Joe Kennedy loses Massachusetts primary

Alyssa Endres, Contributing Writer

On Tuesday, Sept. 1, it was announced that the incumbent Massachusetts U.S. Senator Edward Markey defeated U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III in the Democratic Primary. The outcome of the primary surprised many, who were used to seeing members of the Kennedy family win a Massachusetts election. The Kennedy family has been a presence in politics and the Democratic Party for years, and the results of this primary mark the very first time that a member of the Kennedy family has lost a race for Congress in the primarily Democratic state of Massachusetts. 

Although Kennedy relied heavily on the status and history of his family to appeal to voters, Markey ultimately won them over with his support of liberal ideals that he promised to endorse through legislation. He also earned the support of New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal, as well as fellow Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. According to many, these endorsements assisted Markey with fundraising campaigns and portraying himself as a true progressive, ultimately pushing him over the edge with voters. 

Still, this loss has been surprising to many people, especially those who identify as loyal Democrats. It was presumed that Kennedy, 39, would be a candidate who possessed more progressive and current values than Markey, 74. Contrary to popular belief, however, Markey did not run on any establishment views. By aligning himself with liberal ideals, he was successfully able to appeal to voters, especially those who appreciated his humble background as a son of a working-class citizen. 

In his acceptance speech, Markey said, “Tonight is more than just a celebration of a movement, it is a reaffirmation of the need to have a progressive movement of young people demanding radical change.” The outcome of the election, however, did worry some Democrats who think more time should be focused on collecting money to defeat U.S. President Donald Trump in the upcoming November election.

Kennedy’s loss symbolizes a potential gateway and opportunity for future candidates who are not already linked to politics. For many, Markey’s win represents working-class citizens being able to have a seat at the political table instead of positions just being passed down to family members due to their reputation and lineage. It is also highlighting the success of more progressive agendas in the Democratic Party.

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