The headline from last week’s primaries was the resounding defeat of U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, the first member of the so-called squad of ultraleftist Democrats to fall to a more moderate challenger.

But the welcome results in New York’s 16th Congressional District were far from the only sign that Americans are growing fatigued with candidates on the political fringes. Donald Trump had a bad day at the office as well, with losses suffered by three of the candidates he’d endorsed in key Republican primaries.

They included one of the most high-profile GOP contests of the night, the race to succeed retiring Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who, not coincidentally, is Trump’s most ardent Republican antagonist remaining in office. John Curtis, currently a Utah congressman, easily defeated the Trump-endorsed Trent Staggs, mayor of Salt Lake City suburb Riverton. Curtis believes action is needed on climate change and is a staunch supporter of Ukraine – positions antithetical to those of Trump.

Could the noxious extremist fever that has gripped this nation for years finally be breaking, at least a little?

We’re going to need more days like Tuesday before we conclude that’s what’s happening. After all, Trump still tops the GOP ticket, and his election to a second term would most likely send people scurrying back to their partisan corners. But these results are positive signs nonetheless that more American voters are coming to their senses and electing people who are open to working together to solve our problems.

Voters in New York’s 16th District took a step in that direction by sending the pugilistic Bowman back to private life. Among other misadventures during his two terms on Capitol Hill, Bowman infamously pulled a fire alarm late last year in a House office building, effectively delaying a vote on a funding package that House Democrats wanted more time to review. He was censured by the chamber on a mostly partisan vote (although it should not have been that way) and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, paying a $1,000 fine.


But it was Bowman’s hyperzealous opposition to Israel – which included his outrageous assertion that the sexual assaults of Israeli women during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack and its aftermath were a “lie” and “propaganda” – that did the most to cause voters to recoil. His defeat was more than convincing, by about 16 percentage points.

In characteristic fashion, Bowman in his “concession” speech neglected to congratulate the winner, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, and even said this about unnamed Democrats: “We should be outraged when, unfortunately, some so-called Democrats are aligning themselves with radical, racist, right-wing Republicans.” Please.

Bowman blamed his ignominious defeat on the millions the American Israel Public Affairs Committee contributed on Latimer’s behalf. AIPAC went after Bowman for good reason, but the truth is, he was down double digits in the polls before the pro-Israel lobby spent a dime. Voters in Bowman’s district knew well who their congressman was before any ads ran, and they wanted him out as their representative in Washington. Simple as that.

Back home in Chicago, we’ve seen early signs of moderate voters balking at the extremists who’ve won office. The defeat in March of a referendum backed by Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson to quadruple the tax on sales of property over $1.5 million in order to fund antihomelessness programs was a stark vote of no confidence in progressive management of the city’s affairs.

Like Bowman, Johnson at times has made excuses for his political failures by blaming “right-wing extremists.” Whenever he does so, he conveniently sidesteps the reality that a large number of Democrats are rejecting his policies.

Whatever their political leanings, a majority of Americans, we’re convinced, prize problem-solving and results.

If you don’t believe that, we present to you Exhibit A, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. He’s in his second term as a Democrat in as ruby-red a state as there is. How does he do it? Pragmatism. And empathy. He eschews name-calling and political scapegoating. He responds effectively to crises like weather disasters. He works mostly cooperatively with the large GOP majorities in Kentucky’s Legislature. It’s not rocket science; it’s common sense.

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