Nationwide, the Democratic Socialists of America has grown exponentially since Donald Trump’s election.
By Daniel Marans
Summer Lee, a candidate with the backing of the Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America, won the Democratic nomination fo
Summer Lee, a candidate with the backing of the Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America, won the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania House District 34.
Four Pennsylvania state House candidates backed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) won their Democratic primaries, marking another milestone in the radical left’s march into electoral politics.
The wins by the four candidates ― all women unseating men ― were the product of a variety of political forces and groups. But in a country where “socialist” remains an epithet in certain quarters, the growing electoral success of a once-marginal socialist organization is an especially notable political development.
According to Arielle Cohen, co-chair of Pittsburgh DSA, it reflects a revival of the socialist-leaning economic left in the wake of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential bid.
“It feels like a monumental shift,” Cohen said. “We won on popular demands that were deemed impossible. We won on health care for all; we won on free education.”
“We’re turning the state the right shade of red tonight,” she added.
Pittsburgh DSA campaigned heavily for two Democrats: Summer Lee, an African-American attorney and labor organizer running in Pennsylvania House District 34, and Sara Innamorato, a founder of the women’s advocacy group She Runs Southwestern PA running in Pennsylvania House District 21.
Lee and Innamorato, who are dues-paying members of DSA, defeated veteran Pittsburgh-area state representatives ― and cousins ― Paul Costa and Dom Costa, respectively. Both women lack a Republican opponent in the general election (though Innamorato’s opponent, Dom Costa, solicited Republican write-in votes as a last-ditch attempt at survival in the primary).
On the other side of the state, Philly DSA worked hard to elect Democrats Elizabeth Fiedler, running in the 184th House District, and Kristin Seale, running in the 168th District. Fiedler, a former public radio reporter, defeated Jonathan Rowan and lacks a Republican opponent in the general election. Seale, an executive at an energy conservation nonprofit, is due to challenge incumbent Rep. Christopher Quinn.