The progressive insurgency in the Democratic Party continues to gain ground
The progressive insurgency has a chance of scoring its biggest victory yet.
With the early implosion of the Sanders campaign (who appeared to be in a rush to leave), everyone has taken their eyes off of the many races that are still full of true progressives.
Consider how much just four 2018 freshmen house members changed the Overton Window.
Now think what might happen if the Squad doubles, or triples, in members. Plus gaining one member in the Senate.
They could go from changing the conversation, to actually effecting legislation.
There are some on the left that are so scarred and betrayed by the corporate Democrats that they may lash out at anyone supporting progressive candidates with misdirected anger. It doesn't help anyone.
Let's look at the numbers:
Brand New Congress endorsed a lot of candidates this year, and they started a miserable 0-11.
But then Kara Eastman won (polls give her a slim lead in the general despite the DNC opposing her).
Brand New Congress is 4-4 since Eastman's win.
Justice Democrats have a much smaller list of endorsed candidates, of which they have a respectable 3-2 record so far.
This includes Marie Newman knocking off long-time incumbent Dan Lipinski. Since incumbents win 95% of the time, this is no small feat.
The real test of this insurgency happens in two weeks, when New York and Kentucky go to the polls.
Let's start with Charles Booker in Kentucky.
Sanders' announcement also puts the Vermont independent at odds with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and positions him against two prominent House Democrats: Foreign Affairs Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus...Sanders backed Booker, a black first-term state representative, in the Kentucky Senate race against McConnell ahead of the June 23 primary. Booker, who is running on a platform that includes "Medicare for All" and the "Green New Deal," is challenging Amy McGrath, who has been endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Booker endorsed Sanders in the presidential primary, while McGrath backed former Vice President Joe Biden.
Booker also did a good job pinning McGrath to her own words in their last debate, to which Booker came directly from having been tear-gassed at the protests in Louisville over the killing of Breonna Taylor. For some reason or another, in her announcement speech, McGrath accused McConnell of standing in the way of the president*’s policies, about which McGrath seems to believe—against all the available evidence—that the president* is sincere.
Booker has an uphill fight. McGrath has the unquestioned support of the DNC and a huge fundraising advantage, but anything could happen.
The race progressives are more likely to win is in New York.
On Tuesday, June 9, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gave his endorsement to Jamaal Bowman, a left-wing insurgent challenging 16-term Democratic incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel in New York, calling Bowman “someone we can trust to be a powerful advocate for a progressive agenda in Congress.”
Like McGrath, Engel has been running a terrible campaign.
Engel’s office had also advertised his participation in two community aid events which gave away food, hand sanitizer and masks. “I was part of that,” Engel claimed. But when Atlantic reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere replied: “But you weren’t there?,” Engel conceded, “I was not there, no.”
Then, on June 2, Engel made his first appearance in the district. At a press event addressing the mass protests and unrest that have followed the police murder of George Floyd, he was caught on a hot mic pressuring Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to let him speak at the event. “If I didn’t have a primary I wouldn’t care,” he said. Diaz asked him to repeat, and he did.
“Don’t do that to me,” Diaz replied. He added, “Everybody has a primary. You know, I’m sorry.”
While Engel has been blowing it, Bowman has been gathering endorsements and contributions with both hands. I think he's about to knock off an establishment Dem in a leadership position, like AOC two years ago.
Finally, let's not ignore that progressives are winning lots of races at the state and local levels.