In state after state, the left is proving to be the animating force in Democratic primaries, producing a surge of candidates who are forcefully driving the party toward a more liberal orientation on nearly every issue.
These candidates are running on an agenda that moves the party beyond its recent comfort zone and toward single-payer health care, stricter gun control, a $15 minimum wage, more expansive LGBT rights and greater protections for immigrants.
In the surest sign of the reoriented issue landscape, they’re joined by some of the most prominent prospects in the 2020 Democratic presidential field—Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris among them—who are embracing the same agenda.
According to data compiled by the Brookings Institution’s Primaries Project, the number of self-identified, nonincumbent progressive candidates in Texas spiked compared with the previous two election years. This year, there were nearly four times as many progressive candidates as in 2016. Meanwhile, the number of moderate and establishment candidates remained flat for the past three elections in Texas.
Even in Illinois, where the Democratic Party holds most of the levers of power, the data tell a similar story: There were more progressive candidates this year, the Primaries Project reports, than moderate and establishment candidates, by a count of 25 to 21.