4 Reasons The Political Establishment Is Scared Of Rep. Ilhan Omar And The Squad
Donald Trump is scared of four young freshmen congresswomen who were voted into office in the 2018 midterm elections. He’s not alone.
Now known empoweringly as the Squad, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich have championed progressive policy proposals. They are popular not only among liberal Democrats but a cross-section of the American public, The Guardian reported.
On Sunday, Trump rallied his base and infuriated most of the rest of the U.S. when he told The Squad to “go back” to their “broken and crime infested” countries. All four lawmakers are U.S. citizens, and three were born in the U.S. Omar came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia after spending four years in a Kenyan refugee camp.
The Squad have championed the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, student debt cancellation, abolishing ICE and the Department of Homeland Security and increasing the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent.
Trump knows he is unpopular. He fired three of his five internal pollsters in June because of their unfavorable projections, essentially killing the messengers.
He fumed over Omar’s welcome-home party on Thursday night when 100 fans carrying signs met her at baggage claim at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Omar has likened her resolution affirming the right to boycott Israel to boycotts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. High-profile Democrats are speaking out against the controversial resolution even as they rally behind her and the rest of The Squad attacked by Trump.
Trump hasn’t liked Tlaib at least since she told supporters, “we’re going to impeach the motherf****er” shortly after being sworn into Congress.
All four Squad members recently voted against an immigration bill that gives billions of dollars to Border Patrol and ICE.
This is scary for both the Democratic and GOP status quo. The Squad’s agenda is sometimes at odds with the leaders of their own party. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently butted heads with Squad members and said in a closed meeting that Democrats should stop tweeting their grievances about fellow party members.
1. The Squad represents a new model of campaign finance and independence
In February, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing about H.R. 1., also known as For the People Act of 2019, which would reform a corrupt campaign finance system, establish automatic voter registration nationwide and make Election Day a federal holiday.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez exposed the problems in the campaign finance status quo in just five minutes at the hearing with a style and line of questioning that went viral.
“To take a kind of esoteric issue, and executive branch ethics and campaign finance reform, and to bring that to life for people, and then it becomes this viral moment was really incredible,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of the grassroots organization Common Cause, and an expert witness at the H.R. 1 hearing.
2. They can engage younger voters in their own language
The Squad members have won fans with their fiery tweets and their calls to impeach Trump. They’re speaking to the concerns Americans have about democracy and the way the current system is failing people, communities, and families. They’re doing it on social media with storytelling and connecting with people’s values.
“They represent what America looks like today far better than the pale, greying gerontocracy that rules the country,” The Guardian reported. “At 45, Pressley is the oldest member of the Squad; Nancy Pelosi, for comparison, is 79 and Trump, 73.”
The four progressive women have become the young faces of the Democratic Party.
3. They are women who aren’t afraid to talk systemic white supremacy
Tlaib and Omar both said they have received threats. The FBI has seen a significant increase in white supremacist domestic terrorism, but there isn’t a domestic terrorism statute to fully combat threats made by white supremacists and allow for their arrests, CNN reported.
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After Fox News host Tucker Carlson launched a xenophobic tirade accusing Rep. Omar of showing “undisguised contempt for the United States and for its people” by criticizing the nation’s systemic injustices, Omar mocked Carlson as a “racist fool” and said he will “just have to get used to calling me congresswoman.”
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has accused Trump of turning the GOP into a racist party through his support of white supremacism.
“This is what racism looks like,” Pressley tweeted after Trump said the freshman Democrats should go back to the countries “from which they came.”
“You are stoking white nationalism because you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda,” Rep. Omar tweeted.
4. They won’t bow to AIPAC
In February, Rep. Omar was busted for tweeting Diddy’s lyrics, “All About the Benjamins,” in reference to the political influence of AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. This organization of U.S. citizens works to strengthen, protect and promote the U.S.-Israel relationship.
“AIPAC, as its own staff boasts, exists to use money to exert control over politicians — you know, like a lobbying organization,” Jonah ben Avraham reported for Truthout. Omar was condemned by every major Jewish press outlet and dozens of members of Congress from both parties.
“All of this is sadly to be expected,” ben Avraham continued. “It’s what happens when Black and Brown activists talk about Palestine.”
Omar apologized. Trump has called for her resignation.