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Blue Wave: Progressive Democrats are Defeating Incumbents Across the Country

On June 26th, democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked the country with her defeat of incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic Primary for New York’s 14th congressional district. Crowley, who has been serving New York’s 14th congressional district since 2013, and the 7th district for 14 years before that, was expected to be a shoe-in in the midterm elections earlier this summer.

But a progressive wave has been overtaking traditional democrats, and upsets like these have been happening across the United States this midterm season.

In August, Andrew Gillum overcame four democratic competitors in an upset victory, becoming the first black nominee for governor of Florida. In similar fashion, Ayanna Pressley upset longtime representative Michael Capuano in Massachusetts last week.

“This isn’t my moment,” Gillum tweeted following the elections. “This is our movement.”

 Credit: Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Credit: Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

This year’s midterms have also been successful for many women and minorities, including Stacey Abrams and Ben Jealous, candidates for governor in Georgia and Maryland, respectively.

What progressives like Ocasio-Cortez, Gillum and Pressley have in common is the progressive messages they’ve been proponents of: healthcare for all, transgender rights, environmental protection in the age of climate change and the abolishment of ICE, just to name a few. Democratic voters seem to have tired of the same message and little action from incumbent democrats, many of whom advertise platforms that have dwindled to “resisting Trump” and having experience, but little else.

“You saw what I saw — that these times demanded more from our leaders and our party,” Pressley said. She is now in a position to become the first black female representative of Massachusetts in Congress. Leading up to the election, Capuano led Pressley in the polls by 13 percentage points, according to the Atlantic. On Tuesday, Sept. 4, she shot ahead by 18.

 BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS

BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS

A New York Times report detailed the reasons for the inaccuracies of the polls leading up the the elections: difficulty of gauging results without the distinction party lines provides, polls taken too early in the season, a different demographic of voters turning out for the elections.

The desire of voters to see new faces in Congress and vote for more vocal progressives they feel are capable of fighting the Trump administration has become clear. And maybe having liberal progressives on the ballot in November is what it will take to turn the legislature blue.