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NBC News: ‘The Squad’ Could Face Primary Challengers

NBC News published an article [1] analyzing the political landscape facing “The Squad”: four politically progressive Democratic Party female lawmakers could face primary challengers even after a single term in Congress. The article, entitled, “Allies of ‘the squad’ brace for potential primary challenges,” noted how a labor union made an early endorsement to try to protect these lawmakers: New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known by the nickname “AOC,” Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Massachusetts congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, and Michigan congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.

The Working Families Party, a labor-union backed organization, did not endorse Ocasio-Cortez in her election campaign, but did so this week. NBC News said the party was “pledging to back them in intra-party fights or try to dissuade challengers before they materialize.”

According to the article, at least three of the four members of the media darlings could face primary challengers: Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib. The other member, Pressley, is “seen as safer, since she was always more established [2] in her district, having served for years on the Boston City Council and working inside the party.”

Since their swearing-in, the mainstream media has heralded and highlighted “The Squad,” with magazine cover photos and praise for the incoming congresswomen. But NBC News admitted in this article that they are facing repercussions for their actions as freshmen congresswomen. The article said these congresswomen “have sparred with Speaker Nancy Pelosi” in addition to controversial comments. Referring to Omar, a Somali refugee-turned-congresswoman, NBC News wrote that she “made herself particularly controversial with statements some view as anti-Semitic, leading some local Democratic leaders and Jewish groups to look for alternatives [3], though there are no obvious would-be challengers waiting in the wings.” Regarding Tlaib, NBC News only said that “her own contentious comments on Israel” offended local Jewish groups and could spur a primary challenge.

The article illustrated the more intense political pressure and public scrutiny that comes with public office, and one’s actions and comments do carry weight. It also highlighted how the media built up and praised these new lawmakers, only to see their actions leaving them exposed for a primary challenger.