Retiring Dem Rep Decries Party's Radical Turn

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D., Fla.) / Grabien
March 18, 2022

In an interview published Friday by Politico, retiring Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D., Fla.) decried the Democratic Party's radical turn on issues ranging from immigration to infrastructure to capitalism.

Murphy is among a dwindling group of Democratic lawmakers concerned about her party's inability to stand up to left-wing groups. She accused her party's leadership of pandering to factions who are soft on crime and want to "dismantle capitalism" and pursue open borders. During her six years in Congress, she said "immigrant groups" have often maligned her, a Vietnamese refugee, as "anti-immigrant" for pursuing immigration reform.

"I believe in immigration and comprehensive immigration reform and the ability for people to immigrate to the United States in a legal way," Murphy said. "But I also believe in law and order and ensuring that we hold people who commit crimes accountable. … I'm a refugee. I'm an immigrant. I'm not anti-immigrant."

Murphy blames her party's leaders for the shift, saying they have cowed interest groups into their game of political brinkmanship. During last year's infrastructure discussions, she said, Democratic leadership drove the political action of labor unions more than union members did.

"The infrastructure bill was one of the most historic job-creating bills for labor," Murphy said. "And instead of [being] focused on the bill that would create jobs today for their members, they were focused on carrying out the Democratic leadership's approach to the two bills."

The shift, Murphy said, has caused some groups to even give up reading bills, choosing instead to advocate whatever Democratic leadership tells them.

"We had environmental groups that were calling us before the legislation text for the Build Back Better Act had been put out, calling us saying, 'If you don't support that, we are going to delist you. We won't support you. We won't endorse you,'" Murphy said. "And when you ask them back, 'Well, what's in the Build Back Better Act that you are so supportive of,' they couldn't define it specifically because nobody had seen the text."

Murphy announced in December she would not seek reelection. In her interview, she issued a parting shot against Democrats who have pressed for unpopular policies despite their narrow advantage in the House and Senate.

"I can't tell you the number of times I said, 'You can't keep promising rainbows and unicorns when your political reality is such narrow margins in the House and a dead-even Senate,'" Murphy said. "They took the difference between rainbows and unicorns and political reality—which is anger and disappointment—and turned that anger and disappointment against their own members."