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Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal

U.S. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), joined by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), speaks at a news conference on banning stock trades for members of Congress, on Capitol Hill, April 07, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

What Are Democrats Afraid of? It's Time to Put Some of Their Younger, Progressive Members in Charge

We have some amazing younger members in the House and Senate—but why are they not in the leadership?

Nancy Braus

The ink is not yet dry regarding the 2022 midterm elections, but my great fear is that the Democrats will learn nothing. They will believe that the tepid results against the party of lies, hate, and fascism is due to their wonderful performance under Joe Biden. And that the policies that brought out the youth vote, the numerical difference between the red wave and the actual vote, are those of the Democratic establishment.

Well, some of us say not so fast.

It is about time that the Democratic leadership made some space for up and comers.

While I am one of the minority of elders who identifies as a lifetime left activist, I speak with enough young voters to know that the disaster that passes for climate policy has the youth of America terrified for their future. I spoke in front of some local school groups about climate in a push to get a great, youth oriented April 2022 Earth Day in my community. Young people of all ages—very much including older elementary kids—have a lot to say about the future of our planet. And the youth of America is not feeling the love for the current policies.

I have been reading repeated commentaries by Republicans—and even some Democrats—that they had no idea that the Supreme Court's decision forcing thousands of women to give birth to unwanted children, babies who have no chance of survival outside the womb, fetuses that have died inside the mother, and forcing raped children to give birth would continue to reverberate months after the court stole that right from women. After six years of the media featuring the clueless Trump cult, who will change their opinions on a dime, and who seem to believe any nonsense their leader spews, it is possible that these pundits forgot that there are actually some intelligent, principled people who will not sit idly while the rights of women are eviscerated. Young women and their concerned partners and friends understand that if they tolerate losing one basic right in the area of reproductive choice, it will be birth control next. And then their right to marry who they choose. And then what?

I am 68 years old. I doubt I am old enough to qualify for the leadership in the Democratic Party. The statistics are crystal clear: the Republicans seem to corner the market on middle aged and elderly voters. It is about time that the Democratic leadership made some space for up and comers. Young people are organizing unions, they are organizing against the gun industry, they are creating amazing ways to combat the climate crisis, fighting tirelessly to save the rights of women, and demanding racial justice. We have some amazing younger members in the House and Senate—but why are they not in the leadership? I would love to see Cory Bush, Jamie Raskin, Jamaal Bowman, and so many more energetic, intelligent, and compassionate younger leaders given a chance to be the public face of the party.

Are the Democrats afraid of alienating the donor class? After the Citizens United decision, the race for huge and ever growing amounts of cash for elections has mushroomed. The Democratic Party has the perpetual problem of serving two masters: Silicon valley billionaires and other corporate with immense wealth, and the youth, people of color, and working people who need a functional government, such as it is. Everyone except the super rich relies on government health care, infrastructure, education loans, and so much more. Voting to avoid total chaos that the Republicans promised is not so much an endorsement of the Democrats as a fear of the alternative.

The midterms of 2022 will go down in history as a clear "no" to the insanity of Trumpism. Millions and millions of Americans have had enough of the egomaniacal Trump, his mutant close advisors: Rudy Giuliani, Roger Stone, Steven Miller, and so many more hate fueled, racist, anti-semitic, swamp creatures. Americans have had more than enough of the constant threat to override our voices in an attempt to demolish the democratic system of one person, one vote. Millions said no to a return of Jim Crow voting laws, to the lies and threats, to the blatant theft of the rights of women and LGBTQ people.

The truth here is that the Republicans are such a complete horror show that the Democrats should have won by a landslide.

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

Nancy Braus

Nancy Braus is the co-owner and buyer for Everyone's Books in Brattleboro, Vermont. She has been an environmental and peace activist for decades, as well as a volunteer for Bernie Sanders and other progressive candidates.

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