Politics & Policy

Maxine Waters: Democratic Party Is Not Socialist

Rep. Maxine Waters of California reacts to applause as she is introduced at a U.S. Congressional Black Caucus ‘Town Meeting’ at Mt. Hermon AME church in Miami Gardens, Fla., August 22, 2011. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

Representative Maxine Waters said Wednesday that the Democratic party is not becoming socialist, despite the rise of several popular socialist candidates and congressmen.

“I just don’t think that our party should be identified because we have a few people who seem to be to the left of the left. Yes, Bernie Sanders calls himself . . . a Democratic socialist, but he votes with the Democrats. He does not want to get out of the Democratic lane,” Waters told CNBC. “I think — I consider him basically a Democrat who is focused on Wall Street and talks about Wall Street an awful lot and wants to make sure that Wall Street is not taking advantage of the average citizen.”

She added that Republican warnings that the Democratic party is shifting to the left are an “exaggeration.”

“The Democratic party is not a socialist party,” she stated.

Sanders joined forces with upstart New York House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, after her upset primary win over Representative Joe Crowley last month.

“Whether you live in Vermont or the Bronx or Kansas, you are outraged by a situation in which three people in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of America,” Sanders said alongside Ocasio-Cortez at a Kansas rally last week. “And yes, we have differences. But despite these huge differences, we have a hell of a lot more in common.”

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi previously agreed with Waters, saying socialism is not “ascendant” in the Democratic Party.

“It’s ascendant in that district perhaps. But I don’t accept any characterization of our party presented by the Republicans. So let me reject that right now,” Pelosi said.

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