REPORT: Why Rashida Tlaib “Could well lose her August 4 primary”

According to a new Newsweek report by Steve Friess, “squad” member Rashida Tlaib “could well lose her August 4th primary.”

Friess explains that Tlaib is the most vulnerable “squad” member and that her vulnerability “is not exactly a shock given how she barely eked into Congress in the first place.”

A recent AP report came to the same conclusion that Tlaib is the most vulnerable squad member.

Friess writes:

Tlaib, a Democratic Socialist and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, could well lose her August 4 primary.

In her upcoming rematch with Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, Tlaib faces a well-known party insider who already beat her in a special election once and came within a few hundred votes of keeping her out of Congress in 2018. Their district, Michigan’s 13th, is 55 percent Black and traditionally more socially conservative than the coalitions of white liberals and young minority voters who elected fellow Squad members AOC, Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, or the electorate that handed allies their June primary wins. It’s also notable, in a period of ascension for the Black Lives Matter movement, that Jones is Black.

“When you only have four members, losing one is a blow,” says Sean McElwee, co-founder of the nonprofit think tank Data For Progress. “It’s not something that can’t be overcome, but it’s not good.”

That Tlaib is vulnerable is not exactly a shock given how she barely eked into Congress in the first place.

The other Squadders took office following resounding primary victories in overwhelmingly Democratic districts. In Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez’s cases, famously, that also meant taking out entrenched incumbents in twin shocks to the electoral system.

Tlaib, by contrast, garnered just 31.2 percent in her 2018 primary to Jones’s 30.2 percent to win the Democratic nomination, which is tantamount to winning the seat in their district. Another 24.5 percent of the vote went to three other Black candidates including former State Senator Ian Conyers, grandnephew of the late Representative John Conyers who had held the seat in contention since 1965; an additional 14.1 percent of the vote went to a moderate suburban mayor who is white.

Moreover, Tlaib actually lost an election to Jones that same day. After Conyers resigned the seat amid a sexual harassment scandal in December 2017, then-Governor Rick Snyder scheduled a special primary election to complete the congressional term on the same ballot as the regularly scheduled Democratic primary for the next full term. In that second race, Jones edged out Tlaib by 2 percentage points in a four-person field, then served in Congress for five weeks until Tlaib was sworn in the following January.

This summer, it’s just Tlaib vs. Jones, who has served on the city council for 14 years and been its president for six. The prize is the honor of representing a district gerrymandered to boost Black representation in Congress with its large chunk of Detroit plus a few working-poor suburbs to which many African-Americans born in Detroit have moved over the past three decades as the city’s population shrank. (Despite the Detroit region’s large Muslim population, Tlaib’s district encompasses little of the territory where the majority of the area’s Muslims live.)