Judging from March, the ideological left wing of the Democratic Party in Texas should be inconsolable.
After months of high hopes, the faction ran into a centrist buzz saw in the March 3 primary. Joe Biden practically locked up the Democratic presidential nomination, and progressive candidates experienced electoral drubbings.
Among the fallen: presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, congressional candidate Jessica Cisneros, U.S. Senate hopeful Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, and Audia Jones, a candidate for Harris County District attorney endorsed by Sanders.
But rather than licking their political wounds, leading progressive candidates still in the fight say they’re invigorated — and eager to use the coronavirus pandemic, fights over voting by mail and calls for police reform to score some late victories in the July runoffs.
Candidates embracing the progressive wing of political thought jokingly argue they have the gift of turmoil on their side. Tea Party Republicans, for example, seized on the Great Recession and its aftermath to reshape their party. And despite some fear that Biden locking up the party’s nomination swung the conversation back to the center, progressives believe a global health crisis and the gruesome killings of Black Americans at the hands of police will galvanize the public behind their causes, which include reallocating police funds, Medicare for All, and expanded paid sick and family leave.
“I think we have an opportunity in these runoffs to advance some solidly progressive folks,” said Alex Morgan, the executive director of Progressive Turnout Project.