All 'Squad' members win re-election to US Congress

Progressive congresswomen of colour including Muslim have made national names for themselves since 2018

By: News Desk      Published: 02:35 PM, 4 Nov, 2020
All 'Squad' members win re-election to US Congress

All four members of the progressive “squad” of Democratic congresswomen have handily won re-election, reported The Guardian on Wednesday.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan will return to their seats in the US Congress. The four women of colour, who championed ambitious climate action, healthcare for all Americans and other progressive causes while enduring frequent racism and derision from Donald Trump, will no longer be newcomers to Capitol Hill.

“Our sisterhood is resilient,” Ilhan Omar tweeted.

“Serving New York-14 and fighting for working-class families in Congress has been the greatest honour, privilege and responsibility of my life,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Thank you to the Bronx and Queens for re-electing me to the House despite the millions spent against us, and trusting me to represent you once more.”

Ocasio-Cortez had been expected to easily win re-election, but like other congressional Democrats was watching hopes that the party would expand their majority wane. After Republicans flipped two House seats in Miami-Dade county – where a majority of the voters are Latino – she lamented that Democrats and Joe Biden had not done more to galvanize Latino voters.

“Tonight’s results … are evolving and ongoing,” the New Yorker wrote, “but I will say we’ve been sounding the alarm about Democratic vulnerabilities with Latinos for a long, long time. There is a strategy and a path, but the necessary effort simply hasn’t been put in.

“We have work to do.”

In a message to supporters, Pressley said: “Together, we have fought for our shared humanity. We have organized. We have mobilized. We have legislated our values. I am so proud to be your congresswoman and your partner in the work. I believe in the power of us. And we’re just getting started.”

Rashida Tlaib, who with Omar was one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress two years ago, tweeted congratulations to Pressley. “The Squad is big,” she said.

Trump has frequently vilified all four congresswomen, and in the lead up to election day lobbed frequent xenophobic attacks at Omar – accusing her at a recent rally of telling “us” – his overwhelmingly white audience – “how to run our country”. Omar came to the US at the age of 12, after fleeing civil war in Somalia. When she was first elected in 2018, she became the first woman of colour to represent Minnesota in Congress.

The president has also often singled out Ocasio-Cortez as a radical, socialist voice in the Democratic party. Although her seat in New York’s Bronx and Queens was never competitive, she raised more than $17 million for her re-election campaign. Her challenger, Republican John Cummings, raised about $9.5 million – and a group called the “Stop AOC Pac” spent more than half a million dollars on ads opposing the congresswoman.

Other progressive representatives who have won re-election include Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin. And the progressives Jamaal Bowman of New York and Cori Bush of Missouri are headed to Congress for the first time, after winning their respective elections.