Thinking Citizen Blog — Who is Rashida Tlaib? Who cares? Who should?

Thinking Citizen Blog — Sunday is Political Process, Campaign Strategy, and Candidate Selection Day

Today’s Topic: Who is Rashida Tlaib? Who cares? Who should?

Three weeks ago Governor Ron DeSantis. Two weeks ago, US Representative Ilhan Omar. Last week, US Senator Tim Scott. This series is my attempt to learn more about names in the news about whom I know little. The plan is to continue the pattern of alternating Republicans and Democrats week to week. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate. Rashida Tlaib is perhaps best known as one of “The Squad” — the quartet of left-wing-Democratic — women-of-color elected to the US Congress in 2018. (The term was coined by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in an Instagram post.) Tlaib is “the first woman of Palestinian descent in Congress, the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan legislature, and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.” She is a member of the “Democratic Socialists of America,” (DSA) the largest socialist organization in the United States. The DSA is descended from the Socialist Party of America (SPA) whose most prominent historical figures were Eugene V. Debs, Norman Thomas, and Michael Harrington. The DSA now has 85,000 members, 181 chapters, and a rapidly declining median age — 66 years in 2013, 33 years by the end of 2017. Other current members include: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and the 2020 additions to the “Squad” — Cori Bush (US Representative from St. Louis, Missouri) and the only male member, Jamaal Bowman (US Representative from north Bronx, Yonkers, New Rochelle). Tlaib is a harsh critic of the Israeli government and supports ending US aid to Israel. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

BIOGRAPHICAL BACKGROUND — parents and siblings, education, early career

1. Born in Detroit. Parents were both working class Palestinian immigrants. The eldest of 14 children, she helped bring up her siblings while her parents were at work.
2. In 1998, she graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in political science. In 2004, she received her law degree from Western Michigan State in 2004 and passed the bar in 2007.
3. In 2008 she was elected to the Michigan legislature with 90% of the vote in a district that was 40% hispanic, 25% African American, 30% non-Hispanic white American, and 3% Arab American.

NB: “During her tenure as a legislator, Tlaib was one of ten Muslims serving in state legislatures across the United States. She is the second Muslim to serve in the Michigan State House of Representatives, after James Karoub. Tlaib is the second Muslim woman to serve in a state legislature nationwide, after Jamilah Nasheed of Missouri. She and Justin Amash, a Republican
who was also elected in 2008, were the first two Palestinian-American gmembers of the Michigan legislature.”

2018 AND 2020 ELECTIONS — overwhelming margins, in solidly Democratic district

1. 2018: 84% of the vote in Michigan’s most Democratic district, no Republican qualified
2. 2020: Re-elected in 2020 with 78.1% of the vote versus 18.7% versus Republican challenger, David Dudenhoefer.
3. In the 2020 Democratic primary she had won with 66.3% of the vote versus Brenda Jones, the head of the Detroit City Council with 33.7%.


1. Tlaib was one of only 17 members of Congress to vote against a condemnation of the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement directed against the Israeli government. She was denied entry into Israel in August 2019. (Of the original squad only Aryanna Pressley voted for the resolution. 16 of the 17 were Democrats. The lone Republican was the libertarian Thomas Massie, who was the sole Congressman to vote against sanctions on North Korea).
2. She has called for the abolition of both the police and the Immigration Customs and Enforcement Agency (ICE).
3. She supports Medicare for All and an $18 to $20 minimum wage.


I have found it impossible to dig up any information on Fayez Tlaib, Rashida’s
husband from 1998 to 2015. He is the father of her two children, Adam,15,
and Yousif, 9.

Here is a link to the last three years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive


Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to political process or campaign strategy or 2020 candidate selection or anything else for that matter.

This is your chance to make some one else’s day or change their thinking. Or to consolidate in your own memory something worth remembering that might otherwise be lost. Or to clarify or deepen your own understanding of something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, and art.