In the few short weeks she has represented Minnesota’s fifth district in the U.S. Congress, Democrat IIhan Omar has become a controversial figure. She smeared Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) over baseless accusations, garnered national recognition for wearing a hijab in Congress, and has already been placed in a leadership position on the Foreign Affairs Committee.
This inexperienced congresswoman has created a stir despite accomplishing little so far, and her win demonstrates the epitome of identity politics. A close look at her election and subsequent quick rise to fame exemplifies the cautions that accompany such a mistake. . .
Omar, 36, became an overnight sensation in Minnesota when she became the first Somali-American to serve in the state legislature. After one term, the fellow Muslim set her sights on former Rep. Keith Ellison’s congressional seat. The fifth district is in urban Minneapolis, where Somali-Americans number in the tens of thousands.
Ellison, himself renowned for long ties with anti-Semitism, has been somewhat of a mentor for Omar. Asking voters to replace him with her meant little practical political change in the district. Ellison won nearly 69 percent of votes cast during his 2016 race. In 2018, Omar won about 78 percent of votes, although in Ellison’s race there was an Independent and in Omar’s race there was not.
At a candidate forum in August, Omar was asked to clarify her position on the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, sanctions movement. She said, “I believe right now with the BDS movement, it’s not helpful in getting that two-state solution.” After she was elected, however, Omar said she did support BDS. (Read more from “IIhan Omar’s Rise Demonstrates What’s So Twisted About Identity Politics” HERE)