Here Come the 'Justice Democrats'
Just because Democrats did well in the midterm elections doesn't mean that their civil war has ended. In fact, it's only just begun.
A small group of ultra leftists decided to form an organization last year to reform the Democratic Party by pushing a radical socialist agenda and electing like-minded individuals to public office. They call themselves the "Justice Democrats" and they're about to become a thorn in the side to establishment Democrats.
The group received a huge lift with the election to Congress of the high-profile democratic socialist Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Her chief of staff is going to be Saikat Chakrabarti, a co-founder of Justice Democrats, and both the newly elected congressman and her top aide are threatening to primary incumbent Democrats who don't agree with their agenda and/or are the wrong color.
"Long story short, I need you to run for office," Ocasio-Cortez said Saturday on a video conference call hosted by Justice Democrats, as the group launched a campaign dubbed “#OurTime.” Justice Democrats supported Ocasio-Cortez's primary campaign against powerful Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.).
"All Americans know money in politics is a huge problem, but unfortunately the way that we fix it is by demanding that our incumbents give it up or by running fierce campaigns ourselves," Ocasio-Cortez added. "That's really what we need to do to save this country. That's just what it is."
The incoming congresswoman's chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, a co-founder of Justice Democrats, was blunter.
"We need new leaders, period," he said on the call. "We gotta primary folks."
Needless to say, this is not the way for a freshman member of Congress to win friends and influence people in the Democratic Party. But in order to "save" the country, heads must roll.
The group said they want Democratic members of Congress to be representative of their diverse communities and support liberal policies like Medicare for all, abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department, implementing a "Green New Deal," and rejecting corporate PAC donations. On the campaign trail, Ocasio-Cortez talked about forming a "corporate-free caucus" as a means to push for reform. That type of group, if it forms, could turn out to be the left's counterpart to the Freedom Caucus, which pushed Republican leadership to the right.
“I don't think people who are taking money from oil and gas companies should be drafting climate legislation,” Ocasio-Cortez said on the call.
I don't think leftist nutcases should be drafting any kind of legislation at all, but that's just me.
I imagine many Democratic elders are a little bemused at this. After all, as a political force, Justice Democrats have just a few backbench congressmen as members, little money, and no national reach.
But perhaps we shouldn't underestimate what they represent. They may encapsulate the most fervent aspirations of younger Democrats. And when it comes to a political campaign, enthusiasm and heart can go a long way toward victory.