What the GA-6 and KS-4 Special Elections Mean for 2018

On Tuesday, Jon Ossoff narrowly missed the majority of Georgia’s sixth district special election with about 48.1% of the vote. Despite not winning outright, this result for Democrats is still impressive as Tom Price’s opponent in 2016 received just 38% of the vote. The runoff will be held on June 20 against Karen Handel. Despite her winning just 19.8% of the vote, all of the Republicans in total won the majority by 2 points (51-49). Even though the Democrats lost overall, they did a bit better than the polls suggested (47%).

All the way over in Kansas’ 4th district, James Thompson (D) lost to Ron Estes (R) to replace Mike Pompeo, who is now the C.I.A. director. Thompson accomplished an astonishing feat by losing to Estes by only 7 points in a district won by Trump by 27. He not only almost flipped this very red district, but Thompson did it without the support of the Democratic Party. This progressive candidate did, in fact, receive support from Our Revolution and Bernie Sanders, which shows how powerful the Sanders wing of the democratic party can be. While on the other hand, Sanders has been skeptical of whether or not Ossoff is really progressive, which could be another reason why his campaign has not had as much success at flipping Trump voters than Thompson.

After the election was called, Thompson put it perfectly by stating that “Mr. Estes did not beat us. It took a president of the United States, the vice president, the speaker of the House, a senator coming into our state and a bunch of lies to drum up a vote.” I feel that it is really incredible that the Democratic party did not endorse Thompson, and he still was able to compete in a district that liked Trump much more than Georgia-6, where Trump won by only 1 point. People respond very well to a progressive agenda, and if Democrats want to win back the House (flipping 24 seats) in 2018, a democratic socialist agenda must be instituted and supported.

Finally, at the rate of Mr. Thompson, Democrats would easily take control of Congress, but at Ossoff’s, we could be in for a very long ride. This is why I believe it is necessary for Democrats to stand behind the Sanders wing in order to return to our winning ways. If Tom Perez and other Democrats continue to ignore progressive beliefs, Donald Trump and Republicans will stay in control and continue to win.

Overall, Bernie Sanders is the future of the Democratic party despite how much the establishment opposes it, so why not expedite the process by becoming a party for the people, by the people, and with the people.

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