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Rep. Jim Clyburn offered a candid assessment of his party’s current state Wednesday night.
The third ranking House member warned that Democrats are not currently positioned to maintain their congressional majorities in the 2022 Midterm elections due to intra-party divisions.
“We are not going to do what we need to do next year until we build enough intestinal fortitude to start operating a little outside or beyond our comfort zones,” Clyburn told virtual attendees from the Jewish Federation of Charleston. “We’re not there yet. I’m hopeful that we can get there. Will we ever get there? That remains to be seen. … I’m not too sure that Democrats have yet developed the will to win in 2022.”
The South Carolinian characterized ideological divides on display during the negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure legislation as a major threat, with trust between centrist Democrats the uncompromising hard left severely tested.
“Progressives have got to feel like they can take a chance on moderates. Get outside of their comfort zone. Moderates have got to feel the same way about progressives,” the 81-year-old explained. “You’ve got the Congressional Black Caucus, you’ve got the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, you’ve got the Asian and Pacific Islanders, all of us operating within our comfort zone.”
When asked by the event’s moderator about the eventual outcome of ongoing negotiations over the social spending bills, Clyburn replied, “We ain’t there yet.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set a Sunday deadline to pass the bills.
Addressing a broader issue on the third anniversary of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, Clyburn believes Congress and the country are “not doing enough” to address anti-Semitism and other bigotry.
“America’s greatness is not because it is more enlightened than any country, but rather because it has always been able to repair its faults,” Clyburn claimed. “Anti-Semitism is a fault, it must be repaired. I don’t think you’re going to solve this problem with elected officials. I think that the forces outside the electoral process are the forces that it’s going to take to solve this problem, because we just got to stop tolerating and stop making excuses.”
Several radical Democrat House members are notorious for espousing anti-Semitic invective during their short careers, particularly members of the so-called Squad.