Three highly-touted liberal House candidates — Jessica Cisneros in Texas, Robert Emmons in Illinois, and Morgan Harper in Ohio — lost their primary races against more moderate members of Congress. They are now playing defense as Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the four members of the “squad,” faces a stiff primary challenge in Michigan. And Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass), who’s managed a late-career makeover into a left-wing darling, with endorsements from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other progressive groups, is consistently outpolled by primary challenger, Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.).
The movement has also had limited influence on the proposals House Democrats have put forward to address the coronavirus, with leadership rejecting its most ambitious ideas.
The abrupt reversal of fortune has prompted introspection among many left-wing activists, who only three months ago were confident that the future of the Democratic Party was theirs.
Interviews with more than 15 left-wing leaders — including grass-roots organizers, down-ballot candidates and former aides to Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — revealed strife over what went wrong and what to do next.