Democrats seem to be making a hard push to the left through the emergence of The Justice Democrats Pac.
If you're not familiar with the movement, this from Wikipedia
Justice Democrats is an American progressive political action committee founded on January 23, 2017, by Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, and former leadership from the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Uygur and Kulinski are no longer affiliated with the group. Alexandra Rojas became executive director of the organization in May 2018. The organization formed as a result of the 2016 United States presidential election and has a stated goal of reforming the Democratic Party by running "a unified campaign to replace every corporate-backed member of Congress" and rebuild the Democratic Party from "scratch" starting in the 2018 congressional midterm elections.
Justice Democrats describes its views as being held by most Americans, but deemed "politically impossible" by the current political establishment because of systemic political corruption. Members of the Justice Democrats comment that as all campaigns need donations and that candidates who hold policies viewed as unfavorable by corporate interests and wealthy individuals will be denied funding by corporations. Therefore the system actually ends up forcing politicians to change their policies to suit the current business environment.
In the 2018 elections, 26 of the 79 candidates endorsed by Justice Democrats won their respective primary elections. Seven of these candidates won in the general election: Raúl Grijalva, Ro Khanna, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Pramila Jayapal. Districts won ranged from D+13 to D+34 on the Cook PVI, meaning solid Democrat. No swing districts were won, though Kara Eastman and Ammar Campa-Najjar came close in their respective races.
In some cases it seems we're witnessing a reverse Ouroboros. Instead of the head eating the tail, the tail is eating the head while the democratic socialist Justice Democrats attempt to implode the Democratic Party by selling the American people a feel good brand of Justice For All. While the masses debate the right and wrong of AOC politics Justice Democrats further their agendas with unified messaging across the pac through puppet masters like Saikat Chakrabarti and media darlings like AOC.
Taken at face value, the Justice Democrats' platform seems reasonable and in some cases desirable. After all, who in their right mind doesn't want equality, fairness, and an end to corruption and bigotry?
Here is their platform: Transform Our Economy
We need a bold economic vision that will both reclaim lost capital and put money back in the pockets of hard-working Americans, and create millions of new jobs for those who have been left out of the workforce.
GREEN NEW DEAL
Scientists are sounding the alarm on climate change. Communities are fighting back. It’s time to drastically and immediately move away from fossil fuels, develop the technologies of the future, and create prosperity for all of us -- not just those on top. The Green New Deal is a mass mobilization to dramatically expand existing renewable power sources and deploy new production capacity with the goal of meeting 100% of national power demand through renewable sources. The Green New Deal will also provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one and ensure a ‘just transition’ for all workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm including by ensuring that local implementation of the transition is led from the community level and by prioritizing solutions that end the harms faced by front-line communities from climate change and environmental pollution.
SECURE A LIVING WAGE AND TIE IT TO INFLATION
This is about justice and basic human decency. If you work hard and you work full time you shouldn’t live in poverty. Furthermore, we support strong unions and collective bargaining.
ENACT A FEDERAL JOBS GUARANTEE
The idea behind a federal jobs guarantee is that anyone who wants to work and contribute but can’t find a way to do that in the economy can do that. A federal jobs guarantee program would establish a floor for wages and benefits for the nation’s workforce. This program would provide a baseline minimum wage of $15 an hour and guarantee for public workers a basic benefits package, including healthcare and childcare. By investing in our own workforce, we can lift thousands of American families out of poverty and get people to work doing the work that needs to be done.
REBUILD OUR CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE
Our infrastructure gets a grade of D from the Society of Civil Engineers. The government should invest trillions in rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, schools, levees, airports, etc. There’s no reason why we can’t have the world’s #1 infrastructure.
BLOCK BAD TRADE DEALS
Americans have lost millions of decent paying jobs due to unfair trade deals. It’s time to end the race to the bottom and renegotiate these rigged deals that only benefit elites. We should not sacrifice our sovereignty. The only people who are allowed to make laws for the United States should be the American people, not multinational corporations.
END TAX DODGING AND LOOPHOLES
Corporations dodge $450 billion a year in taxes by using offshore tax havens. We should end this injustice, as well as chain the capital gains tax to the income tax, increase the estate tax, and implement the Buffet Rule so that no millionaire CEO pays less in taxes than his or her secretary. It’s time for a tax system that benefits the middle class and the poor, and makes the top 1% and multinational corporations pay their fair share.
