Tuesday’s election, the first nationwide day of races since President Donald Trump’s surprise November 2016 victory, was seen by most as a huge win for Democrats. But it was also a big win for the growing movement of American socialists running both inside and outside the Democratic Party.
Democratic Socialists of America, a socialist organization that has absorbed much of the young grassroots energy created by the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign of 2016, saw at least nine of their members and 13 of their endorsed candidates win races all across the country.
From city council seats to positions in the state legislature, Tuesday marked what may have been the single most successful election day for socialism in America since the beginning of the 20th century.
And that’s no accident. After Sanders’ presidential campaign was followed by Trump’s shocking win, socialism — and DSA in particular — has grown in popularity among politically engaged young people.
“We have a chapter in almost every state,” Chris Riddiough, a member of DSA’s National Political Committee, said in an interview. “It’s pretty exciting. It’s much more diverse geographically than it’s ever been before.”
Before the presidential primary season kicked off in 2014, DSA had just 6,000 members and about 30-40 local chapters nationwide. Just after Trump’s inauguration in January 2016, the number of active DSA members had ballooned to 20,000 and has continued to grow at a rapid click.
As of last week, DSA had more than 31,000 members with 145 chapters or committees to form chapters around the country, as well as 57 Young Democratic Socialist (YDSA) groups on high school and college campuses, according to senior DSA officials.
From cities like New York and San Francisco, to rural townships in Idaho and North Dakota, DSA’s influence is growing.
But perhaps even more surprising than the far-flung enthusiasm for socialist politics in rural America is DSA’s ability to…