In 1989 I visited DC on a school trip and met our congressman from the St. Louis district, Bill Clay. He had been in office for 21 years, which is not a surprising tenure for a district that has voted Democrat since the end of the Civil War and where local politics are stagnant. He served for 11 more years after that.
In 2004 I met my representative again, this time it was his son Lacy Clay Jr. The Clays held this office for 52 years. They weren’t bad, but neither were they agents for change. In keeping with the spirit of St. Louis, they were comfortable.
So when the Ferguson-forged Cori Bush defeated Clay Jr. in the primary it signals noteworthy change. AOC is not an anomaly, the Justice Democrats are a movement that resonates even in the sleepy Midwest.