Chicago is on the verge of having as many as five members of the Democratic Socialists of America on the city council.
Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa won his reelection bid last Tuesday and upstart democratic socialist Daniel La Spata upset incumbent Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno to take Chicago’s 1st Ward.
Three more DSA candidates also forced run-offs against incumbent aldermen in Chicago.
“The oligarchs are shaking in their boots tonight,” Ramirez-Rosa, who defeated challenger Amanda Yu Dieterich in Chicago's 35th, said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Our continued organizing and movement-building over the last four years is paying dividends. And it appears to be a total transformation of political power at City Hall from the bottom up.”
Byron Sigcho-Lopez, meanwhile, is vying for the seat vacated by retiring Ald. Danny Solis in the city’s 25th Ward; Andre Vasquez, who joined the DSA back in June, will compete against incumbent Ald. Pat O’Connor for control of the 40th Ward; and Rosanna Rodríguez-Sánchez will be in April’s runoff against incumbent Ald. Deb Mell of the 33rd Ward.
“This progressive insurgency is absolutely historic,” Rodriguez-Sánchez campaign volunteer Rachel Johnson told the Sun-Times. “We are poised to have three or four new socialists on the City Council and will be positioned to have a socialist [caucus] on the City Council. I’m absolutely elated.”
Even having two aldermen who are members of the DSA would mark the most socialists that Chicago has had on its city council since the 1910s, when numerous aldermen belonged to Eugene V. Debs’ Socialist Party.
Despite the gains the democratic socialists hope to make in Chicago, they will be far from the majority in the city council. The Chicago City Council has 50 aldermen. Nearly all are Democrats, with only one Republican and one independent currently serving.
Still, the organization’s success in Chicago highlights the gains the DSA has made in the last few years, especially among younger voters. Aside from the impact of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential run in 2016, DSA members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., were elected to the U.S. House last year.