The Democratic Party is beset on all sides by aggressive cancers, some of which dare to use the term “Democrats” in their names. Brand New Congress, a partner group of Justice Democrats, is another scheme to engage elected Democrats in primary battles for their seats in the upcoming 2018 election cycle. This time the Sanders world is coming for almost the entirety of Congress with what one of the group’s organizers has referred to as an “exciting presidential-style campaign with 400 heads.” Rather than resulting in a Brand New Congress, as suggested by the name, this is more likely another attempted hostile takeover of the Democratic Party, if not to simply ruin the Party. Who wants a brand new Congress? Probably many voters, but most obviously the Republican Party, who would then be empowered to run wild without those pesky Democrats around to act as a constitutionally intended check and balance.
Brand New Congress was publicly launched on April 29, 2016, during the thrashing their candidate, Bernie Sanders, was taking when he failed to secure the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. Federal Election Commission filings show the organization’s Statement of Organization was filed on April 5, 2016. The public launch of the organization also seems to be the continuation of employment for hundreds of Bernie 2016 staffers let go by the campaign at the end of April, 2016, when it became apparent that Sanders was not going to win.
Their goal is,
“To elect a brand new Congress that works for all Americans.”
The PAC has virtually the same goals as Justice Democrats, with an agenda that is virtually the same as Senator Sanders, not surprisingly because,
“Brand New Congress was originally started by a group of volunteers and staffers from the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.”
A Brand New Congress is the destructive and corrosive concept formed by Saikat Chakrabarti and Zac Exley, the same pair of Bernie 2016 staffers involved in the creation of Justice Democrats. Public records show that Mr. Exley, is the Treasurer of Brand New Congress.
Mr. Chakrabarti is identified by Brand New Congress as,
“The owner of Brand New Campaign and works as a volunteer and is taking no compensation from Brand New Campaign.”
“Brand New Campaign is an LLC partnership whose operating agreement states that it exists not to make a profit.”
While Mr. Chakrabarti might not be getting paid by Brand New Campaign, he might very well be getting paid by Brand New Congress as,
“Brand New Congress contracts with Brand New Campaign to provide staff, research and recruitment of candidates, travel support and more,” as they
“Do have some paid staff and as we raise more money, we will be hiring more.”
“Non-politician candidates for Congress in 2018 in one unified campaign behind one plan to rebuild the economy, repair our communities and radically reform our institutions.”
This goal necessarily excludes as targets for removal the 71 current members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Sanders included, plus the 66 sitting United States Senators not up for reelection in 2018. Brand New Congress claims their decisions on the members of Congress to be replaced are made by the seven member BNC board, regardless of party affiliation, but for the most part, the only candidates they don’t seem to feel the need to replace are the ones who supported the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential candidacy or those who, like Sanders, are member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
This group plans to make staffing and fundraising decisions for all of its candidates at once, in a manner reminiscent of a Russian soviet. They intend to run not only Democratic, but Tea Party Republican candidates as well, so long as all their candidates align on the presidential platform of Bernie Sanders. Any and all candidates who do not fall in line behind Bernie are to be replaced. In fact, the only Congressmen currently serving who do not require replacing are those Democrats who endorsed Bernie Sanders. What a gigantic waste of energy and resources this seems to be.
The Brand New Congress website asks,
“What about “Good” candidates already in Congress? Are you going to run against them?”
Owner Chakrabarti answers the question in terms worthy of any demagogue or despot, saying that,
“We won’t run against candidates that fully support the Brand New Congress platform.”
Their website shows that specific policies are still being formulated and that while they are looking to recruit candidates, none seem to have been found to date. While Brand New Congress has no realistic expectations of defeating incumbents from either party, they intend to,
“Challenge incumbents in their party primaries, running Republicans in districts where only Republicans can win, and Democrats where only Democrats win. Wherever we lose the primary, we will run an independent for a second chance at winning the seat.”
There are no current candidates identified to date on the Brand New Congress website as endorsed candidates running anywhere in the United States, and the site has not yet identified the nuts and bolts of a single real policy initiative that they hope to achieve. But take heart, supporters are able to “resist in style” by visiting the Brand New Congress store where t-shirts and bumper stickers are available at $27 and $5 a piece.
With no real candidates identified on their website to date, and having the stated goal of running their candidates as independents once they lose in party primaries, Brand New Congress should be open to the public and declare themselves as another third party. Unfortunately, it’s appears that sitting Democrats have the most cause for concern.
