One of the biggest highlights of last night’s round of primaries in Pennsylvania was the round of victories by Democratic Socialists of America candidates.
In the Pittsburgh area, Representatives-elect Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee defeated incumbents Paul Costa and Dom Costa (who are cousins) in the Democratic primary, and will run unopposed in November. Elizabeth Fiedler and Kristin Seale both won their primaries in the Philadelphia area, with Fiedler running unopposed in November. Seale, for her part, will challenge Rep. Christopher Quinn (R) in the general election. Regardless of the result of Seale’s race, the Pennsylvania legislature will inaugurate three Democratic Socialists in January.
“These wins indicate that a renewed, vibrant left in America is not an aberration, but instead that working people are ready for real change, progressive policies, and a society that works for all of us, not a select few,” The Pittsburgh chapter of Democratic Socialists of America said in a public statement. “Pittsburgh voters will require candidates who stand for economic and social justice, who fight against the injustices of our carceral system, who will ensure that we have clean water and air, who believe in fully funding public education and creating a system that provides healthcare for all, and who will fight for universal reforms for working people.”
According to Philly.com, Fiedler is a former reporter for NPR affiliate WHYY in Philadelphia, and campaigned on Medicare for All — a proposal championed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who identifies as a Democratic Socialist. She won the hotly contested four-way primary in South Philadelphia with approximately 50 percent of the vote. Establishment pick Jonathan Rowan came in second with 37 percent of the vote.
“The campaign shows that a working person can run for office with a people-powered campaign based on strong values and win,” Fiedler stated. “I am so proud of the campaign we ran and the movement we built.”
Another noteworthy fact about last night’s Democratic Socialists who won primaries is that all four of them are women who unseated male incumbents and defeated male candidates.
“This is a huge wake-up call for the Democratic establishment,” The Intercept’s Ryan Grim told Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman.
“And so, that race and the others in Pennsylvania will put to the test in November something that the left has always said… ‘No, actually, put somebody up who’s for a $15 minimum wage, for free college, for Medicare for all, proudly pro-choice, who believes in what she says, and then let voters make a choice between what they have on the ballot.’ Now we get to see that play out in November.”
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.