Though President Donald Trump is trying to make the “Squad” the face of the Democrats, voters believe that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is more reflective of the party than Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Ilhan Omar (D-MI).
A Morning Consult poll this week found that 40% of registered voters think the “Squad” represents “the views of Democrats in Washington, compared with 58% who said the same was true of” Pelosi.
The poll, conducted July 19-21 among 1,992 registered voters with 2-point margin of error, also found that 54% of voters believe Pelosi is representative of “Democratic voters” compared to 41% for the “Squad.”
Veteran journalist Carl Leubsdorf, the Washington columnist for the Dallas Morning News, explained this week why the “Squad” actually has less power than Tea Party-aligned conservatives did when they helped Republicans take back Congress in 2010:
The GOP tea party emerged in the 2009 backlash against the Affordable Care Act and the 2010 election that restored the House majority Republicans lost four years earlier. The squad emerged in primaries leading to the 2018 election that restored a Democratic majority lost in 2010.
But tea party members from solidly GOP districts were the cutting edge of the GOP’s triumph, sounding an anti-government theme in an election in which Republicans took advantage of voter opposition to the more liberal policies of President Barack Obama’s administration.
In 2018, when Democrats regained control of the House, it was not through victories of the small but vocal left-wing of the party. Rather, it was the more moderate Democrats who ousted incumbents in swing districts, many in GOP-leaning suburbs.
While tea party members had been the GOP insurgents threatening to withhold support from Republican Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan, it was Democratic moderates who initially sought to block House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s return last January, having promised that in their campaigns.
Both parties’ more extreme members come from “safe” districts where the principal battlegrounds are in primaries. But the caucuses they joined in Washington have major differences.
The right-wing tea party members found natural allies from some sitting conservative Republicans who had previously been kept in check by the House GOP leadership. But the left-wing Democrats who won in 2018 didn’t find many natural black and brown allies eager to challenge their party’s leadership.
A Rasmussen Reports national poll conducted July 15-16 also found that “42% of Likely Democratic Voters believe Democrats in Congress should be more like Pelosi than like Squad leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez while just 29% “think congressional Democrats should be more like Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez.”
Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez finally had their meeting on Friday after the freshman Democrat used the race card against the House Speaker, accusing Pelosi of targeting and singling out female Democrats of color. When reporters asked if they had buried the hatched, Pelosi claimed she did not “think there was any hatchet.”
“We’re in a political arena,” Pelosi reportedly said. “In a family you have your differences but you’re still a family.”