Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Attorney and activist Mondaire Jones (L) and former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman are poised represent their New York districts in the U.S. House after winning thir primary races on Tuesday. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) easily won her primary and is expected to win reelection in November. (Photo: Mondaire for Congress / Stephanie Keith/Getty Images / Bowman for Congress)

'Bowman Wins. Mondaire Wins. AOC Absolutely Crushes It': Progressive Wave Sweeps NY Primary

"There is no question about the direction of the Democratic Party."

Julia Conley

Two years after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stunned the Democratic establishment with her primary win over longtime Rep. Joe Crowley, the grassroots progressive movement has spread to surrounding congressional districts in New York—including in wealthy Westchester County, where Mondaire Jones won the Democratic primary in the 17th congressional district Tuesday night. 

Jones won nearly 45% of the vote in the eight-candidate race to replace Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who is retiring. The attorney and activist will face Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman in the general election in a district which has not been represented by the GOP since 1983. 

Running on a platform including Medicare for All, which he put forth as one of the obvious solutions to help address the coronavirus pandemic in recent months, noting that tens of millions of Americans lost their employer-based health coverage amid the resulting unemployment crisis. He also pledged to fight for tuition-free public college, student debt relief, and the Green New Deal.

"I've said from the beginning of this race that policy is personal," said Jones in his victory speech. "I have talked about big structural changes.... Sometimes an idea is so powerful that it becomes an unstoppable force: a movement."

Writer Nick Rafter noted that Jones's victory in a district where the median yearly income is nearly $100,000 may surprise those who have claimed progressive victories like Ocasio-Cortez's are only likely in urban and lower-income areas.

"These districts are the type of wealthy white suburbs [progressives] believe wouldn't be open to their ideas," tweeted Rafter.

Others agreed that the district which handed a victory to Jones, who grew up in the 17th district in Section 8 housing, was significant.

Just south of the 17th district, in The Bronx and lower Westchester, former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman won against 16-term Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) with a platform focusing partially on redirecting military spending to fund schools. healthcare, and social services. Bowman specifically attacked Engel's vote in favor of the Iraq War and his support for possible strikes on Iran. 

Both Bowman and Jones have advocated for adding seats to the U.S. Supreme Court to better represent working people and the common good. Their victories, advocacy group Demand Justice said, should be taken as a clear signal to the Democratic Party that voters are eager to be represented by outspoken progressives.

"Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones are part of a new generation of progressive leaders who understand that we need to fight back aggressively against Donald Trump's assault on our democracy," said Brian Fallon, executive director of the group, in a statement. "It is time for more Democrats in the House and Senate to hear this message from the grassroots and get behind this urgent proposal."

Ocasio-Cortez easily defeated Wall Street-backed challenger Michelle Caruso-Cabrera in the 14th congressional district and tweeted that progressive victories across the densely-populated New York City area demonstrate that the rise of the progressive movement in the state "isn't an accident."

"It's a mandate," she wrote.

At the state level, Democratic Socialists of America-backed candidate Jabari Brisport won the primary for New York's 25th state Senate district and incumbent progressive Yuh-Line Niou defeated challenger Grace Lee, who was backed by real estate interests, in the 65th state Assembly district—which includes New York City's Financial District and Wall Street. 

"Bowman wins. Mondaire wins. AOC absolutely crushes it," journalist David Atkins tweeted. "There is no question about the direction of the Democratic Party. The voters are proudly progressive." 


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

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

At Least 14 Children, 1 Teacher Killed by Gunman at Texas Elementary School

"How many more loved ones must die before the Senate acts on common sense gun law reform?"

Brett Wilkins ·


Two Years After George Floyd Murder, Biden to Issue Executive Order on Police Reform

"The entire culture and mentality needs to change to bring these words to life, and to save lives," said one civil liberties advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'Wholesale Fraud' in Michigan Governor Race Could Disqualify GOP Candidates

"It looks like the Republican clown car may be losing a few occupants."

Jessica Corbett ·


Atwood Releases Fire-Proof Copy of 'Handmaid's Tale' to Combat GOP Book-Banning

"To see her classic novel about the dangers of oppression reborn in this innovative, unburnable edition is a timely reminder of what's at stake in the battle against censorship."

Julia Conley ·


Map Shows Over 17 Million People in US Threatened by Toxic Fossil Fuel Pollution

"Living in close proximity to oil and gas development is a threat to public health."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo