NPR Host Laughs at Conservative for Mocking 'Venezuelan Wing of the Democratic Party'

June 30th, 2018 10:33 PM

Conservative attorney Gayle Trotter was invited to sit in the "conservative" analyst seat in NPR's Week in Politics segment on Friday's All Things Considered, and shocked anchor Audie Cornish (about two minutes in) by identifying socialist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as part of the "Venezuelan wing of the Democratic Party." Cornish said she had to "pause for that," and then laughed at her. It wasn't an "objective" laugh. 

GAYLE TROTTER: Well, it's interesting because of all the talk of the split in the Republican Party. It shows that the Democratic Party has a split, too, between the more liberal traditional Democrats and the - what I would call the Venezuelan wing of the Democratic Party who support socialism, and they have, you know, the policy positions that are...

CORNISH: You're calling them full-on Venezuela. I just want to pause for that (laughs).

TROTTER: Well, you know, that's how we see it. And certainly that's how the split in the Republican Party has been characterized -- between a hard right and the moderate Republicans. And this is certainly a hard left position, this candidate. And I agree also on her enthusiasm. It reminds us a lot of the David Brat defeat of Eric Cantor in the Republican Party. And there is a need for fresh voices in the Democratic Party. And this I think shows definitely a dispute in the Democrat Party going forward.

Liberal analyst Matthew Yglesias cast the loser, Rep. Joseph Crowley as "more moderate," but compared to what? Over 19 years of service, Crowley has an American Conservative Union score of 6.5 percent, with a 7 in 2017 and a perfect zero in 2016. 

MATTHEW YGLESIAS: Joe Crowley was sort of a leader of the more moderate faction of congressional Democrats, but he was representing a very progressive district. It's a majority minority district. It's about half Latino. So it's not - I mean, it was a shocking defeat.

And of course looking back in retrospect, though, you can see that some signs were there. It was a difficult district for a politician like him to hold down, and his opponent is extremely hardworking, intelligent, very charismatic. You know, candidate quality matters a lot, and she had it as well as being a better fit ideologically and demographically for that district.

The PBS NewsHour Week in Review spurred laughter when liberal analyst Mark Shields cast the primary loser as a popular guy, despite losing by 14 points: "I don’t see it as part of a national trend. Joe Crowley was an exceptionally popular Democrat. He didn’t fit the pattern of somebody who had grown remote from his district." Naturally, David Brooks agreed with Shields: "I do not see a Sanders wave. I see these one-off cases where you — this was a very distinct district with a very, very talented candidate."