Tuesday’s primaries hand progressive Democrats major wins

Tuesday night’s primaries dealt a blow to a top Democratic Congressman from Queens, N.Y.  Joe Crowley, chair of the powerful House Democratic Caucus was handed a defeat by a political neophyte, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ocasio-Cortez is a 28-year-old educator and political activist who garnered the support of several progressive organizations such as Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats. Because New York’s 14th Congressional District is heavily Democratic, it is highly likely that Ocasio-Cortez will win a seat in the House of Representatives, replacing a 19-year veteran who is currently the fourth most powerful Democrat in the House.

“We beat a machine with a movement, and that is what we have done today,” said Ocasio-Cortez, a supporter of Bernie Sanders in 2016 who has never held elected office and whose candidacy attracted only modest media attention. “Working-class Americans want a clear champion and there is nothing radical about moral clarity in 2018.”

Ocasio-Cortez’ win, which was accomplished on a Democratic Socialist platform, not only sent a message to the Democratic party about its messaging and tone but also shook up the succession plan for the House speakership as Crowley was favored to replace California’s Nancy Pelosi should the party win back a majority of seats in November.

Other progressive wins occurred in both Maryland and Colorado’s gubernatorial contests with former Sanders’ ally and NAACP head Ben Jealous winning in the former and Congressman Jared Polis in the latter.

On the Republican side of the aisle, President Trump seemingly gets credit for the assist in the victories of both South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and New York Congressman Dan Donovan. Former Utah governor and presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, handily won the Republican primary in his state; however, it remains unclear how closely he will align himself with the president both in the mid-term election and — almost assuredly — as U.S. senator from the Deseret state.

In Oklahoma’s gubernatorial race, former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and businessman Kevin Stitt will advance to a run-off in the Republican primary. Carter Lamb, the sitting lieutenant governor, finished in third place.

As a footnote to the night’s wins, two convicted felons — Chelsea Manning and Michael Grimm — both lost their bids for office.

Manning, who was seeking the nomination for U.S. Senate from Maryland, was court-martialed and convicted of violating the Espionage Act for releasing the Iraq War Logs to WikiLeaks. She served seven years of a 35-year sentence until it was commuted by President Obama in 2017.

Grimm, a former congressman from Staten Island, was convicted of felony tax fraud for which he served seven months in prison.


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