"If we reelect the same Democratic Party that we had going into this mess, then we're going to have the same exact result.
"Driven by the conviction that the Democratic Party must undergo a fundamental transformation if it is to vanquish both the immediate threats posed by President Donald Trump and deep-seated societal ills that were present long before Trump arrived on the scene, progressive insurgents throughout the country are working to unseat Democratic incumbents in the 2018 midterms and push the party left.
"What this is about is that if we reelect the same Democratic Party that we had going into this mess, then we're going to have the same exact result," Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign who is taking on Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), said in an interview with Politico. "In order for the country to move forward, the Democratic Party has to transform."
Ocasio-Cortez is just one of many progressives running against the status quo enforced by their state's Democratic machine, which—as The Intercept detailed in a recent report—often works to constrict policy boundaries and tilt the balance of power toward the donor class.
Fueled by small-dollar contributions—which in some cases have been enough to outraise incumbents who rely on corporate cash—grassroots candidates across the nation are working to break through these boundaries by running on ambitious progressive platforms in 2018 that include Medicare for All, tuition-free college, criminal justice reform, and a $15 federal minimum wage.
By Politico's count, "six veteran incumbents already face energetic primary challenges from younger candidates in New York and Massachusetts. In Illinois, two Chicago-based members are being targeted from the left."