Ethics & Public Policy Center

Tuesday’s Elections Were Good News for Progressives — and Establishment Republicans

Published in The Washington Post on August 5, 2020


Tuesday’s five-state primary elections told us a lot about the state of the American electorate. The results hold good news for progressives and establishment Republicans alike.

Democrat Cori Bush’s defeat of 20-year incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) was only the tip of the progressive iceberg. That’s not to make light of her victory. The Clay family had represented seats anchored in the city of St. Louis since 1969. Her win shows that even long-entrenched Democrats can fall prey to a challenger from their left. That’s a pretty important message even standing alone.

But it did not stand alone. Progressive “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) easily turned back a primary challenge from Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, whom Tlaib defeated by only 900 votes in 2018. Progressive Jen Richardson nearly defeated the party’s preferred candidate, state Rep. Jon Hoadley, in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District despite being outspent nearly 15 to 1. And another underfunded progressive, Eva Putzova, punched above her weight against moderate Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.), who won with only 59 percent of the vote in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. The message to incumbents is clear: Move left, or risk moving out.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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