Progressives Are Challenging Centrist Democrats Across The Board

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Progressives like Jessica Cisneros are challenging moderate centrist Dems in Texas, and all over the country

Yahoo News - October 21, 2019

"I haven't had a single person disagree with me on the policies, once you start explaining them," Cisneros said, adding that "Medicare for All" resonates in a place where many people go into Mexico for cheaper medical care. The district's poverty rate is nearly double the national average. "

LAREDO, Texas (Reuters) - Jessica Cisneros interned for U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar in 2014, and the congressman later wrote letters to help her get into law school.

Now the 26-year-old immigration lawyer is gunning for her former boss' job, saying his values are out of touch with the sprawling south Texas district he has represented for 15 years.

Cisneros calls Cuellar, an abortion opponent who got an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, "Trump's favorite Democrat."

She is one of a half-dozen progressive candidates around the country who are taking on moderate House Democratic incumbents and are backed by Justice Democrats, the same political action committee that last year helped launch Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's political career.

Ocasio-Cortez, who beat a top Democrat in New York in the 2018 midterm elections, has since become the face of the "Squad," freshman Democrats aiming to move the party farther left on issues such as healthcare and climate change.

Justice Democrats, set up by former activists from Senator Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, have vowed to expand the group's ranks in next year's election.

Cuellar, 64, was their first target. His March 3 primary with Cisneros in Texas' 28th congressional district will be an early test of how far to the left Democratic voters have moved.

"The myth that south Texas is conservative is just that, a myth," Cisneros said in an interview this month in Laredo.

The divide highlighted in the Texas race echoes a similar battle playing out in the Democratic presidential nominating contest, where moderates led by former Vice President Joe Biden tussle with progressives Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders over the vision for the party.

Cisneros, who has won Warren's endorsement, embraces left-wing causes such as "Medicare for All," which would replace the current patchwork healthcare structure with a single-payer system, and the "Green New Deal" that would eliminate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions within a decade. ...
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