Commentary: Could Ilhan Omar’s days in politics be numbered?

She is still not "listening and learning" but doubling down on being obtuse and unlikable.

Ilhan Omar speaks at a 2016 rally for Hillary Clinton. (Laurie Shaull/Flickr)

With much of the media focused on the Mar-a-Lago raid, legislation in Washington, D.C., and other campaigns around the country, many overlooked one of the biggest surprises that almost happened in the Twin Cities this week: Rep. Ilhan Omar nearly lost her primary election, prevailing by fewer than 2,500 votes over former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels.

Because her district is very left-wing, she will probably prevail over Cicely Davis in November, but word may be out that the radical can be beaten in a future primary, perhaps as soon as 2024.

Omar’s venomous brand of anti-Semitism no longer plays well in the most heavily Jewish district in Minnesota; her anti-police bigotry does not suit a high crime district that voted last year not to defund the police; and her far left-wing politics do not align with most of her constituency.

“How she continues to win is a mystery and conundrum. She is so radical and what she espouses is horrible for America and its allies,” Fifth District resident Dan Becker told Alpha News. “It was encouraging that Samuels did perform way better than her prior opponent, and that it was so close. Hopefully, it was close because he actually recognizes that people in this congressional district are not happy with the rising crime, including violent crime.”

Amid low turnout and voter distrust of her policies and noxious personality, Omar amassed only 50.3% of the overall vote. Tellingly, she also received 55,000 fewer votes than two years ago.

This was reportedly the closest a Minnesota DFL U.S. representative has come to losing a primary in the party’s 78-year history, according to the Star Tribune. Omar defeated challenger Antone Melton-Meaux by around 20 points last time and bested several opponents by similar numbers in 2018.

“It shows that people are dissatisfied with her performance,” Samuels told the Star Tribune. “Even with all the advantages of incumbency and endorsement and recognition and the odds, all of that, that she still could lose an election because people are so dissatisfied.”

Samuels leading the opposition to last year’s ballot question about abolishing the Minneapolis Police Department likely buoyed the septuagenarian.

Omar loudly supported replacing the MPD but Minneapolis voters — especially poor and minorities  — rejected the absurd proposal. Three of the Gopher State’s leading Democrats — U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, and Gov. Tim Walz — opposed the measure that could have replaced the MPD with a new public safety agency.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who along with several Fifth District mayors supported Samuels, condemned Omar earlier this week, saying in part, “it’s not just about sending out vitriolic tweets and being mean-spirited. It’s about working with people.”

When Omar saw her support drop in cities and towns across her district, she refused to reflect; she predictably played the victim. Her statement bashed Republicans, non-socialist Democrats, and so-called special interest groups.

“Pundits and news agencies have tried to smear us and undermine our work” was the theme.

I’d say that drivel means she is still not “listening and learning” but doubling down on being obtuse and unlikable.

 

A.J. Kaufman
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A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.