END UNNECESSARY WARS AND NATION BUILDING
The United States maintains 800 military bases worldwide at a cost of $100 billion a year. This is money that can be spent at home creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, and investing in the future of the people. The disastrous war in Iraq cost trillions, the war in Afghanistan is going on 17 years in with no end in sight, and we’re currently bombing 7 different countries. We spend more on our military than the next 8 countries combined. It’s time to end the wars and the perverse monetary incentive structure that makes politicians flippant about sending young men and women to die. Unilateral U.S. military force should only be used as a last resort to defend the nation. The current budget could be cut drastically if we used our department of defense for what it was intended — defending us, instead of waging interventionist wars.Protect Our Rights
The growing disparities in income and wealth among our nation’s people have long-term impacts on our population — for wealth accumulation, debt reduction, and educational attainment.
MEDICARE FOR ALL
The United States should catch up to every other modern nation and implement a single payer, Medicare for All system. It’s time to end the destruction of American health care by rapacious, price gouging, for-profit, private health insurance middlemen.
FREE PUBLIC COLLEGES AND TRADE SCHOOLS
Educating the citizenry of a nation pays dividends in the long run, with the economy getting back much more than is initially put in. Crushing student debt for higher education would no longer burden young men and women trying to improve their lives through hard work. We should strive to have the best education system in the world.
DEFEND AND EXPAND SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, AND MEDICAID
Republicans have been trying to privatize and cut earned benefit programs for decades. Corporate Democrats have been willing to go along with them under the guise of a ‘grand bargain’ and ‘reform’. We pledge to staunchly oppose this. Social Security reduced the elderly poverty rate from 35% to 10%. 3.4 million Americans would immediately fall into poverty without Medicaid. Gutting these vital programs is not an option.
ENSURE PAID VACATION TIME, SICK TIME, FAMILY LEAVE, CHILDCARE
The United States is one of just three countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, the others being Oman and Papua New Guinea. We are the only industrialized nation that doesn’t offer paid vacation time. This should be changed immediately.
FIGHT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE
Racism and xenophobia have always been part of our country's history. Since our nation's founding, the wealthy and the powerful have always used divide-and-conquer tactics to make working people fight each other instead of the people on top. African Americans and Latinos in particular, and people of color generally, have been targets in our nation’s continued assault against their rights, liberties, and humanity. As did generations before us, we will continue to advocate and push for justice, equity, and equality in all manner and forms, and will sponsor and vote on legislation to secure the same. We support a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the generational harms caused by slavery and Jim Crow and propose remedies.
PROTECT WOMEN’S RIGHTS
We support the Paycheck Fairness Act and we support repealing the Hyde Amendment. We oppose Republican cuts to Planned Parenthood and women’s health clinics all across the country. In 2016 alone, 60 TRAP laws targeting abortion were passed in 19 states. We will vigorously oppose all efforts to dismantle reproductive rights.
More than 600,000 Americans are homeless on any given night, including over 57,000 veterans. Studies show the cost of leaving a homeless person on the streets is $30,000 while the cost of housing them is just $10,000. Addressing this crisis is both the moral and fiscally responsible thing to do.
For-profit policing and for-profit prisons should be abolished. Police training should be retooled to emphasize de-escalation tactics, and body cameras should be mandatory on all officers. Furthermore, community oversight boards should be created and broken windows policing should be eliminated. Stop & frisk — which disproportionately targets African Americans and Latinos 87% of the time — has a 97% failure rate. On top of being discriminatory and ineffective, it’s also unconstitutional and should be ended. Special prosecutors must also be appointed to hold police accountable. We should invest more in jobs and education, less in jails and incarceration.
ENACT COMMON-SENSE GUN REGULATION
92% of Americans want expanded background checks, 54% want a ban on assault weapons, and 54% want a ban on high capacity magazines. We agree with the majority of the American people and support these measures. Over 30,000 Americans die every year from gun violence, including over 10,000 homicides. The time to act is now to address this public health crisis.
Since 2013, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous Shelby County v. Holder decision, states across the country have been actively working to reverse the hard-fought protections for voting rights secured during the Civil Rights Movement. Fair and equal access to the ballot is essential to our ability to uphold and protect our nation’s democracy. We believe every American citizen is entitled to vote, and we will work to secure voting rights, challenge ultra-partisan gerrymandering, and put an end to affronts to our democratic representation.Defend Our Democracy
We cannot afford to continue partisan jockeying on these issues; there is too much at stake. Americans must be provided a better chance to succeed in the face of rising income inequality and continued machinations by corporate giants.
