Ro Khanna, left, with state Lt. Gov. Gavin
Newsom last October in Cupertino.
17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Rep. Ro Khanna is vowing to take over the progressive flank of the Democratic Party by joining a group whose sole intention is to bring down establishment Democrats in Congress.
The decision to become the first sitting member of the House to join the “Justice Democrats” caucus may make Khanna unpopular among his fellow Democrats.
It may also not pass muster with the fact Khanna’s two campaigns for the 17th Congressional District were backed by some of the most powerful new corporatists in the country.
“The Democratic Party is broken, and the corporate wing of the party is responsible,” says a pull-quote on the Justice Democrats’ Web site.
Yet Khanna’s campaigns for Congress were largely funded by the some of the biggest establishment donors in Silicon Valley, including Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Napster creator Sean Parker, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, infamous in the valley for his support of President Trump. Pando, an Web site that covers the tech industry, once called Khanna “Silicon Valley’s Own(ed) Man.”
Justice Democrats support abolishing Super PACs and dark money from wealthy donors to political campaigns. The group also backs a number of clearly progressive platforms including making the minimum wage a living wage, universal health care and education, and investing heavily in the nation’s infrastructure. They also advocate for regulating Wall Street and bringing back the Glass-Steagal Act.
Here’s Khanna talking about his announcement with The Young Turks and its host Cenk Ugyur, one of the founders of the Justice Democrats, who asks how a candidate can possibly win without SuperPac money. “I did,” says Khanna:
It’s time that the Democrats embraced a bold progressive vision. It’s time we showed some spine. That’s why I’m joining @JusticeDems. pic.twitter.com/AEGSt0Bwnq
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhannaUSA) May 10, 2017
Whether Khanna is indeed a herald of the “anti-establishment” is very much open for debate. While technically true that his campaign did not accept special interests money, it begs the question, absent a discernible legion of small donors in the South Bay, how did he consistently amass millions in campaign donations over the past six years? And in numbers that almost always exceeded that of a 16-year establishment member of Congress?
The answer is Khanna tapped into a thick vein of wealthy Silicon Valley donors with the help of Steve Spinner, a well-connected fundraising bundler who previously worked with the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Either Khanna is trying to purposely hoodwink national progressive members of the media unaware of his past, or like a consistent trait in his rise, he is merely hoping to justify a means to an end. One that hopes you overlook the questionable deeds that led to his election and instead focus on his intent to act with a sense of progressive purity once he’s in Washington.