Our Revolution, the political organization that emerged in the aftermath of Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, endorsed James Thompson and Rob Quist, the Democratic candidates in the upcoming special elections in Kansas and Montana.
This will be an early test on whether the movement Bernie Sanders inspired in 2016 will turn out to elect other candidates in elections where he is not on the ballot. President Obama found out in 2010, 2014 and 2016 that it wasn’t a sure thing to turn out his supporters during elections when he wasn’t a candidate. Quist supported Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary, and Thompson said he was inspired to run for office by Sanders. Sanders won both states in the 2016 Democratic primaries. If Quist or Thompson can win these seats in red states, Sanders would probably become an even bigger kingmaker in Democratic politics, especially if he is getting political and ideological allies elected to Congress. Wins or narrow losses in these races would also hit the brakes on any fears of #DemExit becoming anything more serious than a social media hashtag, because progressives would show signs of being committed to staying within (and, perhaps in the long term, taking over) the Democratic Party.
Our Revolution has not endorsed candidates in the Georgia, South Carolina, or California special elections presumably because all three races are in the middle of ongoing primaries. Quist and Thompson have already locked up their respective parties’ nominations. The Kansas general election is the first special election of the year, scheduled for April 11. The Montana general election is set for May 25.