Zafir Zafirov | Student Writer
8 April 2020 was, to put it mildly, a crushing day not only for the American Left but for all leftists across the globe. It was the day that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont suspended his presidential campaign, putting an end to a dream that many have had since 2016: seeing Sanders as the next president of the United States. A man so bold in his lifelong fight for a progressive agenda for America, who was even accused of being “an existential threat” to his party because of his policies and ambition to transform his country for the better.
The fact that it was Sanders’ second defeat, as he also lost back in 2016 by Hillary Clinton, now only made matters more devastating for leftists. It was another major defeat for the Left on the global political scale, with the establishment gaining yet another victory. Perhaps the only leftist victory in the defeat was the surge of left-wing candidates confidently winning several important primaries in the Democratic field. These victories were not only important electorally speaking, they were the beacon of hope and inspiration that the Left so desperately needed in the past months.
Already established progressive champions, such as AOC, Rashida Tlaib, Pramila Jayapal and Ilhan Omar, all managed to secure wins in their respective districts, meaning that it is almost certain that they would serve another term in Congress. Needless to say, that is good news for the Left, as those women will continue their fight for social and economic justice for the American people.
As impressive as those victories were, however, the best news for the Left came when results of other primaries, of lesser-known candidates, started to come in. One of the first surprises to many was the victory of a middle school principal, Jamaal Bowman, who not only beat an incumbent corporate Democrat, but also ran on a very left-wing platform, prioritising crucial policies such as Medicare for All, Green New Deal, and progressive foreign policy.
After that, it almost felt like the left wave could not be stopped for the election cycle. Environmental activist Paula Swearengin, another advocate for Medicare for All and $15 federal minimum wage, won her West Virginia primary, and now holds good chance to become a Senator in November.
Not only that, New York’s 17th district saw just 33-year-old attorney, Mondaire Jones, winning in a crowded field, and almost certainly, since his district is thoroughly Democratic, becoming yet another freshman progressive fighter to join the US House. His victory was also incredibly important to the left movement, as it can be seen from his platform that his main priorities in Congress will be to fight for Labour rights, social justice and a single-payer healthcare system.
Lastly, just less than a month ago, Cori Bush, a nurse from Missouri, secured what was considered as one of the most impressive wins in the current election cycle. Bush, who is also standing for universal healthcare, free university tuition and criminal justice reform, won against Rep. Lacy Clay, a prominent figure in the Democratic Party.
What is most inspiring in all of these major victories, however, is the fact that all of the candidates stand for issues largely supported by the American population. Especially now, in this time of crises, the progressive agenda is starting to become more appealing to many people, and for a good reason. It is an agenda for social and economic change, one that will take the power from Wall Street and give it back to Main Street.
And while the fight for a better world is never a single run, but a marathon, one thing is becoming clear: The Left is the carrier of this agenda.