This year’s Republican primaries have been closely watched by pundits sifting for clues about the relative primacy of the GOP’s warring factions. But Democrats have primaries too—and this year, the left is winning many of them.
National liberals point to a handful of recent contested primaries where candidates from the party’s “Elizabeth Warren wing” beat moderate “corporate Democrats” to argue that the left wing is on the rise. It's a similar dynamic to the Tea Party-vs.-establishment divide on the right, though far less divisive, and a trend that has the potential to quietly reshape the Democratic Party if it continues.
In New Jersey, Bonnie Watson Coleman, a former assemblywoman who campaigned on raising taxes on millionaires to spend more on education, had been thought to be in a close race with a moderate state senator, Linda Greenstein. Instead, Coleman won the primary by a double-digit margin.
In Iowa, Pat Murphy, a former state representative, aired TV ads that dubbed him a “bold progressive.” He beat out four opponents, taking 37 percent to his nearest competitor's 24 percent.
Victories like these have led the Progressive Change Campaign Committee to declare vindication for its view that Democrats win when they campaign on a platform of muscular liberalism. “A message of economic populism is what actually excites voters and drives them to the polls,” Adam Green, PCCC’s co-founder, told me. “Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot if they don’t embrace it.”