After the midterms, Congress will have more socialists than ever—while progressive policies won across the country. The Left will have to use its power to take on the anti-democratic GOP.

by Kristian Hernandez, In These Times

The midterm election results grant an opening for the Left. Rather than ushering in a widely-predicted ​red wave,” Republicans fared much more poorly than parties out of power generally perform in midterms, with Democrats retaining their majority in the U.S. Senate and control of the House coming down to a razor-thin margin.

The GOP and the party’s right-wing backers unsuccessfully tried to scare voters by warning of a coming socialist threat, but the truth is that socialists organized to protect U.S. democracy, defend human rights and win elected office across the country. Along with a growing left electoral infrastructure, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), where I serve on the National Political Committee, seized this moment to reject the Right’s reactionary agenda.

A DSA member wears a red DSA jacket

In the House, the entire Squad was re-elected, which includes DSA members and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.). They will be joined next year by democratic socialists Greg Casar, who won his House election in Texas, as well as Summer Lee, who won in Pennsylvania. As a result, the next Congress will include more socialists than at any point in U.S. history. Nationwide, hundreds of DSA members will hold public office next year, including in 14 state caucuses (where more than one DSA member serves in the legislature). Socialists also helped pass key ballot measures preserving abortion protections and expanding workers’ rights.

Despite these progressive successes, Republicans should be expected to regroup — and we can’t count on Democrats to stop them. After all, the Democratic establishment worked to defeat progressives in primaries by lifting up centrists, and when left candidates won, the party often didn’t invest in them during the general election against the GOP. For example, Democratic leadership stood by as the pro-Israel group AIPAC spent $2 million against Summer Lee in her campaign against a more moderate Democrat and then AIPAC went on to spend an additional $1 million supporting her Republican opponent in the general, illustrating the danger of not challenging deep-pocketed interests with support from the party.

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