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Progressive ‘Squad’ Faces Unprecedented Challenge from Powerful Lobbying Group



AIPAC gears up for a political showdown, targeting progressive "Squad" members in the 2024 elections, despite potential risks to its reputation. (GV Wire Composite/David Rodriguez)
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The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a powerful lobbying group in Washington, is gearing up for a significant political showdown in the 2024 election cycle. The group is targeting the “Squad,” a group of progressive legislators of color, most of whom are women, with the aim of unseating them. The Squad, known for their vocal criticism of Israel’s retaliatory assault on Gaza, has been pushing for a cease-fire resolution in Congress.

AIPAC’s move is seen as a bold statement that no one is immune from their influence, regardless of their popularity or incumbency. The Squad, which has grown from four members in 2018 to seven in 2022, is known for advocating progressive causes such as Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, police reform, and student debt relief. They reject big-money backing, relying instead on grassroots support and small-dollar fundraising.

AIPAC, which has a history of clashing with progressives, became the largest single-issue outside spender in Democratic primaries in the 2022 midterms, investing nearly $30 million. This figure is expected to triple in the 2024 elections. The lobbying group has already begun recruiting primary opponents for Squad members and making expensive ad buys against them.

Despite the potential risks, House Democratic leadership has remained silent on the issue. Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who received more money from the Israel lobby in 2022 than any other group, has not discouraged the primarying of these progressive Democratic incumbents.

The upcoming year will also pose challenges for AIPAC. Unseating an incumbent is a difficult task, and the Squad members are popular in their districts. Previous attempts to unseat members like Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have failed. If AIPAC’s efforts are unsuccessful, its reputation in Washington could be significantly damaged.

Read more at Slate.

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