Editorial: Progressivism Wins Elections

Talon Smith, Editor-in-Chief

One of the big issues concerning the nomination of the democratic party’s presidential candidate this past year was whether the candidates were too progressive to appeal to a majority of voters in the election.

Now that the 2020 elections are basically through, we’ve seen that progressivism wins elections, not centrism.

Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a self-proclaimed progressive, attracted a lot of attention with her election in 2018 and was often grouped with three other progressive representatives, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and referred to as “The Squad.” All four of these representatives won reelection this year, according to CNN.

Not only were progressives reelected, The Squads’ seats in the US House of Representatives expanded. Jamaal Bowman won in New York, Cori Bush won in Missouri, Mondaire Jones won in New York, Ritchie Torres won in New York, and Marie Newman won in Illinois.

Meanwhile, the House seats that Republicans flipped all belonged to moderate Democrats.

Some moderate Democrats went as far as to blame their loss of votes and seats on progressive candidates during a private conference call.

“The explanation laid out by centrists, according to multiple people who were on the call and spoke on the condition of anonymity, is that Republicans were easily able to paint them all as socialists and radical leftists who endorse far-left positions such as defunding the police,” reported the Washington Post.

How could this explanation hold when legitimate progressives won across the country and Biden, who was often called a socialist by President Trump, won the presidency?

An opinion piece in the Washington Post by columnist Paul Waldman follows a similar line of logic: “So are we supposed to believe that if Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who represents Seattle, never let the word ‘socialism’ pass her lips again, then that would mean that some centrist Democrat from a district 3,000 miles away would have an easy path to victory in every future election?”

A progressive agenda is needed if the Democratic Party wants to accomplish anything. The thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters which gathered over the summer were not chanting, “Reform the police!” they called for the defunding of the police, a progressive idea.

Progressivism gives voice to the disenfranchised groups of America, including Black people. In fact, NAACP President Derrick Johnson told Now This that African American women are the most progressive voting bloc in America, followed by African American men.

The vote in predominantly Black areas of America is what flipped key states in Joe Biden’s presidential victory, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Detroit. So not only did Biden win because of the Black vote, he won because of progressivism.

In fact, Georgia being flipped can largely be attributed to the work of Stacey Abrams, a former gubernatorial candidate endorsed by known progressive Bernie Sanders. Her work’s importance is explained by Politico.

If you can understand how progressivism is the future for the Democratic Party, look out for local progressive candidates to support, especially during the primaries, as well as progressive organizations like the Courage to Change PAC.