Justice Democrats is working to elect a mission-driven caucus in Congress that will fight for solutions that match the scale of the many crises: skyrocketing inequality, catastrophic climate change, deepening structural racism as the country becomes more diverse, and the corporate takeover of American democracy. The unexpectedly competitive Democratic primary of 2016, pitting Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders, quickly became a battle of “progressives” versus “progressives who get things done.” And in the Democrats’ search for identity following Clinton’s soul-crushing general election loss to Donald Trump, Democratic candidates at all levels throughout the 2018 election cycle wore the progressive badge, even if their definition of “progressive” was sometimes rather ambiguous.
For nearly 30 years, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has been the primary legislative home for the Democratic left. Formed in 1991 by a small group of House lawmakers, including longtime Rep. Maxine Waters and Sanders, and currently chaired by Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Mark Pocan, the CPC now boasts over 90 members. With such large numbers—and with both progressive ideas and left-wing politicians as influential as they have been in generations—the CPC is, in theory, ideally placed to wage significant influence in Washington.
Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib from what is called the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, are known collectively as "the squad." They appeared together July 15, 2019 before reporters in a collective and blistering show of force to rebut President Donald Trump's social media and verbal volleys against them. "He's launching a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members of the United States House of Representatives, all of whom are women of color," said Ilhan Omar, a Somalia-born Democrat from the state of Minnesota and a naturalized U.S. citizen. "This is the agenda of white nationalists."
Trump set off a firestorm of controversy Sunday by tweeting that the lawmakers should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," even though three of the four were born in the United States. The first tweets came shortly after a segment about the minority congresswomen on the Fox News Channel. On Fox News, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who golfed with Trump over the weekend, said Ocasio-Cortez "and this crowd are a bunch of communists" who "hate Israel. They hate our own country. They're calling the guards along our border — the border control agents — concentration camp guards. They accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins [money]. They're anti-Semitic. They're anti-America."
Justice Democrats say "While we agree with efforts to reform our two-party system, the reality is that right now it is next to impossible for a third-party candidate to win a national election. Justice Democrats functions like a party within the Democratic Party -- running our own candidates in primary elections and holding those on top accountable to the grassroots. We want our democracy to work for Americans again as soon as possible. The best way to do this is by working to change the Democratic Party from the inside out. Once Justice Democrats take power, we support electoral reform like ranked choice voting and mixed-member districts so third parties can have a voice in our democracy rather than continue to play a spoiler effect."
All Justice Democrat candidates are required to pledge not to take any corporate PAC or corporate lobbyist money. Additionally, they will be progressive candidates who generally agree with the Justice Democrats platform.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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."
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