While establishment Democrats are scrambling to figure out how to appeal to middle- and working-class voters alienated during the Obama years, other Democrats are plotting to make their party even more unappealing to most heartland Americans.
Democratic Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) will gather with Nina Turner, president of the radical far-left Our Revolution PAC, on Tuesday to launch the Summer for Progress campaign’s “#PeoplesPlatform.”
“I’m not surprised to see Keith Ellison’s name involved with this,” Eddie Zipperer, an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College, told LifeZette.
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“Ellison’s brand of ultra-left-wing politics is way outside the Overton Window,” a theory about the range of acceptable public opinion, “and that’s bad news for the Democratic Party,” Zipperer said.
The Summer for Progress is a campaign launched by Our Revolution with the sole purpose of advocating for its #PeoplesPlatform — a series of eight pieces of progressive legislation.
The platform consists of: the Medicare for All Act (H.R. 676), College for All Act (H.R. 1880), Raise the Wage Act (H.R. 15), Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act (H.R. 771), Automatic Voter Registration Act (H.R. 2840), Justice is Not for Sale Act of 2017 (H.R. 3543), and Inclusive Prosperity Act (H.R. 1144). There’s also a not-yet-in-existence “Climate Change Bill.”
The first three bills — free health care, free college, higher minimum wage — speak for themselves. The so-called Inclusive Prosperity Act, a product of Ellison’s, is neither inclusive nor prosperity-producing — it is a tax on certain kinds of financial transactions applicable only to those making over a certain income.
The so-called Justice is Not for Sale Act is the brainchild of Rep. Grijalva, who was a member of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán) during his time at university. MEChA is a radical chicano separatist group that seeks to carve out an independent nation for Mexican-Americans in the Southwest United States — known as Aztlán.
Grijalva’s bill would ban all private prisons and immigration detention centers, end family detention, and remove ICE’s daily detainee quota.
The act would also reinstate the federal parole system, require ICE to use alternatives to detention, and increase government oversight of private companies, with the stated purpose of stopping them from overcharging inmates and inmates’ families for certain services.
In addition to Our Revolution, the Summer of Progress campaign is also sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America, Democracy for America, Working Families Party, Justice Democrats, and Fight for 15.
“Ellison recently lamented the fact that United States doesn’t have a health care system as good as Cuba’s and Russia’s,” observed Zipperer. “Ideas like that are dangerously ignorant, and the percentage of Americans who don’t get that [level of care] is very, very small.”
Indeed, while Ellison and his friends at Our Revolution labor away in their efforts to turn the Democrats into Democratic Socialists, the rest of the party has reached the exact opposite conclusion, desperately searching for ways to appeal to an alienated working class. Part of the reason for this is that Ellison and his friends don’t need to appeal to that demographic in their home districts.
“The Democratic Party is constantly struggling with the paradox that they have to move to the right to win elections, but they have to move to the left to get the big left-wing donors,” Zipperer said. “Reps in far-left districts get to have their cake and eat it, too. Moving left doesn’t hurt them the way it hurts the party as a whole. That’s what you see going on with people like Maxine Waters, Keith Ellison, and some of the others.”
He added that the party has lost itself without Obama and his popularity to steer it forward.
“Obama’s personality was the entire substance of the Democratic Party — and their leftist views still lost them a thousand seats while he was president. Now that he’s gone from office, the party is disintegrating even faster,” Zipperer said.
“If the Democrats want to remain a major party in the United States, they have to move to the right. They have to be willing to put America first,” he continued. “If the party moves left, especially while they’re facing a brutal 2018 election map, they’ll end up going the way of the Whigs and being replaced by a party that actually wants to appeal to the average American.”