Another series of primary elections, another outcome of zero Republicans running -- let alone winning -- on Trump's 2016 campaign themes of populism and anti-globalism. In case there was still any doubt, the GOP is not realigning one millimeter. At best you'll get a few candidates who promise to crack down on immigration -- same ol', same ol'.
With absolutely no progress on The Wall -- no construction, no plan, no funding, no support, despite total GOP control over government -- immigration has now taken the place of abortion for Republicans. Some candidates will promise to do something about it, single-issue voters will turn out on their behalf, nothing whatsoever gets done in office, if anything it gets even worse, and the voters alleviate their cognitive dissonance by saying "next time" forever. They'll start building the wall right after they overturn Roe v. Wade.
On the opposition side, there are now going to be not one but two members of the Democratic Socialists of America in Congress, after Rashida Tlaib won her safe Dem district in Detroit. Like her fellow DSA Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she will be taking the place of a supposedly safe Democrat Establishment icon -- John Conyers, the longest continuously serving member of the House before he got booted by Me Too last December. Younger would-be members of his dynasty were shut out from taking over his seat.
Ilhan Omar, from another safe Dem seat in Minneapolis, will not be a net gain since she's replacing Keith Ellison, one of only 10 Congressmen who endorsed Bernie back in the 2016 primary. But it still shows that the Bernie wing is not losing members from government, and is only adding to them.
She's described as Somali, but is half, and also half-Yemeni -- and not from one of the jihadist factions there, given her opposition to the Saudis' war in Yemen and our military's role in it. Identity-obsessed hacks on both sides will underscore her being Somali, refugee, Muslim, etc., but it's clear that Minnesotans voted for her based on populism and anti-globalism.
See this list of her positions on foreign policy and trade policy, and tell me how different it is from what Trump ran on -- and periodically reiterates, even if no one else in the GOP government will deliver what he wants. Trump nearly won Minnesota by convincing people that he was not a real Republican, and would pursue policies that their Representatives like Keith Ellison or Ilhan Omar could totally get on board with. But after allowing himself to be captured by the GOP Establishment, he's lost most of the unorthodox appeal he used to have.
With Paul Ryan retiring, a realigning GOP would vote for anyone other than Paul Ryan's aide as his replacement. But since realignments are never carried out by the dominant party of a historical period, it falls to the Dems to put someone more populist in Ryan's place. Randy Bryce won the Dem primary on a platform of Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and other Bernie-style policies. This district is not a safe blue one, but is at least up for grabs with the incumbent Ryan retiring, and leaving his butt boy to fill his empty suit.
So far, it looks like the Bernie revolution is going to do best in the Snow Belt and worse in the Sun Belt, as they had little to show in California, Hawaii (Tulsi Gabbard remains, but Kaniela Ing lost big), Missouri (right-to-work rejected by referendum, but Cori Bush lost her primary), and Kansas (James Thompson won his primary, but the district is deep red and he offered no way for Republicans to switch sides).
It's not racial differences, since Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar are all women of color who ran in districts with large minority populations. It looked that way during the 2016 primary, where Bernie won big with whites but got destroyed by blacks and Hispanics at the individual level, and from there to the state level. Now it looks more like a split between the left-behind Snow Belt and the boomtown Sun Belt -- mirroring Trump's appeal to "the forgotten man and forgotten woman".
Even Ocasio-Cortez's district, seemingly in a prosperous metro like New York, is filled with downwardly mobile transplants who thought they were going to get a nice job and live in Manhattan, then revised their expectations down to Williamsburg, then to Astoria, then to wherever else next. Not to mention the victims of gentrification in this district. No one there feels higher and higher expectations over time, whether they're would-be elites or would-be working class kings.
As we head into our Second Civil War, the old battle line between North and South is rearing its ugly head again. Disturbingly, that may apply all the way out West this time, with California resisting both the Bernie realignment and the GOP at the same time, struggling in vain to stay neutral before an obvious civil conflict, while the Pacific Northwest goes along with changing climate. But that's a historical analogy that'll have to wait for another post to explore.