EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
In March 2005, not long after George W. Bush’s reelection, I wrote in The Nation that “it can be difficult, in these times, to maintain a sense of hope—as corruption, war, lies and injustices large and small loom all around, and outrage about the Right’s assault on our democracy threatens to overwhelm us.” At the time, I felt it was important to celebrate even small moments of triumph, so I started a recurring feature to lift up positive stories that I hoped would inspire progressives. I called it “Sweet Victories.”
A lot has changed since then. But in the first two years of the Trump era, I have often felt similarly downbeat. And in this time of turbocharged news cycles rife with ugly, sensational, and brutal stories, I again feel the need, as I did then, “to remember that millions of us are organizing, agitating, mobilizing—and that there are many hard-fought victories to celebrate.”
Led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an exciting crop of new progressive voices has emerged from the midterm primaries. Last week, Ilhan Omar, a Somali American former refugee, resoundingly won a crowded Democratic contest in Minnesota. Omar is now expected to join Rashida Tlaib, who prevailed in a competitive Michigan primary this month, as the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress. Insurgent candidate Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, also won her primary in Connecticut and now appears set to become the first black woman from New England to serve in the House. And in Vermont, Christine Hallquist’s overwhelming victory made her the first openly transgender candidate in the United States to win either major party’s nomination for governor. These women are running as trailblazers, but just as importantly, they are also running—and winning—with bold, progressive ideas, such as tuition-free college and Medicare for all.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.