What will a more diverse US Congress change? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

What will a more diverse US Congress change?

After the midterm elections held on Nov. 6, 64 new Democrats joined the U.S. Congress’ House of Representatives. Among these new members, the most prominent are Ilhan Omar, who is a Somali American; Rashida Tlaib, who is a Palestinian descendant; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has Hispanic origins. Most of the 64 new Democrat members, 36 of whom are women, are representing the new generation politicians who are more concerned with social issues. The renovation and rejuvenation of the Democrat Party is also affecting the mainstream leadership. A more left wing and populist discourse were championed within the Democrat Party by Senator Bernie Sanders. Young members of the Congress, especially Ocasio-Cortez, are following in the footsteps of Sanders.

The political outcomes of the change in the demographic structure of the U.S. in favor of the non-white Americans were seen more clearly with the Nov. 6 elections. The non-white Americans have been the main source Democrat Party’s votes. However, this was not reflected before in their political representation in the U.S. Congress. This is changing now. The non-white population which constitutes almost half the American population is demanding more political representation. Hispanics, Native Americans, and Blacks constitute 21 percent of the new Congress.

The new generation of Democrats is more sensitive to issues such as climate change, the women’s rights movement developed against sexual harassments, fair taxation, individual armament, and immigrants’ rights. Ocasio-Cortez has come to the fore with projects such as the “Green New Deal” and “Health Care for All.” One of the new members African-American Lucy McBath was the most famous figure of the movement that defended the restriction on the individual’s right to bear arms. McBath’s 17-year-old son was murdered by a furious White American with a gun in 2012. From that day on, McBath was on the front lines in the movement against individual armament.

Ocasio-Cortez is also a name that shines out in social media. Cortez is number two on Twitter after Trump. Recently, the fact that Cortez has more followers than the Democrat politicians that are shown as potential candidates for the 2020 Presidential Elections has been occupying the agenda of the U.S. media.

The election of the young Democrats to important committees in the House of Representatives is going to heat up the Congress as well. Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib were elected for the “Financial Services Committee”, while Ilhan Omar was elected for the “Foreign Relations Committee”. These three names are targeted by pro-Israel Republicans, especially Senator Marco Rubio, because these young Democrats are supporting the “Boycott Israel (BDS)” movement. This support is also unsettling the pro-Israel mainstream leadership in the Democrat Party. The American Jews, on the other hand, are divided between the Liberal-Democrats and Republicans. The Pro-Netanyahu wing of the “Israel Lobby” however hates the Jews supporting Democrats.

We have mentioned earlier that among the new generation of Democrats the support given to Israel is gradually decreasing. The is an overcoming fear that the new generation will become more powerful within the party and that their appointment to prominent positions in Congress committees will eventually weaken the “two-party Israel coalition” in Washington. For now, the anti-BDS bills have failed thanks to the opposition of the Democrats. Pro-Israel politicians such as Marco Rubio have started to accuse the Democrat Party of being anti-Israel. There are even some Republicans who claim that Democrat Party has become an “anti-Semitist” party.

It seems that a more diverse U.S. Congress is going to enforce a serious change both in both internal and foreign policies. New generation politicians such as Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are preparing to shape the future of the Democrat Party. The 2020 presidential elections are going to be even harder within the framework of these recent developments. If Trump becomes a candidate once again, the Republicans are going to compete against more powerful rival candidates.


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