The Squad Cleaned Up in Their Primary Elections This Summer
In 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley won their congressional seats running on progressive platforms against more establishment Democrats. Omar ran to fill a vacant seat but AOC, Tlaib, and Pressley primaried sitting Dems and won. And after cleaning up in a round of contentious primary elections this summer, The Squad has proven that their 2018 wins were anything but a fluke.
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A lot of money went into trying to keep these women to a single term.
In June, AOC won her primary against Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a Reagan-loving self-described “centrist” whose campaign was largely funded by Wall Street titans. Ocasio-Cortez won with nearly 73% of the vote.
When I won in 2018, many dismissed our victory as a “fluke.”
Our win was treated as an aberration, or bc my opponent “didn’t try.”
So from the start, tonight’s race was important to me.
Tonight we are proving that the people’s movement in NY isn’t an accident. It‘s a mandate.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 24, 2020
Last week, Tlaib won her primary with two-thirds of the vote. And in the most contentious race of them all (Pressley appears to be running unopposed in her race next month), Ilhan Omar won her race yesterday with 57% of the vote.
Like AOC’s challenger, Omar’s opponent, attorney Antone Melton-Meaux, was well-funded by moderate to right-wing donors. All of these women have been attacked for being too progressive. They’ve been accused of focusing too much on national issues (which sure sounds like code for the familiar refrain of “too ambitious”). They are seen as a threat not just to Republicans but to anyone who benefits from wealth inequality and any other form of social injustice. And those people have a lot of resources to throw behind a candidate who will serve them.
Maybe that’s why the narrative going into these races (and even after them) is that these women were in real danger of losing their seats and that they were lucky to win.
— mike casca (@cascamike) August 11, 2020
— Rose Movement 🌹 (@Rosemvmt) August 11, 2020
In reality, as Rep. Tlaib said in a statement following her win, “Voters sent a clear message that they’re done waiting for transformative change, that they want an unapologetic fighter who will take on the status quo and win.”
In addition to the four existing squad members, this summer’s primary season added two new progressive voices likely to win their general elections in November: Missouri’s Cori Bush and New York’s Jamaal Bowman.
I want folks to recognize how big of a triumph @IlhanMN’s victory represents.
Tens of millions in big money was targeted to unseat 3 of us as “safe” Dems – almost unheard of.
This is what happens you deeply challenge systems of power and corruption. But the people triumphed. https://t.co/adVnV6wGGR
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 12, 2020
In Minnesota, we know that organized people will always beat organized money.
Tonight, our movement didn’t just win. We earned a mandate for change. Despite outside efforts to defeat us, we once again broke turnout records.
Despite the attacks, our support has only grown.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) August 12, 2020
(image: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
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