Cheering multiple primary wins this week for progressive candidates up and down state ballots, Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.) rallied supporters Wednesday to keep up the fight to actually win the visionary demands driving those electoral victories.
"If we are serious about creating transformative change in this country — and if we're serious about taking on the powerful special interests that want to protect the status quo — we need to elect more great candidates at the grassroots level," Sanders said in a mid-day email to supporters.
All across this country, from coast to coast, people are standing up and fighting back — not only against Trump, but for an agenda that works for the working families of this country.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 5, 2020
Tuesday night's biggest upset was in Missouri, where Ferguson organizer and activist Cori Bush defeated 10-term incumbent Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) in her second bid for the seat in the state's 1st Congressional District.
After launching an unsuccessful bid for Clay's seat in 2018, Bush nabbed Sanders' endorsement for this cycle's run, as well as the continued backing of progressive organizations including Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, both of which were founded by former staffers on Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign.
"Don't let anyone fool you," Sanders tweeted Wednesday. "The truth is, despite the opposition of powerful special interests, we are transforming American politics. The political revolution is gaining more and more support."
Another left-wing Democratic primary win surprises the incumbent but not activists.— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 5, 2020
Cori Bush beat Rep. William Lacy Clay in Missouri, another victory boosted by relatively new PACs and activist groups. https://t.co/1LEqeXLBLp
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Missouri voters also approved a Medicaid expansion initiative, making the state the 39th in the country to enact such a measure, and the sixth to do it via citizen ballot initiative following Republican-led legislative opposition to the idea.
"If mainstream Democrats think that running on a progressive agenda in a red state is problematic, I think the popularity of the Medicaid expansion, that single issue, is significant," Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of Our Revolution told The Hill Wednesday.
Voters in the midwest also helped one-term incumbent progressive Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who also had the backing of Sanders and progressive groups, to a decisive victory Tuesday in Michigan's 13th District.
In what he called "incredible victories in our movement and for a more progressive America," Sanders also tweeted in celebration of the wins of candidates vying for state-level seats in Michigan: Kim Gardner, running for St. Louis circuit attorney, and two statehouse candidates, Abraham Aiyash, running in the 4th District, and Yousef Rabhi, in the 53rd District.
To put the series of victories in the context of what comes next for the movement, Sanders will host a "Progressives on the move" virtual town hall Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. EST with Bush, Tlaib and Jamaal Bowman, the former school principal who ousted long-time incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) in New York's 16th District in June.