ICE was created in 2003 as a reaction to 9/11. Since then, it has turned into a state-funded terror group that regularly violates basic human rights. We don't need a special enforcement agency for undocumented immigrants. We can rely on our existing criminal justice agency to arrest those who have committed a crime, just like we did before 2003.
Super PACs should be banned, private donations to politicians and campaigns should be banned, and a clean public financing system should be implemented to end the takeover of our government by corporations and billionaires. Americans deserve free and fair elections — free from the corruption of big money donors. The Supreme Court has effectively legalized bribery. We need public financing of our elections.
REFORM OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
America imprisons more people than any other nation in the world. With 4.4% of the world’s population, America incarcerates 22% of the world’s prisoners (716 per 100,000). Even as the national crime rate remains on a steady decline, incarceration rates continue to climb. On top of that, our criminal justice system currently targets Black and Brown people leading to higher arrest rates and longer sentences. That needs to end.
Criminal justice reform requires sweeping and comprehensive policy changes that reverse our nation’s trends of unjust mass incarceration, and works to address the root causes of criminal behavior while mitigating the negative consequences of inappropriate policing practices.
IMPLEMENT COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM
We won’t give an inch in our opposition to Trump’s outrageous proposals. Ideas like a ‘total and complete’ shutdown of Muslim immigration and deporting all undocumented immigrants are anathema to America. We will fight for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. America is a proud nation of immigrants.
STOP SELLING ARMS TO HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS
We recently gave Saudi Arabia billions in weapons and watched the civilian death toll in their vicious bombing campaign in Yemen tick up. We continue sending Egypt arms as they violently crack down on peaceful protesters. Israel received $38 billion in aid and promptly announced new settlements. The first step to peace is not enabling nations who regularly violate international law.
END THE FAILED WAR ON DRUGS
The racist War on Drugs has torn families apart all across our country. Politicians in both parties created a system of mass incarceration while divesting resources from the most vulnerable communities. Legalizing marijuana is a racial and economic justice issue. Black Americans are four times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession despite similar usage rates. Billions of taxpayer dollars are spent to uphold a racist system.
We must legalize marijuana and ensure that the records of those who were incarcerated for marijuana-related charges are expunged. As we legalize marijuana, we must also follow the models set in Massachusetts and Oakland that make sure that profits, investment, and business opportunities are going toward communities unfairly targeted by the racist war on drugs.
ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY
Humans are fallible, we’ll never get the right answer 100% of the time. 4% of the people on death row are not guilty of a crime and have been wrongly convicted. A system that puts innocent people to death is indefensible and should be reformed. We want justice for the American people but killing innocent people on death row is the exact opposite.
73% of congressional districts in America are deemed "safely Republican or safely Democrat" and do not have competitive general elections. We support bold reforms to provide voters an equal say in our democracy. This includes efforts to expand the House of Representatives and the Fair Representation Act to create multi-member districts and ranked-choice voting. We also support the movement to provide statehood for Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico in order to bring balance to the increasingly skewed Senate. These efforts are in line with movements for racial and economic justice in our country. We also support public financing of elections and the removal of the corrupting influence of corporate and big money in our democracy.
We must speak out against racism, sexism, xenophobia, and all forms of bigotry. Non-discrimination protections that currently apply to race, religion, and gender should be expanded to include the LGBTQ community.
DEFEND NET NEUTRALITY
These days, our reliance on technology has become second-nature, and the Internet has become a great enabler of industry, connectivity, and commerce. For all the wonders the internet provides, its benefits are fragile in that at any moment, large corporations seeking to pad their bottom lines and deliver outsized returns to their shareholders can, at any moment, hinder our access to the Internet - a platform for freedom of expression and medium for improving our lives.
For more than a decade, the Internet has served as a great equalizer, and has provided an opportunity and platform for small businesses and voices (who may not otherwise have a platform to compete in the market alongside big corporations and other powerful entities) to meet new audiences and expand their impact. Widespread access to the internet and net neutrality have been essential for providing Americans a better chance to succeed in the face of rising income inequality and continued machinations by corporate giants.
