The Squad: How Did a Bunch of Progressive Politicians Lose Their Radical Edge?

Adebayo Adeniran
3 min readFeb 16, 2024

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Aside from pointless gestures, not much has come from the previously radical bunch. Image via Twitter

For starters, this author would advise anyone who hasn’t seen the Netflix documentary titled Knock Down The House, should take out some time from their busy schedule.

In this seminal documentary, we meet a young, fiercely intelligent and dynamic lady, who worked part time as a bar tender and was sufficiently politically engaged to attract the notice of a fringe movement — Justice Democrats— which was interested in supporting conviction politicians and deposing entrenched players.

And in the run up to the primaries against an established incumbent — Joe Crowley — we saw this gifted individual fielding questions on the Middle-East, economics, immigration and other subjects.

And by the time the actual primaries took place in November 2018, the unexpected happened with Crowley getting defenestrated and the name Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suddenly became known to the world.

But it wasn’t just the young dynamite, who had provided a massive shock to the political establishment.

A former nurse and preacher — Cori Bush — also shook things up in Missouri, when she ousted a ten-term incumbent — William Lacy jr. at the second attempt.

Along with the first Palestinian-American in Congress —Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, these insurgents who upset the apple cart, became known as ‘ The Squad’.

And they quickly made a splash by taking the Republicans to task in Congress and also by opposing every inimical policy which the Trump government was keen on implementing such as the gutting of the Affordable Care Act, the Mexican border wall etc.

Back then, it made absolutely perfect sense.

And when the Democratic presidential primaries began, it was only natural that they would support the only candidate whose policies mirrored theirs — Bernie Sanders.

And when it became clear that the Vermont senator wasn’t going to win the nomination, they threw their backing behind Joe Biden, with guarantees that the old man would implement many of the policies closest to their collective heart, such as debt forgiveness, climate change legislation and reparations.



Adebayo Adeniran

A lifelong bibliophile, who seeks to unleash his energy on as many subjects as possible