The Democratic and Republican parties no longer represent their constituents. They, along with the mainstream media, have been bought by corporate interests that only care about lining their investment accounts, not the American people.
But efforts to change have been flattened. The parties have squashed populist movements and third parties have failed to gain steam. However, the people have been clear that they are eager for political change. The election of a political outsider like Donald Trump and the popularity of anti-corporate Bernie Sanders should have spurred an uprising. Unfortunately, both sides have simply caved to their donors, not the people they were elected to represent, and nothing has changed. Establishment Democrats shunned Bernie, who jumped back to being an independent and Trump has re-stocked the swamp more than drain it. Something has to give.
The Democratic party has to see tremendous change in order to jumpstart their efforts toward 2018 and even 2020. Without it, the GOP will win again and by then, Trump will have figured out how to get the Republican Congress on his side. The Democrats have to overcome questions about Tom Perez’ leadership, a disjointed platform, and the party’s collusion against Bernie Sanders in the primary to be successful. Fortunately, a new group of energetic progressives believe they have just the answers to get the party back on track.
Ring of Fire has mentioned the Justice Democrats previously as an up-and-coming activist group that aims to dramatically shift the image of the Democratic party. Much like the Tea Party on the right, the Justice Democrats want to push corporately controlled politicians out of the party and bring power back to everyday Americans. Formed by The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur and radio host Kyle Kulinski, the Justice Democrats are looking to capture the passionate nature of Bernie Sander’s campaign and apply it to a new wing of the party.
The Justice Democrats are working with Brand New Congress to put forth a slate of hundreds of candidates across the country that reject the mold of bought-and-paid-for politicians. Corbin Trent, Communications Director for the Justice Democrats told Ring of Fire that the movement,
“will show America that everyday people can do the job. Our candidates are pastors, doctors, teachers, scientists, and engineers and they have all, at some point, been selfless and sacrificed to better their communities.”
The appeal is not aimed just at progressives, though. The Justice Democrat platform simply aims to bring grassroots-style common-sense to politics. Whether it is backing out of trade deals that only benefit corporate interests, defending free speech on college campuses, or fighting the creeping unconstitutional overreach by agencies like the NSA and CIA, the appeal is broad. Trent even thinks there will be interest from right-leaning voters that are disenchanted by the direction of the Republican party under Donald Trump:
“When we talk about healthcare reform, we need to talk about how it can benefit our economy. When you buy a Ford car that is made in America, part of that price tag includes health benefits for Ford employees, you don’t have that when you buy an Audi or BMW. If we want to be competitive with foreign manufacturers, we have to unburden companies from the expense of healthcare.”
Similarly, the platform doesn’t talk about restricting and regulating industry to combat climate change. Instead, the Justice Democrats are positioning the argument for clean and renewable energy as a sound economic investment. Not only are fossil fuels harmful to the environment, they are incredibly costly and hamper innovation. There are currently billions of dollars in federal subsidies for coal, instead we could apply those funds to investing in renewable energy. Slashing government funding for outdated technology is something that even conservatives should be able to get behind.
The Justice Democrats are also looking to move beyond the tactic of simply attacking Donald Trump. “Donald Trump being awful is a gimmie,” says Trent. Instead the group looks to provide concrete plans for better jobs, better education, and better healthcare. For instance, as the GOP looks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the movement is pressuring Democrats to back HR 676, a bill to expand Medicare. Even if the bill is unlikely to pass through the Republican-controlled Congress, it is at least an effective negotiating tool. Unfortunately, as of Wednesday, there were still 118 House Democrats that have not backed the bill.
Of course, the path to victory will be an uphill battle for campaigns that reject corporate funding. But the Justice Democrats feel that money isn’t the only factor in running a successful campaign. The organization is powered by energetic and intelligent people that are donating their time to the effort. The organization points out that while there are caps to monetary donations to a candidate, there are no caps for donating time and expertise. That sweat-equity is what Trent hopes will be the difference:
“We hope to get people excited about politics again. We’ve found that people haven’t been able to do that because politicians have been intentionally vague. We are about enthusiasm and hope.”
Ring of Fire believes that the work of the Justice Democrats and their partners at Brand New Congress is crucial to the future success of the Democratic party and progressive interests in America. Host of Ring of Fire Radio and TV’s America’s Lawyer, Mike Papantonio stands behind the movement:
“If we don’t organize to fight the corporate attack on democracy, the American people will suffer. Both parties have been bought and paid for by lobbyists of Big Oil, Big Pharma, and war-hungry defense contractors. That’s why we must support the Justice Democrat movement, it is time to tell Washington that we’ve had enough.”