We believe in upholding net neutrality as a condition of Internet Freedom, and will work with our colleagues in Congress and around the country to ensure that Congress once and for all adopts a legislative solution to uphold the open internet. We cannot afford to continue partisan jockeying on this issue. The rules have changed consistently over the past ten years based on who occupies the White House and which party in Congress dominates in the realm of legislative control. There is too much at stake and on the line to stop now. Internet Freedom is a must, and we will do what it takes to ensure that all people have the opportunity to access the internet freely, openly, and affordably. Link
Here are some Pros & Cons of Democratic Socialism:List of the Pros of Democratic Socialism
1. It reduces classism within local societies.
In Democratic Socialism, there are not “haves” or “have nots” because there is a sense of community ownership in all things. Private production is used for the public good. At the same time, individuals within the society are able to elect their government officials freely, without fear of political reprisal. That means the differences in wealth and culture are reduced because everyone is working toward a common good.
2. It gives everyone an opportunity to pursue success.
In a truly capitalistic environment, only those with means and opportunity can pursue options like good healthcare coverage or a college education. In the U.S., there is already a form of Democratic Socialism in place with the public schools offered in the K-12 grade range. This form of governing simply extends the concepts which are already working in a democratic society and applies them to other components of it. Each person has an opportunity to pursue their own definition of success.
3. It eliminates the threat of price fixing.
In Democratic Socialism, the government either controls, owns, or monitors every organization that provides goods and services. Instead of using free market demands to raise prices or form mergers or monopolies, the society is able to govern pricing and regulations to allow access to anyone who may need those items. There is no structure available that allows suppliers to alter pricing simply because there is a high demand for what they have.
4. It creates income equality within society.
In the United States right now, the inequality gap has been growing for more than two generations. In 1980, only 50% of children earned more than their parents. In 1940, 92% of children were able to earn more than their parents. The Top 1% of income earners in the U.S. bring in more than 20% of all income. In 1970, the bottom 50% of earners brought in more than 20% of all income. Adults in the top 1% earn 81 times more than adults in the bottom 50%, on average. Under Democratic Socialism structures, these gaps wouldn’t fully disappear. They would, however, become greatly reduced.
5. It reduces the threat of economic cycles.
During the Great Recession years of 2007-2009, many families around the world struggled to make ends meet. Jobs were lost. People were forced to find underemployment opportunities just to pay their bills. Since then, wages have exploded for the upper income tier, growing as much as 230%. For the bottom tier of income earners, some individuals haven’t seen a pay raise since 2007. Democratic Socialism reduces the threat of these economic cycles, making it easier for households to take care of their basic needs while still having income access to pursue opportunities.
6. It creates an economy that is more efficient.
Within the structures of Democratic Socialism, there is no longer a push to sell unneeded goods or services to consumers. That means less money is spent on marketing, allowing for more to be spent on production, innovation, or wage growth. People still receive what they need for comfort and daily living without the constant brand messaging demanding to be heard.
7. It offers more room for value judgments.
Products can be offered in a society based on Democratic Socialism that are based on value judgments instead of profit judgments. Even if production creates a loss, the government can subsidize production to make needed items available to everyone. In a structure based on capitalism, goods and services are based on profits first and value second.List of the Cons of Democratic Socialism
1. It cedes more control over basic needs to the government.
Even though officials may still be elected, Democratic Socialism is still on the socialism spectrum. That means the government is given more control over how lives can be lived. There may be added benefits to social access, but that requires money, which means higher tax rates. Then there are fewer options available because the government is in control of the competition. At the end of the day, in its extreme form, the government would be telling everyone what they can do, where they can work, and what they can purchase.
2. It could cause a net financial loss instead of gains for families.
Even Bernie Sanders admits that higher taxes are required in such a system, with a 25% tax rate proposed for the median income earner in the United States under his plan. In the Sanders plan, the top tax rate would still be under 40%. That means a greater tax burden, relative to available income, is given to the middle- and low-income earners instead of the higher income earners.
3. It would limit the influence of unions, civilian oversight committees, and similar institutions.
Democratic Socialism would cede the rights of workers to the government through employment. If the government decides that having a union is not in their best interest, then they can get rid of it. Public employees have already experienced this in government structures that are closer to capitalism. That means there is a greater potential for unsafe work places, lower wages, and less overall incentive to work if all the physical needs of an individual are automatically met by the government.
4. It can reduce innovation.
There may be an advantage in Democratic Socialism in that people with specific skills or talents are placed into jobs that directly benefit from that experience. At the same time, however, production within a socialism-style government structures tends to focus on domestic needs instead of new opportunities. That limits innovation because there is little, if any, competition with the government to develop new ideas. Over time, that means the society can lag behind others that incentivize innovation.
5. It can create more bureaucracy.
The government will want to determine who is eligible to receive specific benefits. Applicants must fill out paperwork to prove their eligibility. Ongoing renewals must be processed. The goal of Democratic Socialism may be to streamline society and equalize access to services, but more bureaucracy is created in doing so. That means it could take much more time to make services available to those who need them.
