New GOP “Freedom Force” is expected to oppose The Squad and progressive Dems at every turn
The new congressional alliance seeks to veer away from policies they perceive as “too far left.”
There will soon be two “Squads” on Capitol Hill. One pairs socialism with communism, and the other with progressive movement. Still, the new GOP alliance should not be underestimated.
A group of the incoming Republican members of Congress have formed “The Freedom Force,” a not-too-subtle way of conflating The Squad’s well-known name with suppression. Their goal over the next two years is to fight against any congressional policies they condone as “too far left.”
It started with Republican Congresswoman-elect Maria Elvira Salazar’s (FL) interest in forming a "freedom force" to fight socialism.
I was born in Miami — a community built by survivors
my parents fled Castro's socialist nightmare.
we can't just let the socialist left destroy the American Dream for our children!
join The Freedom Force & FIGHT BACK today! https://t.co/o0E4iHjBj4
— María Elvira Salazar (@MaElviraSalazar) November 20, 2020
Since then, newly-elected GOP Congressmembers, Carlos Gimenez (FL), Victoria Spartz (I), and Nicole Malliotakis (NY) have joined the group to oppose “Squad” members, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlalib, and newcomers Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Mondaire Jones, and Eliot Engel.
Each Freedom Force member has ties to political refugees. The four either left — or have family members who left — Cuba and Soviet Union-controlled Ukraine.
“@NMalliotakis, @Victoria_Spartz, @MaElviraSalazar, & I know what socialism is all about, we lived through it. We're a natural alliance that doesn't support the socialist ideas the far-left is proposing. We love this country, we want to strengthen it, not fundamentally change it,” Gimenez wrote on Twitter.
— Carlos A. Gimenez (@CarlosGimenezFL) November 13, 2020
The GOP opposition squad is an extension of what happened in Florida over Election week. The power of conservative Latinx voters, combined with the power of voters whose families fled socialist regimes like Cubans, fueled Trump’s victory in certain states and districts across the nation.
They’re not a fluke, and they’re here to stay.
As Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) — the incumbent ousted by Gimenez — explained in a Twitter thread last week, anti-socialism alone cannot be attributed to Gimenez’s upset win and Trump’s better-than-expected performance in Florida.
There’s been a slow and steady build of these particular conservative demographics over the past few years, and Democratic outreach often overlooked these micro-categories of voters. Mainstream reporters did the same thing.
Now they have leaders, manifested through the Freedom Force, and a strong base so far.
All of the Freedom Force lawmakers flipped Democratic-held seats or held on to competitive seats, reported the Miami Herald.
Salazar and Gimenez are reportedly looking to recruit fellow first-year Republicans. It’s a freshman class of lawmakers that strengthened diversity in Congress, as it includes the first Asian-American Republicans elected in a decade, and the only Black Republicans who will serve in the upcoming session of the House.
“Telling the country that conservative ideas can appeal to voters of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds also will be a big part of their agenda,” reported the Herald.
However, here lies the critical issue misunderstanding what the original Squad stands for. The groups’ conflicting perceptions of socialism boil down to background. The Squad members are not familiar with the fear and family history that the Freedom Force has faced in regards to the regimes their families fled.
To the Freedom Force, The Squad’s policies will eventually run the country into the ground. But there is a difference between the socialism of Castro’s revolution and the Democratic Socialism that progressive Democrats exhibit daily.
To the Squad, this means fighting to preserve the climate, ensuring healthcare for all, and combating the housing crisis brought by COVID-19. It also means holding the 1% accountable to their fair share in taxes.
The Freedom Force is against change it deems radical, and says they merely want to make the nation “better.”
Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman (NY) suggested Republicans misunderstood socialism from the Democratic-Socialist perspective of the Squad.
“I believe that some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, when they think of socialism, they think of communism and think of the government controlling everything and people being disempowered within democracy, and I think that's an incorrect definition, that's not how I define it," he said.
Next year's Democratic congress, though serving under Biden, is not clear in pushing forward policy. With specific regard to the Squad, they will need to be on the constant alert at jabs at their “far-left” ideals, which will undoubtedly come with persistence.