US politics: Cori Bush’s message from the grassroots


JVL Introduction

Joshua Leifer, writing in Jewish Currents, looks at the challenge to the American Democratic Party establishment as social-movement activist Cori Bush humbles sitting Congress member (and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus) William Lacy Clay.

It appears, says Bush, that voters in strongly Democratic districts want not just reps who are “progressives by pressure”, but movement leaders representing them in Congress.

Resisting antisemitism smears during the campaign, Bush looks set to join Rashida Tlaib (who also won her primary) and Ilhan Omar in the small but growing contingent of left-wing internationalists and BDS supporters in the US

This article was originally published by Jewish Currents on Wed 5 Aug 2020. Read the original here.

Cori Bush’s Message From the Grassroots

CORI BUSH, a Black Lives Matter organizer, defeated ten-term incumbent Rep. William Lacy Clay last night in the Missouri First District’s Democratic congressional primary. It is a significant upset, marking the end of a St. Louis political dynasty: Clay had held his seat since 2001, succeeding his father, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, who held the same seat from 1969 until 2000. With Bush all but certain to win the deep-blue district’s general election in November, she is poised to become the first Black woman to represent the state of Missouri in Congress, where she will join a growing cohort of progressive legislators who in recent years have dispatched Democratic establishment veterans to win their seats.

Bush’s victory is another sign that, against the backdrop of the manifold crises facing the US, Democratic voters are looking for candidates who can speak authentically about their connections to social movements, and who can credibly claim to be leaders on matters of racial and economic justice. Like 44-year-old middle school principal Jamaal Bowman, who defeated 16-term-incumbent Eliot Engel in June, Bush ran on a platform that combined the urgent demands of the Black Lives Matter movement with what have become social-democratic policy staples: a $15 dollar minimum wage, Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and large-scale debt forgiveness. Both candidates were supported by Justice Democrats, the organization that recruited Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to run against Joe Crowley in 2018. Bush first ran a primary challenge against Lacy two years ago, and lost by 20 percentage points; this time, she won by more than three.

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Comments (7)

  • Shaun Pye says:

    Amidst all the dreadful news emanating from the US these days we have some good news in the inroads that Justice Democrats are making into the political life of the US. One factor that enables such progress is the fact that sitting members don’t get a free run. They have to participate in a contest for the nomination. We are in a different position in the UK. Sitting Labour MPs, whilst not guaranteed a free run, are very likely to get one. It would be interesting to see what would happen in the UK if the Labour Party introduced “primaries” for candidates in General Elections.

  • There is a lesson in Cori Bush’s victory and it is that when attacked for support for BDS or opposition to Zionism people, instead of backing down, should defend their positions and go onto the attack.

    This was the single major catastrophic reason for Corbyn’s defeat. If only, instead of conceding to the attacks on him and trying to appease the unappeasable, he had gone on the attack and called into question the bona fides of the Board of Deputies things might have been different

  • Les Hartop says:

    Bush for President ! Bring it on !

    Good example of the amazing effect of simply arguing your case.

  • Stephen Williams says:

    Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as VP, pro-incarceration and pro-Israel, doesn’t bode well for the future.

  • Linda Watson says:

    Great news from the US. Good luck to Cori Bush and all the other activists. Good to see someone giving a strong retort to accusations about antisemitism.

  • Patrick Black says:

    Very positive ..Solidarity.. Great Victory for Hope !

  • Tony says:

    The third successful primary challenge this year against only one in 2018.

Comments are now closed.