6. It creates more government spending.
For an economy to grow, there must be a balance between domestic and foreign trade. As innovation declines and manufacturing grows stagnant, fewer international opportunities develop. That means the government may be forced to import more items, creating trade deficits with their neighbors. Without innovation, maintenance and repairs overages become common as equipment ages. In time, the government spends more than it would if it had simply invested capital into existing systems to upgrade them.
7. It can create a lack of societal motivation.
There will always be people within any society that do not participate in the workforce. In the United States right now, about one-third of all people who are of a working age are choosing not to join the workforce. Under a system of Democratic Socialism, those figures could increase even further. If there is no reward for producing more than someone else, yet both individuals have their basic needs met, the individual working is more likely to give up than the individual not working choosing to join the workforce.
8. It cannot prevent a corruptible government.
Human beings are fallible creatures. We are prone to mistakes. We are also capable of doing abhorrent things to one another in certain circumstances. Under the structures of socialism, no matter where it happens to be on the spectrum, there are fewer checks and balances in place to limit the effects of corruption. New leaders can be elected by the people, but not immediately. Hierarchies tend to emerge under this structure, with leaders working to shore up power where they can.
These Democratic Socialism pros and cons are an overview of the subject only. This structure is not Communism, which many claim, nor is it the “next evolution of capitalism.” It is somewhere in the middle, a proposed compromise by those who want more people to experience success. Basic needs are met, but with fewer incentives.Link
As I've gotten older, I've taken a more moderate approach to politics because things like social security, healthcare, injustice and inequality mean more to me now than they did forty years ago wth less life experience and less time to consider and refute much of the dogma spoon-fed since birth. So considering the Pros & Cons why wouldn't every free thinking American welcome this push toward Utopia?
Because it doesn't work. Idealist do have the right ideas but are never able to formulate workable solutions. The solutions they do come up with invariably end up corrupted or coopted. Bigger government is never the answer in a truly free society. It's a slippery slope to the reduction of freedom and loss of rights. When humans are involved corruption and desire for power will blossom unchecked without a series of checks and balances controlled by the people.
In its most simplistic from, the slippery slope we face can be summed up like this
1. Seduce the populace into accepting the government as the arbitrator of all problems; government from cradle-to-grave
2. Begin delivering on those services to make the citizens dependent
3. Take away the citizens' guns
4. Increase taxes on all services while destroying any free market alternative services
5. Blame the chosen scapegoat for the inability to meet demand for services
6. Have the centralized national police force round up any dissidents
Hell, I even understand the attraction of Democratic Socialism. I think we all realize the system is broken on many levels. I think most of us would agree there needs to be reform across many issues, that hatred and racism need to be addressed, that inequality due to age, race, gender or sexual preference is a blight on society. Many of us might agree that corporate greed is rampant and that corporations don't pay their fair share in taxes. These (and others) are all valid issues. But the answer isn't giving up control or allowing the erosion of our rights. And that is what I believe The Justice Democrats and social democracy would eventually lead to if left unchecked.
Answers lie in staying informed, keeping dialogs open, and attempting to come up with real solutions instead of hardline approaches. Because like it or not, we are all in this together.
The reason new congressmen and women like Raúl Grijalva, Ro Khanna, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Pramila Jayapal are having success and gaining traction is because they are striking the right emotional cords. It's even possible many of them believe what they are preaching, but make no mistake, this is a coordinated offensive that is marketing a brand of pablum to a largely politically uneducated and uninvolved populace, and they will be extremely active and likely effective in upcoming regional and national elections.
It's up to each of us to stay informed and vote our conscience based on informed decision making. I'm pretty sure Trump was a backlash to the status quo, and I'm damn sure The Justice Democrats are a backlash to Trump. Instead of the whipsaw approach that is tearing this country apart, perhaps it's time to take a balanced approach, beginning with attempting to understand both sides of the coin, and admitting and understanding that unchecked capitalism can lead to a harshly unequal class society and rampant poverty just like unchecked socialism can lead to fascism, conformity and a police state. In my view, we're on thin ice as a free society. Fortunately for me, I'll unlikely be here when the ice breaks, but that doesn't mean I don't care what happens. I want my family to be safe and free for generations.
If you're interested in learning more about socialism or brushing up on it as an economic system, here's a fairly comprehensive primer. Worth the read, IMO: Link