  


 “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got,” Pelosi said when asked about some of their comments, expressing her displeasure that they voted against the emergency funding legislation ― and then chastised colleagues who did back it.

Omar, Pressley and Tlaib, along with Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), spoke on a keynote panel Saturday morning and received a boisterous standing ovation.  

“The women of color who entered Congress ― they’re more than four votes,” said Aimee Allison, founder of She the People and moderator of the panel. “For millions of us, [they] represent blood, sweat and tears for us to have representation. They represent the best of American democracy.”


“And yet, if you’ve read the news, they’ve faced attacks all year from the right wing and from Democratic Party leadership,” she added to boos from the crowd. 

“As a young person ― I’m 19 ― I feel like I can relate to the four people we heard speaking today better than Nancy Pelosi, and it makes me angry that that is the leadership the Democratic Party is basically putting up,” Damen Alexander, an African-American political consultant from St. Louis, told HuffPost after the panel.


“We deserve better than white Democratic leaders who are willing to throw people of color under the bus to maintain their privilege,” Credo Action Co-Director Heidi Hess said. “Nancy Pelosi needs to stop trying to shame and silence the progressive women of color in her caucus, stop enabling the moderates who want to compromise with Republicans’ extremist agenda, and start leading her caucus with the urgency of someone who actually cares about the communities Trump is attacking every day.”


While the presidential election is still 16 months away, there were also warnings from progressives that excessive criticism of their ilk could discourage young people and people of color from voting.

“I think Pelosi needs to be very careful about making it seem she’s denigrating the very people that deliver us the young and people of color votes that we have such a hard time turning out,” Moulitsas said.  





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