Far-left socialist candidates backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democrat Congressional candidate Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez have lost big in recent primaries as Democrat voters favor more centrist incumbents.
August 7 was a particularly brutal day for socialists as primary after primary brought about defeat for some of their favorite candidates. Abdul El-Sayed, a populist aiming to become Michigan’s first Muslim governor, lost the primary to establishment Democrat Gretchen Whitmer by nearly 20 percentage points. Fayrouz Saad, who was running for Congress in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District primary race, finished a distant fourth. Cori Bush, an aspiring progressive Congressional candidate in Missouri, lost to Rep. Lacy Clay while Brent Welder, a leftist Congressional candidate in Kansas, lost to Sharice Davids.
More bad news for the socialist Democrats rolled in a few days later as Kaniela Ing, a progressive Congressional candidate in liberal Hawaii, lost his bid to represent the state’s 1st Congressional District, earning only 6% of the vote while the winner in the race gained 40% of the vote.
Naturally, there are several reasons why progressive candidates are losing so many of their races. Experts are pointing out that there are limits to Sen. Sanders’ and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s popularity and star power. While both individuals actively campaigned on behalf of many of the losing candidates, their efforts were not enough to turn the races in their favor. Demographics also play a large role in the races, as support for a socialist platform isn’t widespread throughout the country.
Many realize that free college and a Federal Jobs Guarantee sounds good on paper, but would be problematic to implement in real life. The fact that the United States’ economy is doing well is yet another factor, as people who are happy with their economic situation and outlook are unlikely to vote for drastic change. Yet another problem many socialist candidates faced is that they lacked support from the Democratic Party establishment. Former President Barack Obama, who endorsed over 80 candidates in various races across the nation, has snubbed the overwhelming majority of progressive candidates in favor of backing establishment candidates who DNC leadership approval.
At the same time, socialist Democrats can take comfort in the fact that they have made some small gains. James Thompson, who is running for Congress in Kansas’ 4th Congressional District, won the primary race and will face off with Republican incumbent Rep. Ron Estes in November. Rashida Tlaib, a card-carrying member of the Democratic Socialists of America, won her primary race in Michigan. She will run unopposed in the district, making it certain that she will become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress as well as one of the few members of the House of Representatives to also be a DSA member.
Even more importantly, socialist ideas are gaining steam, and even mainstream Democrats are beginning to endorse some of them. The call to abolish ICE has gained traction, and a number of Democratic lawmakers have endorsed the idea, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Kamala Harris. Sen. Cory Booker, along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Bernie Sanders, are pushing for a Federal Jobs Guarantee. While progressive socialist candidates are losing races across the nation, the ideas they are backing may become part of the official Democrat platform should a left-leaning candidate become the official Democratic Party nominee for president in 2020.
After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won an outstanding victory over one of the most powerful incumbent Democrat congressional candidates, there was a feeling that socialism was sweeping the nation. The Democratic Socialists of America proclaimed the virtues of their platform and gloried in the support they were receiving. However, recent Democrat primaries across the nation are showing that the DSA’s support base is more limited than many may have believed.
While a few progressive candidates have managed to win their races, the overwhelming majority of these would-be lawmakers have been unable to pull off upset victories. How this will affect the 2018 mid-term elections remains to be seen. While some voters holding to progressive viewpoints may be willing to vote for establishment Democrat candidates, others may opt to sit the race out or vote for a third-party candidate that aligns with their points of view.
~ Patriotic Freedom Fighter