Democratic socialist group: Voters lost faith in Democratic Party after 2016

An official with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) argued Tuesday that many voters lost faith in the Democratic Party following President Trump’s victory in 2016.

“Hillary Clinton lost to Trump and people lost faith in the Democratic Party,” said Megan Svoboda, a national political committee member at DSA, in an interview with Hill.TV.

Svoboda also credited the 2016 election for helping DSA create a Democratic socialist movement that is more representative of voters.

“If we’re were thinking long-term, we have to be clear that we are different than the Democratic Party,” she said. “We want to be of and for the working class — not fighting for the interests of millionaires and billionaires as the Democratic Party is.”

Following Trump’s election, DSA said it saw a surge in popularity, growing from about 7,000 members to 50,000. Progressive lawmakers and candidates have also leaned into the DSA label.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who was endorsed by DSA last year, gave a forceful speech in June defending the political philosophy, characterizing it as an extension of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

DSA also scored a number of victories during the 2018 midterm elections, backing Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

The group is now hoping to rekindle its success in 2020 and has backed roughly 100 congressional candidates.

Svoboda told Hill.TV that the group is especially excited about one candidate in Texas — community organizer and farmer Heidi Sloan, who is running to represent the 25th Congressional District.

“This is an incredible opportunity for DSA to really show what it means to elect a Democratic socialist — someone who is going to really fight for the working class once they are elected and join forces with other DSA members,” she said.

Sloan will face fellow Democrat Julie Oliver in the March 2020 primary. The primary winner will face a long-shot bid against likely Republican nominee Rep. Roger Williams, who was first elected to Congress in 2013.

—Tess Bonn

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