Show an ad over header. AMP

Progressives unify against Democrat leaders who won’t fight for policies like Green New Deal

Progressive Democrats, including two who are Black, are lining up to challenge House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer even before Maryland sets the date for its 2022 primaries.

Why it matters: Recent progressive victories for Reps. Cori Bush in Missouri and Jamaal Bowman in New York, plus the country's changing demographics and post-#MeToo and George Floyd eras, are giving organizers and candidates new hope that the political landscape is changing and rewarding diversity.

  • "After the pandemic, all bets are off," Kelley Jackson, communications director for the progressive PAC Democracy for America, told Axios. "We need Medicare for All. We need a Green New Deal — we saw what happened in Texas."
  • Progressives feel a special urgency to get their policies passed into law, given Democrats control the U.S. House, Senate and White House.
  • That's propelling their unity against those party leaders and members they believe aren't fighting for the policies like activists.

The big picture: Hoyer is just one member of the Democratic old guard who's being targeted early by the left flank, with a renewed focus on race and gender.

Even before the recent allegations of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, progressives were quietly looking to Attorney General Letitia James as a formidable primary challenger.

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is up for reelection in 2022 and faces constant speculation about whether a progressive like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will mount a primary challenge against him.
  • In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam is term-limited from seeking reelection, but his seat is being eyed by Jennifer Carroll Foy, a Black mother of twins and public defender. She said her own experience without health care and growing up poor in rural Virginia has inspired her to run.
  • “When people say identity politics don’t matter, what they’re also saying is that other people’s lived experiences don’t matter,” she told

In Maryland, Colin Byrd, a Black mayor from Greenbelt, announced in December that he planned to challenge Hoyer in the 2022 Democratic primary.

  • Byrd wrote on his fundraising page: "I'm rooted in civil rights activism, progressive activism and progressive politics. I'm about 'Good Trouble.' Steny is about Good Ol' Boys Politics."

Mckayla Wilkes, who unsuccessfully challenged Hoyer last cycle, is also mounting a challenge to the 20-term congressman.

  • "We have the trifecta," Wilkes said of Democrats' control of the White House, Senate and House, "yet we (Democrats) are still fighting for change. To me, that says that any Democrat won’t do, so we need to elect more progressives."
  • Wilkes is a Black woman who's openly bisexual and doesn't shy away from that in her campaigning, she said, even though "our district has never been represented by a Black woman and certainly never by a Black, queer woman."
  • Wilkes told Axios she and Byrd made an agreement "that only one of us will be on the ballot heading into 2022." She declared: "We don't want to split the anti-Hoyer vote."

Reality check: Hoyer is still popular in his district, based on polling and the 64% vote he earned in last year's Democratic primary. Wilkes received 27%.

  • A Hoyer spokesperson said: “Leader Hoyer is focused on delivering a progressive agenda to rebuild the economy and deliver on racial justice. He has strong and deep relationships in the 5th District and will continue to build consensus within our diverse caucus to bring about the bold change the American people have called for.”

Czech Republic expels 18 Russian diplomats over 2014 depot explosion

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbetice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Keep reading... Show less

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two assault rifles believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI said in a statement to news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

Keep reading... Show less

U.S. and China agree to cooperate on climate action, but details remain to be negotiated

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.

Keep reading... Show less

"We couldn't do two things at once": Biden defends not immediately raising refugee cap

President Biden on Saturday sought to explain why he didn't immediately lift the Trump administration's historically low refugee cap.

Driving the news: Several Democrats accused Biden Friday of not fulfilling his pledge to raise the limit after it was announced he'd keep the cap. The White House said later it would be raised by May 15. Biden told reporters Saturday, "We're going to increase the number."

Keep reading... Show less

Children of color in rural areas battle deep health care disparities

Living in the nation's poorest, most rural communities can be a death sentence for African American and Native American children.

Why it matters: Lack of health care and healthy food make Black and indigenous childrenin the nation’s most disadvantaged counties five times as likely to die as children in other areas of the country,the advocacy group Save the Children found after analyzing federal data.

Keep reading... Show less

How telehealth can narrow racial disparities

Data: CDC; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Racial disparities have been a constant problem in maternal health care, from rising death rates to the threat of severe COVID-19 among pregnant women. But now experts are hopeful that telehealth can help narrow those disparities.

Why it matters: It's not a complete solution to the racial barriers women of color face. But some experts are optimistic that telehealth — long-distance health care through videoconferences and other technology — can help reduce those barriers by offering flexibility in appointments and better access to diverse providers.

Keep reading... Show less

Capitol Hill's far right pushes Anglo-Saxon values, European architecture

Multiple far-right House Republicans have begun planning and promoting an America First Caucus aimed at pushing "uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions," Punchbowl News first reported.

The big picture: "The document was being circulated as the GOP is struggling to determine a clear direction as it prepares to try winning back control of the House and Senate in the 2022 elections," AP writes.

Keep reading... Show less

Super Typhoon Surigae rapidly intensifies to a Cat. 5 near Philippines

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 180 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories