In a story that appears to be about political trends, but may actually be about the perils of parachute journalism, the Washington Post focuses on Michigan to write about the limits of the Democrats’ “liberal insurgency.”
The emphatic, 20-point loss of upstart Abdul El-Sayed to Gretchen Whitmer in Tuesday’s primary was not unexpected by in-state observers, who knew the race was likely a lock for Whitmer. The real betting was really only over how Abdul El-Sayed and Shri Thanedar would collect the rest.
But El-Sayed had a great deal of flattering pre-election publicity from journalists at national news outlets, capped by endorsements from Sen. Bernie Sanders and newbie darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, leading some outside the state to think he could pull off an upset. Ocasio-Cortez stunned observers by defeanting long-time incumbent U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley in a Democratic Congressional primary in New York in June.
David Weigel of the Post writes:
The party’s centrists, who had bemoaned Crowley’s defeat, saw Tuesday night as a turning point. Whitmer, who ran on her record of expanding Medicaid in Michigan — and a memorable promise to “fix the damn roads” — will now lead an all-female ticket in a swing state that Hillary Clinton narrowly lost.
…But even as she intervened against establishment Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez placed her agenda squarely inside the party’s. After campaign stops with El-Sayed, when the candidate said he would support whoever won the primary, Ocasio-Cortez nodded along. She talked less about the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an issue elevated by her campaign but still seen as risky for swing-district Democrats.
The left-flank uprising has been a good story to come out of the Democrats’ recovery from their 2016 humiliation. But it hit a wall here.