Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Running on a platform including Medicare for All and free public education, democratic socialist Summer Lee defeated her Democratic establishment-backed opponent Paul Costa in Pennsylvania's 34th State House District. (Photo: Nathan Shaulis/Summer for PA)

Big Primary Wins for Socialists and Progressives Who Ran on 'Popular Demands That Were Deemed Impossible'

"Welcome to the political revolution."

Jake Johnson

"This is what happens when you run grassroots campaigns."

"We're just getting started."

"Welcome to the political revolution."

Defying national and state-level Democratic establishment forces that have worked to crowd out left-wing candidates and demonstrating that there is a deep hunger among the American electorate for a bold progressive agenda, candidates running on platforms of Medicare for All, free college, and a living wage emerged victorious in several state primaries on Tuesday and tore through the boundaries of what is conventionally considered politically feasible.

"They said it wasn't possible without institutional support. That we couldn't talk about Medicare for All, a living wage, about ending corruption in Harrisburg. And you know what we did instead? We built something."
—Sara Innamorato, Pennsylvania State House candidate

"It feels like a monumental shift," Arielle Cohen, co-chair of Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), told the Huffington Post after four DSA-backed candidates defeated establishment Democrats in Pennsylvania. "We won on popular demands that were deemed impossible. We won on healthcare for all; we won on free education."

Running in Pennsylvania's State House Districts 34 and 21 respectively, Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato—both running on platforms consisting of Medicare for All, strong environmental protection, and campaign finance reform—toppled what local news outlets described as a "political dynasty" by trouncing Democratic cousins Paul Costa and Dom Costa by a wide margin.

"They said it wasn't possible without institutional support. That we couldn't talk about Medicare for All, a living wage, about ending corruption in Harrisburg," Innamorato said during her victory party Tuesday night. "And you know what we did instead? We built something."

"The establishment's scared," Pittsburgh DSA wrote on Twitter in response to the upset victories, which also included wins by Elizabeth Fiedler and Kristin Seale over their establishment counterparts. "When we fight, we win."

Signs of the grassroots progressive wave that some predicted will ultimately sweep across the country could also be seen in Idaho on Tuesday, where progressive Paulette Jordan handily defeated her establishment-backed Democratic opponent A.J. Balukoff in a bid to become the nation's first Native American governor.

If she wins in November, Jordan—who ran on protecting public land from corporate plunder and criminal justice reform—would be Idaho's first Democratic governor in over 20 years.

"Today's elections prove movement politics candidates, who rely on people power, can win, and win powerfully," Ryan Greenwood, director of Movement Politics for People's Action, said in a statement on Wednesday. "Candidates for public office who commit to a racial and gender justice agenda that puts people and our planet before profits are winning."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Manchin Threatening Key Climate Provision: Reports

"To take it out is to decide that climate change isn't a problem."

Andrea Germanos ·


'Make a Gesture of Humanity': Pope Francis Urges Pharma Giants to Release Covid-19 Vaccine Patents

"There are countries where only three or four percent of the inhabitants have been vaccinated."

Andrea Germanos ·


Manchin Fumes After Sanders Op-Ed in West Virginia Paper Calls Out Obstruction of Biden Agenda

"Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for this legislation," wrote Sanders. "Two Democratic senators remain in opposition, including Sen. Joe Manchin."

Andrea Germanos ·


US to Offer 'Condolence Payments' to Relatives of 10 Civilians Killed in Drone Strike

The Pentagon statement follows a call for President Joe Biden to "show real concern for civilians by taking more meaningful steps to prevent civilian casualties as a result of all U.S. lethal operations."

Andrea Germanos ·


New Filing Reveals Sinema Pads Campaign Coffers With More Pharma and Finance Funds

"This is what someone who's bought and paid for looks like."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo