This week's primaries in several key races and a recall of San Francisco, California's liberal District Attorney Chesa Boudin are erasing any chance progressives may have to make gains in the election cycle.
"The far left was talking a big game at the start of this cycle, but reality has intruded," Matt Bennett, co-founder of a top centrist think tank Third Way, told The Hill on Wednesday. "Democratic voters keep saying over and over that they do not want what the far left is selling. Deep-blue San Francisco has sent that message twice this year in recall elections. Voters in Minneapolis said the same, as did Democrats in New York City."
Boudin, seen as a hero by progressives for his policies on cash bail and police reforms, lost his battle against recall during California primary elections Tuesday.
Following the vote Tuesday, Boudin told The Washington Post the recall campaign "exploited an environment in which people are appropriately upset" due to the rising crime, drug, and homelessness, problems in the city.
"They were given an opportunity to voice their frustration and their outrage, and they took that opportunity," he said.
Days before in Texas, anti-abortion Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, defeated progressive activist Jessica Cisneros by less than 300 votes in that party's Congressional run-off in the 28th District.
Despite his stance on abortion, which is diametrically opposed to the Democrat platform, Cuellar received the endorsement of national party leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., in May, NPR reported at the time.
The Hill also reported the campaign suspension of progressive Rana Abdelhamid, backed by the Justice Democrats, in her House race in New York.
In Los Angeles, former Republican-turned-Democrat billionaire Rick Caruso showed strongly in that city's mayoral race primary and will face Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., who has a strong progressive reputation in Congress, in the general election this November, The Hill reported.
Kevin Liao, a political operative with the Democrat consultancy Bryson Gillette, told The Hill the results of that race might depend on what support Bass gets from the left.
"Do the big national Democratic figures and groups come out in support of Bass? Do you get [Sens.] Bernie [Sanders] and Elizabeth Warren endorsements and visits," he said. "That nationalization of the race will only grow as we get closer to November."
Pundits quoted in the report seemed to agree the current state of the nation, and the state of various Democrat run localities are making progressive political gains hard.
"If they can't sell their vision to primary voters in the Bay Area or the Bronx, it's pretty tough for them to argue that their approach will work in a general election in suburban Richmond," Bennett said.
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