Despite having no candidates identified on their website, Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress have tweeted about five candidates they say they have running. It can be confirmed that one of these candidates, Chardo Richardson, the President of the Central Florida ACLU, is not running for pubic office anywhere at this time. If Mr. Richardson did chose to run in Florida’s 9th District, he would be mounting a primary challenge to sitting Democrat, Darren Soto, who in 2016 defeated Deana Grayson, the wife of former Congressman Alan Grayson, and the Bernie Sanders endorsed candidate who lost to Congressman Patrick Murphy for the 2016 Democratic senatorial nomination in Florida.
The two partner groups claim four other candidates running under the joint Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress banners. Danny Ellyson was announced by tweet on February 21, 2017, as,
Mr. Ellyson will be mounting a primary challenge against a four term Republican, Austin Scott.
A Brand New Congress tweet on February 22, 20017, claimed that Michael Franklin was running in the 6th Tennessee Congressman District as,
Mr. Franklin will be mounting a primary challenge against four term Republican Congressman, Scott DesJarlais.
A Justice Democrats tweet on February 21, 2017,
“Meet Demond Drummer, Justice Democrat and @BrandNew535 nominee from Illinois District 1.”
Democrat Bobby Rush is the current Congressional Representative from the 1st Illinois District and he has been serving his constituents since 1993. Congressman Rush is not a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Then there is Ronjonette Harrison about whom Justice Democrats tweeted on February 22, 2017,
“Meet joint @BrandNew535 nominee, Ronjonette Harrison (NY-26). Foster mom & social worker in the foster care, welfare & detention systems.”
This will mean a primary challenge against a first term Democrat, Brian Higgins.
The Sanders 2016 presidential bid was derailed in part because of the Senator’s performance in the states, mostly in the south, with the highest proportion of African American voters. Sanders admits that,
“Clearly, we did very poorly in the South,”
Secretary Hillary Clinton won the African American vote by a shocking 52.8% defeating Sanders during the nominating process by 75.9% to 23.1%.
The targeting of sitting Democrats, especially vulnerable moderates in the numerous red states where sitting Democratic Senators will be standing for reelection in 2018, and in the more moderate Congressional districts in blue states, such as New York, is a questionable strategy. It appears to be designed to continue and expand Republican control in Congress, not to build a brand new, Bernie Sanders ideologically based, progressive Congress. It also appears, in a number of cases, to be purely vindictive.
Just as Justice Democrats, the partner group of Brand New Congress, was promoted on RT Today, Brand New Congress has been getting promoted on RT Today, as well. On December 30, 2016, Lee Camp, the host of Redacted Tonight, interviewed Isra Allison, who is part of the,
“Working group of 8 volunteers has been created to lead the effort and drive the overall strategy.”
Viewers were invited to,
“Find out where things stand with Brand New Congress and how you can get involved. Also in this episode, Lee discusses President Obama’s new highly secretive Ministry of Truth.”
In March of 2017, Justice Democrats merged its operations with Brand New Congress.
RT Today promoted the launch of Justice Democrats on August 24, 2016, while also promoting Brand New Congress. Then there is that Daily Caller, Fox News, and New York Observer freelance contributor, Michael Sainato, who did a youtube interview on February 17, 2017, for the Progressive Voice, wherein Sainato discussed Senator Sanders, Justice Democrats, and a Brand New Congress.
The Republicans, who now control the White House and Congress along with the majority of our state governments are not likely to be concerned by the activities of Brand New Congress. The clear impression is the Justice Democrats/Brand New Congress cabal is not a serious challenge against any sitting member of Congress. The other possibility is that they are including Republicans as targets for primary challenges in order to deflect from the charge that this plan is a scheme to continue to erode the base of the Democratic Party. In any case it’s a disaster of an idea.
The avowed Brand New Congress mission of getting big money out of politics necessarily means that our little money, in $27 chunks, will instead foot the bill for politics as usual. Please people, be careful with your money, as you could be throwing money away on arbitrary primary challenges against safe seat Democrats, or invulnerable Republicans, who continue to block the investigations required to remove the current Russian backed Administration. This is their revenge on the Democratic Party for daring to defy Commissar Sanders.
There is a simple divide and conquer strategy that has been deployed here, designed to continue spreading discord among Democrats, squandering our time and energy on petty and pointless causes. This strategy is encouraged by Republicans, who go about the business of keeping power and using it to weaken and diminish the Democratic Party base. It is therefore imperative that we root out these kinds of cheap tricks and destroy them before they destroy us. By attaching pretty words like “Justice” and “Brand New” and “Revolution” to our time- honored customary political nomenclature, these organizations wish to make dupes of us. Who wants a brand new Congress? Many of us do, but it must be one that reduces the number of Republicans so please, don’t be fooled.