On the campaign trail and today, as Bernie Sanders proceeds with his work as an Independent Vermont senator on the frontline of the resistance against President Trump, Sanders never forfeited an opportunity to blast money in politics and the disproportionate power of wealthy Americans in swaying elections and public policy to favor their interests. In particular, Sanders criticized his Democratic and Republican opponents for their reliance on super PACs to fund their campaigns and supposedly influence their platforms, while never missing an opportunity to boast about his own lack of a super PAC and average individual donation size of $27.
But it looks like Sanders’ former senior campaign leaders and other staffers have gone rogue, as they’ve officially teamed up with “The Young Turks” host Cenk Uygur, a board member on the project, to launch their own super PAC. Oh, the dark, twisted irony if only it were as simple as it sounded.
The PAC is called Justice Democrats, and it will be a crowdfunded political action committee with the goal of removing and replacing the corporate-aligned faction of the Democratic Party, which they accuse of contributing to the election of Trump, with grassroots progressives without big money ties.
According to Uygar, Justice Democrats plans to help fund the campaigns of hundreds of Democratic candidates who do “not take corporate money and serve the voters rather than the donors,” in 2018, seeking to stock Congress with “strong progressives” to “overpower the corporate Democrats.”
Justice Democrats’ platform will reportedly include “a constitutional amendment to ban super PACs and reform campaign financing, regulate Wall Street financial institutions, end favorable tax treatment for billionaires and corporations and embrace universal health care and education, among other progressive goals.” It looks like the PAC will focus on promoting populist economic policy much like Sanders’ own 2016 campaign.
Many Democratic politicians and liberal thinkers have stressed the importance of focusing on economic policy rather than the identity-related issues that appear to frustrate poor, rural whites, who perceive the inclusion of others as their own marginalization. However, while healthcare for all, tuition-free public college, more progressive taxation, a higher minimum wage, and more jobs, all crucial tenets of Sanders’ campaign, would all be just fabulous, I hope Justice Democrats don’t forget the disproportionate struggles of those of marginalized identities.