NEW YORK, NY – According to a report by Politico, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) – who is up for reelection next year – may be embracing numerous and increasingly left-wing policies now that he has control of the Senate in-part to hold off a potential primary challenge by more progressive members of his party.
Reportedly, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is privately mulling over a possible run for Schumer’s seat in 2022, and is basing her decision partly on how Schumer handles his new role as Senate Majority Leader. Schumer recently took over the role in the wake of the 2020 election, when Democrats took back the Senate 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking Democratic vote.
Schumer, who earlier in his political career was closer to being a centrist – he once presented himself as a “law-and-order Democrat” when running against incumbent Al D’Amato in 1998 – has in recent years been favoring causes embraced more by those on the left side of the Democratic party. Politico says the reason is partly to help fend off challenges from progressives who have been actively trying to oust the old guard – who they feel have been dropping the ball – from their current posts within the party
Ocasio-Cortez herself is an example of this; in the 2018 midterm election primaries, she defeated Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley – a 10-term incumbent – in what was widely seen as the biggest upset victory in years.
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To help protect his own seat, Schumer has reportedly reached out to progressive members of his party to discuss numerous policies that they consider to be important, including climate change, democracy reform, and addressing economic and racial inequality.
“It’s exciting to see how much action Schumer is currently taking,” Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez’s former chief of staff, told Politico. “And I hope that progressives continue pressuring him, threatening a potential primary.”