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As Corporate PACs Target Key Dems, Ocasio-Cortez Says Party Must Embrace Progressive Priorities

"It's time to own that our party was the one of the Great Society, the New Deal, of the Civil Rights act"

Andrea Germanos

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes the stage for the closing keynote at Netroots Nation 2018. (Screengrab)
Hours after New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the Democratic Party would win seats by embracing progressive policies over big money, Politico reported that corporate PACs have boosted their contributions to House Democrats poised to hold the reins of powerful committees.

From the new reporting:

In the first half of this year, nine House Democratic ranking members—compared with just three Republican committee chairmen—raised at least 10 percent more from corporate PACs than they did in the same period in 2016, according to a POLITICO analysis of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. [...]

The 18 Democratic ranking members who are running for reelection raised 16 percent more from corporate PACs for their campaigns and leadership PACs in the first half of this year than they did in the first half of 2016, according to POLITICO's analysis.

But lawmakers make want to think twice about accepting that cash. The Associated Press recently reported that "money in politics is emerging as a new litmus test for Democratic candidates." Justice Democrats, a progressive political action committee, gives its endorsement to candidates who reject corporate PAC cash—and its pressure appears to be working.

Politico's analysis comes on the heels of new polling showing that "unabashedly left" policies are "incredibly popular" among voters. Despite the enthusiasm for bold progressive policies like single-payer healthcare, corporate Democrats are clutching to their "fringe ideas"—and they are wrong to do so, argues Ocasio-Cortez. 

Speaking Saturday at the Netroots Nation conference in New Orleans, she said, "We're not going to beat big money with more big money. We're going to beat big money with big organizing."

In order to win votes, she said, "We need to realize the consciousness of the Democratic Party."

"It's time to remember that universal college education, trade school, a federal jobs guarantee, an exploration of a universal basic income, were not all proposed in 2016 they were proposed in 1940—by the president of the United States, by the Democratic president of the United States. These are not new ideas," she continued. "We are picking up where we left off, where we were most powerful, when we were our last greatest."

"It's time to own that our party was the one of the Great Society, the New Deal, of the Civil Rights act," she said.

"If we are to win again," she said we need to "rediscover our soul" and "fight for social, economic, and racial justice for working class Americans."

Watch her full speech below in the video from Netroots Nation:


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