With U.S midterms approaching fast, the two-party system America upholds is seeping with divisions and fractures under a Trump administration. The Republican party have adopted an alt-right platform to coincide politically with their president. The traditionally liberal Democratic party, almost complicit in Trump’s electoral success, must shift further left in a radical attempt to oust him.
The political organisation, the Democratic Socialists of America, have endorsed 46 candidates who have won their primaries ready for November. Taking on the U.S House of Representatives, three women in particular are fighting the socialist cause to shift the Democratic party’s broken stance. With the most rampantly misogynistic president in American history, a record number of women have decided to run for office. The midterms of 2018 have been labelled “the year of the woman”, and informally the rise of the socialist movement.
In Washington, particularly the state’s 9th congressional district, is a battleground for two Democrats. The incumbent, Adam Smith, is being challenged from the left in working-class, Bernie Sanders-backed activist, Sarah Smith. Although matching surnames, their political positions couldn’t be more different.
Sarah Smith has condemned America’s aggressive foreign policy and needless interventionist wars. She advocates a federal minimum wage of $15 and for full justified workers’ rights. As a vociferous supporter on women’s rights, Smith has pledged to protect funding for Planned Parenthood and to help tackle the gendered pay inequity that dominates the workplace. Smith has attacked the centre-of-left incumbent in her district. Adam Smith, who voted for the Middle Eastern wars, has the backing of both Washington’s senators and the Seattle Times. Sarah Smith is trailing behind Adam Smith with reference to their primary race. Adam Smith won the primary with 48.4% vote, whilst she finished second place with 26.9%. Although the race is predicted to tilt in the incumbent’s favour, it is a significant moment in U.S politics where the left-wing candidates are so opposing in their views.
Socialist Smith received an endorsement from New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the grassroots activist who beat a longstanding Democrat in the state’s 14th congressional primary race. Ocasio-Cortez is a self-described socialist who calls for universal healthcare, green infrastructure projects and for the abolition of the notorious ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
Ocasio-Cortez has been given approval by Bernie Sanders and other progressive political organisations. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. She failed to gain support from former president, Barack Obama, when he first officially endorsed 81 candidates once going pubic for the midterms. His avoidance of Ocasio-Cortez has been speculated. Was it because she was a hard-left socialist that does not bode well with his position? Or was it because she is more than likely to win the race next week, therefore no endorsement was needed?
Her opponent in the primary race, Joe Crowley, had been the Representative for the 14th district since 1999. A neoliberal and Nancy Pelosi favourite lost his seat to a hard-left candidate in Ocasio-Cortez, highlighting the faction in the Democratic party.
Last but not least, Michigan’s 13th congressional district will see an unopposed socialist candidate enter the U.S House next Wednesday. Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, has called for immigration reform that is fair for all.
She has called for all illegal immigrants who are living in America to be able to remain definitely. Likewise, to Ocasio-Cortez, she’s a backer of the Abolish ICE movement and believes in a resolution for the Israel-Palestine conflict. Born to Palestinian working-class immigrants, Tlaib urges the U.S to support a one-state solution, whilst also backing activists from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Although the Democratic party seem more divided than ever, Tlaib’s resistance to Trump and calls for his impeachment are a consensus for the party’s Never Trump movement. Tlaib attended a speech made by Donald Trump when he was the presidential candidate, before being ejected from the venue for asking him to return his Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is a medal awarded in the name of the president who was killed or injured whilst serving in the armed forces.
As she is unopposed, Tlaib will be the first Muslim woman to have a seat in the House of Representatives and the first Palestinian-American woman. She will also be serving as a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.