|Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib : Two new socialist members of Congress.|
The midterm US elections saw the American left score some significant victories. If there is any future at all for the Democratic Party as a viable progressive force then it lies with people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
THE IDEA THAT the Democratic Party would sweep all before it in the midterm elections was never realistic. Winning the Senate was always going to be a difficult ask for the Democrats while the party itself assured its near-certain victory in the House would not be a triumphal 'blue wave'. The mainstream media have described is as a mere 'trickle' but it wasn't that either. It was a modest win but still looks like it will be a more substantial victory than the 2006 midterm victory during the final years of George W. Bush.
The Senate was always going to be a tough battle for the Democrats simply because of the fact that only a third of Senate seats are up for election every two years, and Democrats were defending nearly three-quarters of them this year.
The job was made even more difficult by the Republicans putting obstacles in the way of simply voting. In Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams was running to be the first African American woman governor in U.S. history. But Abrams’ opponent Brian Kemp, Georgia’s current secretary of state, abused his authority over the state election system to purge as many as 1.4 million people from the voting rolls during his time in power. They were mostly black voters. They were mostly Democratic Party voters.
While there is a palpable sense of relief - even as far as away as New Zealand - that Trump's agenda has abruptly been brought to the halt, the victory would of been more emphatic had the Democratic Party establishment not determined that simply being anti-Trump was enough to win. Many Americans are still no closer to understanding what the corporate Democrats stand for other than 'politics as usual'. The likely new House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, will have inspired few with her hinting that the Democratic Party could work with Trump. The absolute political bankruptcy of social democratic politics is encapsulated in Pelosi's insidious comments.
While the primary Democratic winners in this year’s elections were the candidates of the establishment, we should not discount the success of its more progressive candidates. If there is future for the Democratic Party as a viable progressive force - and that's a discussion for another time - it lies with them.
If the American left could be described as having a 'it girl' then its Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). At twenty-nine years of age, she is the youngest ever woman voted to Congress. She told the crowd celebrating her victory that 'a better world is possible'.
But there were other significant successes including two progressive Muslim women. Rashida Tiab, also a member of the DSA, is the first ever Palestinian-American voted to Congress. She will be joined by Ihan Omar, another DSA-endorsed candidate.
The success of the Democratic Party's socialist and progressive candidates confirms again the real desire among many Americans for a real alternative not only to Donald Trump but to the corporate and centrist politics of the Democratic Party establishment. Unlike Nancy Pelosi, they are not interested in 'working with' the right wing demagogue sitting in the Oval Office.