IR INSIDER

Powered by IR Society at NYU

IR Insider is a production of NYU's International Relations Society. Our goal is to explain and discuss issues in IR in an engaging and thought-provoking fashion. We are written by students, for students, about issues students care about. 

Republicans Take Shots at Progressive Democrats

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called for “a referendum on Socialism” in the upcoming 2020 Senate and presidential elections.

Speaking to a group of reporters about Republicans’ strategy in the upcoming elections, McConnell emphasized, “I’m going to be arguing, and I’m encouraging my colleagues to argue, that we are the firewall against socialism in this country.” With the pool of Democratic candidates seeking for the nomination expanding almost daily and heightened enthusiasm amongst Democratic voters, McConnell is looking to drum up similar vehemence within the Republican party.

The Senate Majority leader has been vocal about his opposition against progressive policies. Photo: Timothy Easley/ AP

The Senate Majority leader has been vocal about his opposition against progressive policies. Photo: Timothy Easley/AP

The Senate Majority leader also reflected on the issues that lead to the Democratic takeover of the House in 2018. McConnell said, “We all know why it happened. We got crushed in the suburbs. We lost college graduates and women in the suburbs, which led in the House to losses in suburban Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Charleston, South Carolina, Philadelphia.”

The Republicans are also at risk of losing the Senate in 2020. With more than 6 seats considered as “toss-ups,” McConnell relayed a message in hopes of preventing losses in his chamber. He stated, “There’s obviously some ticket splitting happening here. My advice to all of our people: take [Colorado’s Cory Gardner] and [Arizona’s Martha McSally] and maybe [North Carolina’s Thom Tillis] and maybe [Georgia’s David Perdue], paint your own picture, you know, what difference has your service made. And our races are big enough to where you can make a case independent of whatever else is going on.”

McConnell’s Republican colleagues have also raised criticism against the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, many of whom have voiced their support for bold and progressive policy proposals, including Medicare for All and a $15 minimum wage. In February, when freshman Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) unveiled the details of the Green New Deal, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said, “It’s entirely fantasy. These are just talking points designed to appeal to the fringes of their party.

Sen. John Cornyn and other Republicans have criticized the Green New Deal. Photo: Susan Walsh/ AP

Sen. John Cornyn and other Republicans have criticized the Green New Deal. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

Despite fervent opposition, Democrats are looking to continue to ride this new progressive wave into the upcoming elections. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) said, “The Republicans are misreading the moment. We have never been more fired up.” With the first quarter just ending, historic fundraising numbers amongst Democratic presidential candidate reflect the party’s increased activism and engagement.