Politics

Democratic Congresswoman: ‘Are There Socialists In the Democratic Party? You Bet’

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

A Florida lawmaker responded to a constituent’s concern about the rising influence of socialism among Democrats by confirming that there are, in fact, socialists in the Democratic Party.

Florida Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala suggested during a town hall event in Miami that, while she is not a socialist herself, there are plenty of socialists within her party, according to footage taken by America Rising, a conservative research group. The statements came after an unknown man voiced his concern about “a lot of people in your party” voicing support for socialist ideas.

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“I escaped a socialist country 25 years ago,” the man said during the August 28 town hall. “I hear a lot of people from your party supporting socialist ideas in America. How far are we gonna go, do you think we can beat the current president with those ideas? What would be our choices?”

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Shalala — who represents a southern district in Florida that encompasses a large section of Miami — made clear that she does not identify as a socialist, but she was open about the number of socialists within the Democratic Party.

“Well, first of all I’m not a socialist. I’m a safety net capitalist. And that is, I support social security and Medicare and protecting the most vulnerable people in our society and I think the government has a special role,” Shalala said. “Are there socialists in the Democratic Party? You bet. Because we’re a big-tent party. And we have all of the above.”

However, the freshman congresswoman hedged by discussing the results of the 2018 midterm election — where roughly 40 House seats flipped from red to blue. Shalala suggested that the expansion of Democratic seats from previously Republican districts was a sign that the Party’s recent growth was attributable to the inclusion of more moderate lawmakers.

“I personally am not a socialist, I’m a capitalist, but I also believe in a regulatory framework to protect the most vulnerable people in our society and to make sure we protect things like the environment, and defense, and other things that are fundamental to our Democracy,” she continued.

The exchange comes as infighting continues between Democratic congressional leaders and the party’s more progressive members. Members of “the squad,” a group of four far-left freshman Democrats in the House, have notably sparred with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other seasoned Democrats. (RELATED: ‘Politicized Conduct’: House Republicans Blast Elijah Cummings’ Border Trips)

The feud reached a boiling point when Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested that Pelosi had been “disrespectful” to newly-elected members of color, and her then-chief of staff took to Twitter to accuse moderate Democrats of being akin to the segregationist lawmakers that populated Congress before the Civil Rights Movement.

Pelosi has shrugged off the influence of the squad, saying that they are just “four people.”

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