Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Monday that the Democratic Party is not on the left of the political spectrum, but rather a majority of its members are centrist or right-of-center in their beliefs, according to the Washington Examiner.
To support her position, she pointed to Democrats' inability to even get votes on major progressive issues like single-payer health care.
"We don't have a left party in the United States," Ocasio-Cortez said during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event. "The Democratic Party is not a left party. The Democratic Party is a center or center-conservative party. We can't even get a floor vote on Medicare for All, not even a floor vote that gets voted down. So, this is not a left party. There are left members inside the Democratic Party that are working to try to make that shift happen."
Ocasio-Cortez is a democratic socialist who has endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic presidential primary. She recently said America is the only country in which she and former Vice President Joe Biden would be in the same political party.
Ocasio-Cortez also argued against the idea that capitalism was the solution to people's economic struggles.
"There are a lot of true believers that we can 'capitalism' our way out of poverty in the Democratic Party," Ocasio-Cortez said. "If anything, that's probably the majority. And that's an area which I agree with Dr. King, that that assessment is flawed."
King wrote and spoke critically of capitalism on multiple occasions, having held the opinion that capitalism had "outlived its usefulness" even though he conceded that it had some benefits.
"I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic," King wrote to Coretta Scott in 1951. "And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive...to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human system[s] it [fell] victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes."