Another sign emerged Saturday of frustration between far-left Democrats in Congress and the party’s entrenched leadership.
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., claimed in a Twitter message Saturday that she and other minority members of the party have been used as tokens whenever the party wants to project an image of inclusiveness.
The message appeared to be triggered by a California Muslim activist’s assertion that Democratic leaders hadn’t been adequately supportive of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who has been accused of trivializing the 9/11 terror attacks as “some people did something.”
“They put us in photos when they want to show our party is diverse,” Tlaib wrote. “However, when we ask to be at the table, or speak up about issues that impact who we are, what we fight for & why we ran in the first place, we are ignored. To truly honor our diversity is to never silence us.”
Tlaib later retweeted a post by Omar, who also expressed frustration.
“I did not run for Congress to be silent,” Omar wrote. “I did not run for Congress to sit on the sidelines. I ran because I believed it was time to restore moral clarity and courage to Congress. To fight and to defend our democracy.”
Tlaib also retweeted a post by Roza Calderon, a human rights activist.
“More and more we’re realizing that POC [people of color] are used as props by @TheDemocrats,” Calderon wrote. “When we run, we’re told to wait our turn. When we speak about our struggles, we’re told we’re angry. When we ask them to stand up for us, they say we’re being divisive.”
Previously, three progressives — U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; and Ro Khanna, D-Calif. – objected to a plan by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to blacklist organizations that assist candidates who look to challenge Democratic incumbents in party primaries, as the progressives had done to win their seats.
“The @DCCC’s new rule to blacklist+boycott anyone who does business w/ primary challengers is extremely divisive & harmful to the party,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote March 30.
“If the DCCC enacts this policy to blacklist vendors who work with challengers,” Pressley wrote, also on March 30, “we risk undermining an entire universe of potential candidates and vendors – especially women and people of color – whose ideas, energy, and innovation need a place in our party.”
Meanwhile, other examples indicate that leading Democrats may have frustrations of their own regarding some of the party’s newer members and the media attention they’ve received.
“While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what’s important is that we have a large number of votes on the floor of the House,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told USA Today earlier this month in what was interpreted as a dig at Ocasio-Cortez, who has nearly twice as many Twitter followers as Pelosi despite being in office a little more than two months.
In March, in a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., pointedly noted that the new Congress had 62 freshmen Democrats.
“You hear me?” Hoyer said. “Sixty-two. Not three.”