Rep. Waters: Dem party 'not a socialist party'
Democrats have a socialist problem that they are having trouble sweeping under the rug. The party line appears to be that their new star, self-proclaimed democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is not the face of the party; rather, she's not a radical and doesn't speak for most Democrats.
Rep. Maxine Waters went so far as to deny that Democrats are socialists at all.
The top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee sent a message to the party's progressive wing on Wednesday, distancing herself from the vocal lawmakers to her left as the party continues to debate its message ahead of the November midterm elections.
"The Democratic Party is not a socialist party," California Rep. Maxine Waters said in an interview with John Harwood at CNBC's Capital Exchange event Wednesday.
Asked about left-wing politicians who identify as democratic socialists, including 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Waters said: "I just don't think our party should be identified because we have a few people who seem to be to the left of the left."
Democrats continue to face down lingering anxiety about the identity of their party, as Republicans, including President Donald Trump, seek to leverage the internal rifts over economic and social issues to their own electoral advantage. The president has zeroed in on Waters, painting her in posts on Twitter as the "unhinged FACE of the Democrat Party."
When asked if she is a capitalist, Waters said, "Of course I am."
Waters said she believes the government should do more work to protect consumers. In particular, she said she supported strengthening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and favored stronger fines against big banks that take advantage of their customers. The CFPB has come under fire during the Trump administration as Mick Mulvaney, one of the most vocal critics of the bureau, took the helm.
"When we take a look at the fines that have been levied on Wells Fargo and some of the other big banks, it's just the cost of doing business, and we've got to get away from that," Waters said. "I think we can do better."
Democrats may not admit to being socialists, but most have signed on to the Ocasio-Cortez agenda, including the $15-an-hour minimum wage, taxpayer-funded college tuition, and Medicare for all. They attempt to mask their radicalism by altering the definition of "socialist" and "capitalist" to the point where the two are interchangeable.
They are not for free markets. They are not for individual liberty. Their agenda represents government coercion and less freedom of choice. But redefining definitions and using soothing rhetoric about "family" and "community" to hide their extremism could still give them a majority in Congress in November.