The Progressives Who Don’t Hate Trump

Even Bernie Sanders has said not-unkind things about the president.

I was at a friend’s daughter’s confirmation party in eastern Long Island, N.Y. The family Volvo and the Tesla bore Bernie Sanders stickers, one from 2016 and the other from 2020. “The thing about Trump . . .” I began, and the father interrupted me: “. . . he’s not all bad, right?” he said. “I actually like some of the things he’s doing.” He mentioned North Korea and trade protectionism. He cast his eyes about, worried about being overheard.

My friend didn’t vote for Donald Trump and doesn’t intend to in 2020. But he doesn’t despise the president nearly as much as he—being a leftie—is supposed to. I hear that from a lot of my fellow progressives.

.. Centrists who supported Hillary Clinton go crazy when Mr. Trump tweets. His gleefully crass style drives them bonkers. His contempt for identity politics appalls them. Many progressives, on the other hand, are primarily motivated by economic and class justice.

.. That isn’t to say that the Bernie Sanders people approve of family separation or pretending that police brutality isn’t real. But left populists are not entirely unsympathetic to economic nationalism or stronger border controls. For them, American workers come first, and Donald Trump is the first (far less than perfect) president in most people’s lifetimes to walk that talk.

.. And the senator observed last year that Mr. Trump has “very strong political instincts” and knows how to “connect with people.”

.. party leaders will have to face an uncomfortable truth. For a lot of lefties, Trump hatred won’t be enough to get them to vote. They just aren’t that not into him.

.. If Democrats want a united front against the Republican, they’ll have to acknowledge that Mr. Trump has re-created the Reagan Democrat phenomenon among the white working class and its allies. They’ll have to do something to keep the populist left inside the tent.

.. Mr. Trump isn’t the president progressives would have chosen, but his appropriation of policies previously championed only by Mr. Sanders may prove to be a neat trick. He may neutralize enough of the Democrats’ left flank that he won’t be despised enough, by enough of the Democratic electorate, to bring about a wave election.

An Upset in the Making: Why Joe Crowley Never Saw Defeat Coming

He led his upstart rival, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, by 36 percentage points.

It was the last poll Mr. Crowley’s campaign would conduct.

Despite his many reputed strengths — his financial might as one of the top fund-raisers in Congress, his supposed stranglehold on Queens politics as the party boss, his seeming deep roots in an area he had represented for decades — Mr. Crowley was unable to prevent his stunning and thorough defeat on Tuesday night.

.. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez bested Mr. Crowley by 15 percentage points, delivering a victory expected to make her, at 28, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

.. in a redrawn and diversifying 14th Congressional District where the incumbent, despite two decades in Congress, had never run in a competitive primary.

.. She flipped the levers of power he was supposed to have — his status as a local party boss and his money — against him, using that as ammunition in an insurgent bid that cut down a possible successor to Nancy Pelosi and the No. 4 Democrat in the House.

.. It was demographics and generational change, insider versus outsider, traditional tactics versus modern-age digital organizing.

.. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a socialist

.. “It’s a wake-up for everybody,” said Michael Blake, a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee

.. charismatic younger challenger whose politics and profile — a woman with Puerto Rican roots — matched a diverse Queens and Bronx district, where 49 percent of residents are Hispanic and fewer than one in five are white.

.. “A lot of people of color were excited about a young woman of color,” Mr. Blake said. “People say demographics are destiny and you can’t ignore that reality when looking at the numbers there.”

.. A former organizer for Bernie Sanders

.. carrying Mr. Crowley’s home borough of Queens by a larger margin than she won the Bronx.

.. She drew support for her progressive platform that included abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, Medicare for all and a federal jobs guarantee

.. “Her strongest support came from areas that were not predominantly Hispanic,”

.. He was remarkably little known back home, despite his many years in office, and his favorability rating was also low, according to people familiar with the findings.

.. Mr. Crowley’s family lives in the Washington area — a fact Ms. Ocasio-Cortez used as a cudgel.

.. By early June, the Crowley campaign was already on high alert. He had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on mailers and voter outreach, but Mr. Crowley remained mired in the low 50s in the head-to-head matchup

.. His bank account showed $1 million for the race’s final sprint. But Federal Election Commission records reveal that nearly two-thirds of those funds were earmarked for the general election. He couldn’t spend it on the primary.

.. Mr. Crowley’s blitz of activity and mail — one official involved in his campaign said some voters received more than a dozen pieces of literature — had rebounded to her benefit.

.. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez released a two-minute biographical video that went viral, the latest instance of this “girl from the Bronx,” as she called herself, catching fire on social media.

Her video, and a competing three-minute clip that Mr. Crowley released days before the election, told the story of the race.

.. She rode subway trains in hers. He drove a car in his.

.. pitched himself as an ally.

.. She pitched herself as a member of the community itself.

.. His video had fewer than 90,000 views on Twitter by Primary Day. Hers had more than 500,000.

.. “We had people running this like a 1998 City Council race and not a 2018 congressional primary,”

.. They saw heavier turnout in some more gentrified pockets of the district — Sanders-type strongholds. Her social media presence was swamping them.

.. warned the Queens County Democratic leaders, including Mr. Crowley himself, that the district was shifting beneath them, ideologically and racially.