As Joe Biden inches closer to a White House win, Democrats are starting to celebrate. But the mood wasn't one of elation during a Thursday conference call among House Dems, who sources tell the Washington Post engaged in a three-hour-plus "bitter exchange" in which centrists accused more progressive members of being too vocal on far-left ideology. That move, the centrists claimed, may have caused their party to lose at least a half-dozen House seats—leaving them with what looks to be the smallest House majority in nearly two decades—and fail in their quest to win the Senate. According to the sources, the more moderate House members dug into their liberal counterparts, saying that by pushing certain leftist platforms, including defunding the police and the Green New Deal, it gave the GOP an opening to label all Democrats socialists and radical leftists.
"We need to not ever use the word 'socialist' or 'socialism' ever again," Rep. Abigail Spanberger was quoted as saying. "We lost good members because of that." Progressive members like Rep. Pramila Jayapal and Rep. Rashida Tlaib accused the centrists of ignoring key concepts that get their base energized. "To be real, it sounds like you are saying stop pushing for what Black folks want," Tlaib is said to have countered. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi painted Tuesday's results as a "measured success," a source tells the Wall Street Journal, noting that "we did not win every battle, but we did win the war." Meanwhile, two moderate House Democrats tell the Hill they and other centrists are talking about backing a plan to oust Pelosi as speaker. "It's time for Democrats to elevate a new generation of leadership in both the House and the Senate," says one. (Read more Democrats stories.)