Progressives soaring after big primary night

Progressives soaring after big primary night
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Progressives crowed Wednesday after a number of their candidates scored pivotal wins in Tuesday’s primaries, pushing back against the notion that the party’s left flank faces barriers to electability. 

Cori Bush, a candidate backed by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Sanders tells Maher 'there will be a number of plans' to remove Trump if he loses Sirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters MORE (I-Vt.) and Justice Democrats, scored the biggest victory of the night, ousting longtime Rep. Wm. Lacy ClayWilliam (Lacy) Lacy ClayFive things we learned from this year's primaries Progressives aim for big night in Massachusetts Progressives look to unseat top Democrat in Massachusetts primary MORE (D-Mo.). 

Progressive Michigan state Rep. Jon Hoadley (D) won the Democratic primary in the state’s 6th Congressional District, setting him up to go head-to-head with Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonOn Paycheck Protection Program, streamlined forgiveness is key Hispanic Caucus campaign arm endorses slate of non-Hispanic candidates Progressives soaring after big primary night MORE (R-Mich.). Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTrump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' George Conway: 'Trump is like a practical joke that got out of hand' Pelosi endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary challenge MORE (D-Mich.) also coasted to a primary win.

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The progressive gains also extended down-ballot, with St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones and prosecutor Kim Gardner winning their primaries.

“The progressive wing of the party is ascendant,” said Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of Our Revolution. 

Progressives argue that the wins underscore an embrace by voters of their candidates and issues. In Missouri, a state where President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE will be a big favorite this fall, a majority of voters voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. It is the sixth state in three years to pass such a ballot measure.

“If mainstream Democrats think that running on a progressive agenda in a red state is problematic, I think the popularity of the Medicaid expansion, that single issue, is significant,” Geevarghese said.

Strategists say the wins show voters’ desire for new faces. Clay had served in Congress for two decades, but went down to defeat weeks after longtime Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse panel halts contempt proceedings against Pompeo after documents turned over Engel subpoenas US global media chief Michael Pack The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D-N.Y.). Engel fell to another progressive, Jamaal Bowman.

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“People want to see fresh blood,” said Jon Reinish, a Democratic strategist and former aide to Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election Sunday shows preview: Justice Ginsburg dies, sparking partisan battle over vacancy before election Suburban moms are going to decide the 2020 election MORE (D-N.Y.). “People want to see fresh leadership. If a certain member has been in power for 30-plus years, no matter how much great work they’ve done, respect they’ve engendered over those decades, that’s still a lot of decades.” 

The wins build on other victories in 2018, when several progressives won election to the House including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWill Democrats attempt to pack the Supreme Court again? On The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline McCarthy says there will be a peaceful transition if Biden wins MORE (D-N.Y.), who unseated a longtime incumbent in Rep. Joseph Crowley (D).

“You've shown that the power of grassroots, mass-movement politics is stronger than gatekeepers & big money — it’s about advancing the tide of justice whose time has come,” Ocasio-Cortez, who did not endorse Bush in the primary, said in a tweet congratulating Bush on her victory. 

Progressives hope the victories will give them leverage against establishment leaders like presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins MORE who argue for more incremental steps on policy such as health care.

“Even though Bernie did not prevail at the top of the ticket, it is a clear message to Joe Biden and the other members of the political establishment,” Geevarghese said. “The base doesn’t want incrementalism.”