'Prairie Populism': Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders Campaign for Kansas Democrats

Oops! Dem Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls for Dems to ‘Flip This Seat Red’

"There is no decision about the party leader until we win the House first", Ocasio-Cortez said, answering in the affirmative when Brennan asked if she'd consider endorsing Pelosi for speaker.

Sanders said this year's midterm election is a chance for the state to send a message to Washington.

Two of the most prominent Democratic socialists in the country see an opportunity to exert their influence in an unlikely place: deep-red Kansas.

Sanders won the Kansas Democratic presidential caucus over Clinton with almost twice the number of votes. Like Ocasio-Cortez and Welder, Mr. Thompson was an activist for Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign.

Four incumbent members of the state legislature in Pennsylvania, a state that narrowly voted for Trump in 2016, were defeated this year in primaries by insurgent candidates - all of them, like Osario-Cortez, members of Democratic Socialists of America, a little-known political group that has suddenly grown in membership from 6000 prior to 2016 to over 40,000 this year.

"Even our Democrats around here are not socialist democrats", he said.

At least one GOP consultant indicated Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez's trip to Kansas is indicative of a broader trend in grassroots politics of candidates penetrating nontraditional areas of the electorate to deliver messages of change. "If someone would describe the 3rd District, I would say center-right".

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Liberals have argued that to win some of the more hard races on Democrats' target list, they'll have to drum up support not just from traditional voter bases but new voters who lean more progressive.

But registered Republicans in the 3rd District outnumber their Democratic counterparts by more than 50,000, while unaffiliated voters also edge Democrats. And despite surging energy among leftist Democrats in the Trump era, it was unclear if there were enough votes in the 3rd District for a liberal Democrat to win. And Democrats have seen more than 20-point swings in special elections in some states and districts over the a year ago and a half, including in Kansas' 4th District.

But Sanders remained hopeful about Democrats' prospects in GOP-held states, contingent on their ability mobilize disaffected voters.

Democrat Kara Eastman won the May primary against moderate former Rep. Brad Ashford on messages much like Sanders's in Nebraska's 2nd District, which includes the city of Omaha and its suburbs.

"If you look at my votes and my positions, I've always sided with the best of interests of the people of this district - and this country", Clay said. "There are so many people not involved".

Democrats have been shut out of statewide and congressional races in Kansas since 2010.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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