The year 2022 isn’t going so well for the progressive faction of the Democratic Party. Far-left candidates have barely made a showing in the congressional primaries so far, and it does not appear they will be able to turn it around anytime soon. While they have had some victories, it appears voters favor moderate establishment candidates to those representing the radical crowd.
On Tuesday, May 17, several moderate Democrats won their primary elections. These races were of particular importance because the incumbents currently serving in office have held those seats for a significant length of time. This suggests that those who win the primaries might also have the same longevity.
Don Davis won his primary in North Carolina’s first district, while Valerie Foushee was victorious in her race for the state’s fourth district. Morgan McGarvey also won in Kentucky’s third district. This comes two weeks after Shontel Brown, a moderate Democrat seeking the congressional nomination for Ohio’s 11th district, handily defeated progressive Nina Turner, who enjoyed Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) endorsement. State Senator Don Davis defeated progressive Erica Smith for North Carolina’s first congressional district.
However, all is not quite lost for the extreme left. Summer Lee, who is also backed by Sanders, maintains a slight lead over Steve Irwin in the Pittsburgh area. In Oregon, progressive Jamie McLeod-Skinner leads Rep. Kurt Schrader. Charles Booker also won the nomination for Kentucky senator.
This year’s primaries are shaping up much in the same way as they did in 2020, with progressives failing to win a significant number of nominations in the House and Senate. In September 2020, Politico noted:
“The failure of left-wing candidates in their primaries has prompted soul-searching among many progressive leaders who now believe that they neglected the task of organizing and building a downballot bench as they were caught in the thrall of Sanders’ candidacy. It is also a victory for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who recruited most of the primary victors, viewing them as more likely to win general elections.”
Anyone listening to progressives might be tempted to believe their losses are the result of being outspent. The fact that several outside organizations have dumped funds into attack ads against many of these candidates might lend some credibility to this claim. Leah Greenberg, co-founder of Indivisible, a progressive organization, complained about the overwhelming level of spending against far-left candidates. “Progressives are used to getting outspent. They’re used to winning without having the resources to match dollar-for-dollar. But there’s a big difference between being outspent two-to-one and being outspent ten-to-one,” she said.
NBC News reported:
“In North Carolina’s 4th congressional district, based around Chapel Hill, outside groups spent $3.5 million supporting Valerie Foushee over progressive favorite Nida Allam, who had just $370,000 spent on her behalf, according to campaign finance tracker OpenSecrets.
In the state’s 1st district, United Democracy Project, a group funded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, spent $2.4 million boosting Don Davis, who successfully defeated progressive-backed Erica Smith. In comparison, Smith had just $650,000 spent by outside groups to support her campaign.”
Sure, spending was probably a significant issue in these races. Nevertheless, it is impossible to dismiss the importance of American attitudes against the socialist policies touted by the Democratic Party’s progressive faction. At every turn, these leaders have shown that they are out of touch with what most Americans want. Promoting unpopular policies like defunding the police and abandoning fossil fuels at a time when gas prices are sky high was probably not the smartest of ideas this election season.
Progressives do have a chance to pick up a few nominations here and there. But it does not seem likely they will manage to gain enough seats in either chamber of Congress to make a difference. Still, it would be unwise to count them out. These folks understand the situation in which they find themselves and have been playing the long game – inside and outside of government. It might take them another decade to get enough influence to become more dangerous, but it is clear they are willing to bide their time.