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Democrats Are Facing Primary Challenges From the Left

The Democratic Party continues to be at war with itself as the recent fight over border funding has spurred the progressive left to primary more candidates in 2020. The same group of far-left leaning activists who engineered Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s victory in 2018 are gunning for even more Democrats in next year’s elections, according to Politico:

Tensions inside the House Democratic Caucus are running high after an ugly debate last month over legislation to provide emergency aid for the humanitarian crisis at the border. Progressives lambasted leadership and some centrists who backed the measure as “child abusers” because it lacked money to improve hygiene and nutrition standards for detained child migrants.

That Democratic firefight and others have inflamed liberals looking ahead to 2020, including the group that was behind now-Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset win last year. The raw emotions have many in the party wary of an all-out battle for the party’s soul in primaries from the presidential race all the way down to the congressional level.

The activist left is indeed fighting for the soul of the party as they continue to target more establishment Democrats who don’t toe a far-enough leftward line. Groups like Justice Democrats are gunning for sitting members of Congress, and they’re not hiding their progressive bent.

According to Politico, the Associated Press has reported that 40 percent of Democratic incumbents face primary challenges. Justice Democrats and other groups are finding progressives to challenge even some long-time Democrat incumbents, and many of them are courting endorsements from folks like AOC and her staff.

These progressives seem to be oblivious to the danger that such a leftward lurch could threaten the Democrats’ majority in the House of Representatives. One activist told Politico that, “Every politician needs to be on notice.”

Not everyone seems to be worried about the challenges, however.

Though members have expressed frustration and concern about primary challenges, there appears to be less fear among members about the power of Justice Democrats, which has struggled to fundraise and provide a clear picture about where it plans to invest its time.

It’s hard not to wonder if such a concentrated push toward the left will hurt the Democrats long term. As the party and more of its more vocal members move in a more progressive direction, will increasing numbers of rank and file Democrats find themselves without a home? Will less liberal Democrats abandon the party?

These activists don’t seem to be concerned. Their scorched earth progressivism may harm the party in the long run, but they’re committed to it.

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