In a crowded primary, Leckey finished fifth in her first foray into national politics
Rabat – Moroccan-born politician Ihssane Leckey ended in fifth place after a promising bid to replace Joseph Kennedy III in the US congress. Leckey, a former Wall Street regulator, ran on a platform of progressive politics and gained the support of Somali-American Ilhan Omar.
“I came to our beautiful country from Meknes, Morocco with nothing but a little suitcase containing summer clothes,” Leckey wrote in her statement after losing the congressional race. Leckey came to the US when she was 20 and worked as a regulator for the Federal Reserve before running for congress.
As an immigrant in the US, Ihssane Leckey soon learned about the stark inequality between the ultra-rich and everyone else in the US. “As I stared down at shiny shoes stomping the ground in lower Manhattan, my eyes couldn’t escape homeless folks at the feet of the biggest buildings,” she recalled.
“The immigrant experience was a flawed narrative created by the super wealthy to keep not only immigrants, but millions of working people across our country under the boot” she wrote. “I vowed to fight for the most vulnerable, to abolish poverty, and end the unnecessary suffering of our people once and for all.”
Leckey worked several minimum wage jobs to support her education and earned a scholarship to Boston University to become the first in her family to earn a college degree.
Ihssane Leckey faced a difficult race from the start. Her politics, although popular among young Americans, face structural opposition from both the Democratic and Republican establishments. The Democratic party has departed from left-wing economics since the presidency of Bill Clinton and now actively fights Democratic candidates that the party’s ultra wealthy donors dislike.
The democratic party is funded by large banks, oil companies and pharmaceuticals and see progressive candidates like Leckey as a threat to their fundraising. The presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, who supports similar policies as Leckey, was undermined by the Democratic establishment and vilified in the media. This paved the way for the candidacy of Joe Biden, a more palatable and friendlier face for the party’s establishment and its donor class.
Ihssane Leckey faced similar institutional barriers to success. Opposed by rich donors and big business, candidates like Leckey often struggle in Democratic primaries. But now that she’s shot her first star in America’s political sky and made herself a small spot in national debates, the Moroccan-born is likely to return to politics in coming races.