In the wake of 2016, progressive groups argued that candidates should unapologetically run on economic populist policies like Medicare for All and debt-free college in red and purple districts across the country.
On Tuesday night — in Midwestern states like Nebraska, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Kansas — that strategy didn’t work.
Progressive stars who had emerged throughout the primary season like Kara Eastman, Randy Bryce, Jess King, and James Thompson all lost their elections.
Since Hillary Clinton’s defeat, establishment Democrats and progressive grassroots organizations have battled over the best ideological direction for the party. Progressives became more bullish throughout the primary season as they bested establishment candidates, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shocking victory over Rep. Joe Crowley. And in safer districts like Ocasio-Cortez’s, progressives have a new class of stars, like Rashida Tlaib in Michigan.