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Bernie Sanders' Progressive Movement Is Influencing Democratic Political Campaigns All Over the US

July 26, 2018 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson, AlterNet

His 2016 presidential run turned out to be much more than a political campaign.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential run turned out to be much more than a political campaign—it became a movement. When the self-described “democratic socialist” entered the Democratic primary and challenged presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, he never pretended to be a centrist. Sanders, now 76, ran as a hardcore, unapologetic liberal/progressive, calling for an aggressive return to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and bringing in millions of dollars in campaign contributions. And two years later, with the 2018 midterms approaching, Sanders’ influence is asserting itself all over the U.S. 

The biggest Sanders-influenced upset of the year occurred in Queens and the Bronx, where 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—a member of the Democratic Socialists of America—challenged the high-ranking Rep. Joe Crowley in a Democratic congressional primary and defeated him by a landslide on June 26. Ocasio-Cortez ran to the left of Crowley, campaigning on single-payer healthcare, a national minimum wage of $15 per hour, and other issues Sanders had brought to the forefront in 2016. And in November, she will be running against Republican Anthony Pappas for the House of Representatives seat that Crowley will be vacating.

Given her ability to defeat Crowley—a ten-term incumbent who was by no means a lightweight in Democratic Party politics—Ocasio-Cortez is obviously a very aggressive campaigner. And Sanders has been making use of her energy. This month in Wichita, Kansas, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez both campaigned for James Thompson, a civil rights lawyer who will be running against far-right Republican Rep. Ron Estes for a seat in the House of Representatives.

In Missouri, Ocasio-Cortez has campaigned for nurse Cori Bush, who issued a Democratic congressional primary challenge to Rep. Lacy Clay and has been running to the left of him politically. Clay is a political veteran: he has been representing Missouri in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001—and his father, 87-year-old William L. Clay, held the same seat in the House from 1969-2001. For Bush, taking on a member of the Clay family is as bold …read more


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