Justice Democrats Look to Take Back Democratic Party
January 31, 2017
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After the bruising loss in the 2016 elections, democrats have been scrambling to figure out how they weren’t able to salvage a sizeable win in any of the country’s institutions. Still unable to make significant changes, since the first opportunity that came when the party searched for new minority leaders and came up with two veteran establishment lawmakers – Chuck Schumer in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House – these efforts were squandered and unheeded.
Branching off the ailing Democratic Party is a new organization, known as the Justice Democrats. This Bernie Sanders-inspired movement targets the citizens that are perceived to be left behind or abandoned by the Democratic Party. Justice Democrats believe that the current Democratic Party is too overrun by corporate donations and that they have lost sight of the working people they proclaim to represent.
It is their goal to “turn the midterm elections into the political revolution that we almost had this past year,” according to Saikat Chakrabarti, Executive Director for Justice Democrats.
Chakrabarti was the Director of Organizing for the Bernie Sanders campaign and has since taken on this initiative to get progressive democrats into Congress.
Grassroot campaigning, a signature theme and the base of Bernie Sanders’s campaign last year, is the process by which these progressives will be elected, according to Justice Democrats. It is about creating a “political machine,” Chakrabarti says, that competes with the DNC and the RNC and corporate donors.
Justice Democrats is close to being its own political party, but is still running candidates on the democratic ticket.
According to Chakrabarti, the Democratic Party has failed in connecting with voters and the issues they care about like income inequality, criminal justice reform, and a better healthcare system.
“Instead of presenting a vision for how this country could be, they spend time presenting a vision of why Trump is awful, and they lost,” Chakrabarti said.
The goal of the Justice Democrats is not to stop the current Democratic caucus from taking corporate funds, but to replace those establishment Congressmen and women with ordinary citizens who will work on behalf of working class Americans.
“The way I see it, being a member of Congress is not an entitlement, it’s not a job anyone deserves to have, it’s not a job someone should have just because they’ve had it for a while,” Chakrabarti said.
Although inspired by the revolution Sanders started, he is not directly involved with the Justice Democrats organization.
The new organization is not focused on the 2020 presidential race as of now, but rather “laser focused” on the midterm elections in 2018.
“We’re actually going around finding incredible working people all across the country,” Chakrabarti said.
These people include teachers and principals who have turned schools around and scientists who can be experts on climate change, in an effort to not only represent different demographics, but different occupations as well.
“Because we’re getting people who don’t have a political machine behind them, don’t have a lot of money necessarily, but are experts in other areas, we’re going to make sure that there’s a national infrastructure that they can plug into,” he said.
According to the Justice Democrats website, “It’s time for an Article 5 convention to take our democracy back from the brink of oligarchy.”
The platform laid out on the site includes campaign finance reform, raising the minimum wage, universal healthcare, free public college, end the war on drugs, investing in renewable energy and other progressive points.
Justice Democrats is looking for citizens to run for office all over the country for the 2018 elections and people can be nominated on their website.