Seattle shows the power and limits of Jayapal’s progressives

Seattle (AP) — When US Congressman Pramirajayapal returns to Seattle, Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairman always goes for a walk along Puget Sound.

“In DC, everything can feel like it’s closed, so when I get home, I like to put myself in that size,” she represents in a recent interview with The Associated Press. He said when he returned to the city.

Jayapal’s rituals regained calm when her career was rapidly promoted to the top tier of US politics, demonstrating the progressive street credit she had accumulated in Seattle and the political sensibilities she exercised at the Capitol. I am.

Aseem Prakash, a professor of political science at the University of Washington, said: You can’t press any more. “

The 56-year-old Jayapal’s trajectory began as a teenage immigrant from India, earning an MBA and becoming an investment banker. Then a new career path began from community organization to elected positions at the state and parliamentary levels. She founded One America and has grown into Washington’s largest immigration advocacy group for over a decade.

“I’m not afraid of numbers. I know how to discuss my claim. I’m used to working in a room full of people who don’t look like me,” Jayapal said. .. “I always tell people … remember that experiences you don’t like are as important as experiences you like.”

As the first Indian-American woman in the U.S. House of Representatives to be elected in 2016, she helped California Rep. Barbara Lee and feminist icon Gloria Steinem navigate public office. He said he was grateful.

She also leads other colored women in politics, from up-and-coming stars like Seattle City Council member Teresa Mosqueda to prominent parliamentary colleagues in the so-called six-member squad. ..

When asked about rumors about Jayapal’s leadership among the six members of the progressive Caucus who voted against the Biden administration’s $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill, Jayapal had bad feelings. I denied that.

“People always want to try to divide. They are always more interested in who is fighting who,” Jayapal said. “The squad is a great part of the progressive Caucus, and in reality there is no division.”

While Jayapal is pushing the political agenda for the more liberal wings of the Democratic Party, the work to support the latest election results and the Biden administration’s agenda highlights the challenge of pushing her caucuses and policies to the mainstream. I have to.

This is support for the current $ 1.85 trillion larger proposal to fund the new climate and family support initiative, while the 95-member progressive House Caucus withholds Biden’s infrastructure bill. It was an expression of the power to demand.

Caucus initially claimed to vote for the two proposals together or not at all, but Jayapal eventually followed the disappointing election night for Democrats and progressives on infrastructure. It softened the request to help pass the bill.

“We need to pay attention to changes in the situation,” says Jayapal. “It felt like the right move, because if you keep holding it, you may feel that you can actually lose leverage.”

Mr Jayapal said he agreed to the first vote after successfully negotiating the framework of the latter proposal.

Prakash said such political tactics leave questions about the power of sustainable progressives, especially in the Republican House of Commons takeover, which is widely expected from next year’s midterm elections. rice field.

“How short-sighted are the demonstrations of influence considered when the Republicans are setting the agenda? They have shown their influence, but have weakened the president,” Prakash said. Said. “I was embarrassed.”

Returning to Seattle, progressives are still upset by the mayor and city council races. In particular, Jayapal’s approved mayoral candidate was badly defeated by fellow Liberal Democratic Party. Mayor’s progressive candidate Lorena Gonzalez lost by double digits to moderate, centrist, and even sometimes referred to as the “more conservative” candidate Bruce Harrell in nonpartisan city elections. That was a shock.

It also marked a third mayoral election in which voters rejected more left-wing candidates. This casts doubt on the reach of current progressive political brands.

Where can they win if they can’t win big in a famous liberal city like Seattle?

Former Republican Chairman Chris Vance of Washington has become an independent voter who has worked with Jayapal on local issues, and Jayapal is skilled and diligent, “very aggressive but completely beyond the limits. I’m not, “he said. Progressive idealism.

“Even in Washington, socialism is not a fascinating political term,” Vance said. “Really, really far left-even Seattle doesn’t think it has a political future.”

On the other hand, Mr. Jayapal said that voters are at the local level, as the outcome of local elections is highly dependent on the campaign of individual candidates, for example, the seats of other Seattle City Councils are still firmly dominated by progressives. He said it was not uncommon to want a balance. ..

And in this left-handed city, there is a view that every inch is important in terms of how much you have left.

“Bruce Harrell will be progressive in most respects. It’s not as progressive as Lorena, but more progressive than most Democrats in the country,” Jayapal said.

Philadelphia City Council member Helen Jim co-chairs a national network of local progressives in an office called Local Progress, and candidates can agree or disagree with any election cycle, regardless of idealism. Said.

But Jim cites the once polarized problem from same-sex marriage and legalizes marijuana to a minimum wage of $ 15 and paid family vacation, and the agenda of the progressive movement has been steadily on the agenda for the last two decades. Declared advanced and is now all generally accepted by many of the masses.

“There is no doubt that the problems are mainstream. What is happening now is that the candidates, who are primarily leaders, definers and invokers of these problems, are working on ways to win bigger. I think it is, “said Jim. “This is an ever-evolving movement.”