Congressman Ro Khanna, first-term representative from Silicon Valley, has joined Justice Democrats, a progressive organization that promises to support Democrats who share the same political perspectives—to the point of running against incumbent Democrats if necessary. Khanna is the first Congressman to join this progressive group.
On the online progressive show, “The Young Turks,” a program that has been gaining in popularity, Khanna reiterated his stand that it is high time for Democrats to have the courage and clarity to carry out “bold, progressive ideas.”
Founded by Kyle Kulinksi, Cenk Uygyur and with some of the advisors from the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, Justice Democrats was created with an eye toward widening the Democratic Party’s progressive ranks.
Justice Democrats has just announced that they are endorsing Cori Bush instead of incumbent Congressman Lacy Clay, a nine-term representative from St. Louis.
Joining the Justice Democrats is not an unexpected move for Ro Khanna. In last year’s elections he won over Democratic Congressman Mike Honda, who was the incumbent at that time. Khanna had previously challenged Honda in 2014.
Khanna has been outspoken in his support for Justice Democrats on Twitter (@RhoKhannaUSA). He has tweeted, “Primaries will strengthen the Democratic Party. If incumbents are good, they’ll win. If not, they lose. That’s why I’m with .” As well as, “If Democrats are confident in their vision, they shouldn’t be scared of a little competition from .”
Khanna believes that there is nothing to fear from primaries, and that greater competition encourages diversity and innovative concepts, and hopes that this would, eventually, cause the Democrats to regain the majority at the House of Representatives.
On “The Young Turks,” Khanna asserted that primaries can only mean good news for the Democratic party, opening doors for more women and minorities, and giving them the opportunity to represent their constituents. Competition, he firmly believes, only makes the party better.
Khanna also assured listeners that he will not automatically support every candidate endorsed by Justice Democrats, or even every candidate who runs against incumbents. For example, Khanna supported Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) over her challenger, Stephen Jaffe.
Aside from joining Justice Democrats, Khanna has made some other surprising moves for a young man who is just at the beginning of his political career. He’s also refused to receive lobbyist and PAC donations. But Khanna, knowing that these choices are consistent with his beliefs and platform, is unfazed by the possible outcomes. He knows he’s establishing himself as someone who’s rocked the boat to get to where he is. One very important thing to him is putting people over entrenched party institutionalists.