White man

Justin Amash

As the 2020 election season starts to take shape, millennial politicians are shaking things up and shaking off old norms. The new generation of leadership that’s coming to Washington doesn’t fit into the political ways of the past, as evidenced by the rise of progressives on the left and the growing popularity of libertarianism on the right.

Hence, the establishment and talking heads are rightfully freaking out over some of the new political voices in town. Democratic representatives such as Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have put new meaning into what Democrats stand for by embracing progressive issues, as opposed to the priorities of the Democratic establishment.

On the other side of the aisle, former Republican representative Justin Amash (I-MI) has spoken out against his old political party so much so that he had to become an Independent. Plus in Central Ohio, we have another millennial trying to break the establishment’s hold, as former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau employee Morgan Harper is taking on sitting Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH) in the 3rd District’s Democratic primary in March.

Each one of these aforementioned politicians brings their own ounce of controversy, but with good reason. While Gabbard was once a darling of the Democratic Party as a decorated veteran of color, she fell out of favor when she resigned from her DNC position to endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016. Now, with her own presidential campaign, Gabbard regularly stirs things up by being firmly anti-war, which apparently offends some liberals more than Republicans!

Plenty of Trump supporters, conservatives and libertarians alike appreciate Gabbard’s anti-war sentiments, while many on the left bash her as an “Assad apologist” due to a meeting she once had with the dictator. Nancy Pelosi once met with Assad as wellin 2007, but alas, that was when the Democrats were apparently anti-war.

In addition to Gabbard, Rep. Omar is another would-be Democratic darling, but similarly also has too many “controversial” opinions about Israel and the occupation of Palestinian that get her in trouble with the political powermongers in Washington. After all, how dare a progressive criticize an overzealous military occupation? That might ruffle some donors’ feathers!

And of course we can’t forget another addition to the new millennial left, the recently elected Rep. Ocasio-Cortez from Queens, who is regularly a target of the establishment on both sides. With her belief in a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, free college and other progressive positions, AOC and her cohorts get attacked on Fox News as often as Gabbard gets it from Hillary Clinton and the warmongers on MSNBC. Yes, there is Democratic change coming and the old guard is getting scared.

Of course, it’s not just the Democrats that are getting a makeover -- for years now, libertarian positions within the Republican party have been growing in popularity. With the rise of Trump, many of these conservatives are starting to find their own voice and one such voice is Amash, who has been very vocal with his criticism of Trump as well as the entire GOP.

Amash is one of the few Republicans, along with Senators like Rand Paul from Kentucky, who continually push back on his fellow conservatives on issues from anti-conservative fiscal stances that have driven up the national debt to their immigration policies that violate basic human rights and the Constitution. He’s in favor of restoring the constitutional powers of Congress and reigning in the National Security Agency (NSA), while also being anti-war and for the impeachment of Trump – which has obviously earned him a slew of critics from the right, both within the party and media.

However, it’s this ability to speak truth to power on either side that Gabbard, Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and Amash all bring to Congress and that’s what’s coming to Washington with the new political generation.

In Central Ohio, we have a chance to turn our Democratic district into a part of the anti-establishment wave as well – Harper, once an employee at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C., is challenging Ohio’s own Democratic establishment pawn, Joyce Beatty. Harper has the support of such national progressive groups as the Justice Democrats and The Young Turks, and is developing a strong ground game to give the Congresswoman a run for her (and the establishment’s!) money. Electing Harper would send a powerful message to the power brokers in both Columbus and Washington, especially since the district is such a “safe” Democratic seat in our increasingly red state.

Either way, the new generation of political leadership is here and it’s different from what we’ve seen in the past. The millennial progressives on the left and the growing liberatrian, anti-Trump movement on the right can (and should!) eventually unite and takeover by speaking truth to power in these trying times.

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