What Will It Take for the Congressional Progressive Caucus to Win?

Splinter | 3/21/2019 | Staff
malik778 (Posted by) Level 3
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All of a sudden, it’s popular to be progressive.

The unexpectedly competitive Democratic primary of 2016, pitting Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders, quickly became a battle of “progressives” versus “progressives who get things done.” And in the Democrats’ search for identity following Clinton’s soul-crushing general election loss to Donald Trump, Democratic candidates at all levels throughout the 2018 election cycle wore the progressive badge, even if their definition of “progressive” was sometimes rather ambiguous.

Majority - Congress - Class - Lawmakers - Agenda

Now, there’s a Democratic majority in Congress, and along with it a diverse class of new lawmakers proposing an agenda which is resolutely radical by the standards of the last 50 years of American politics, on issues ranging from climate change to healthcare to America’s interventions in other countries.

For nearly 30 years, the Congressional Progressive Caucus has been the primary legislative home for the Democratic left. Formed in 1991 by a small group of House lawmakers, including longtime Rep. Maxine Waters and Sanders, and currently chaired by Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Mark Pocan, the CPC now boasts over 90 members. With such large numbers—and with both progressive ideas and left-wing politicians as influential as they have been in generations—the CPC is, in theory, ideally placed to wage significant influence in Washington.

CPC - Groupings - House - Freedom - Caucus

But historically, that’s not how the CPC has operated. While Republican groupings like the House Freedom Caucus operate as a unified army, the CPC tends to let its members go their own way. And despite its name, it doesn’t even have an ideologically unified makeup; in fact, over a dozen members of the CPC also have membership in the New Democratic Coalition, which has historically represented the more pro-business wing of the party.

What, exactly, is the CPC for these days?

Rep - Ro - Khanna - Liberal - House

Rep. Ro Khanna, a top liberal in the House who serves as the vice chair of the CPC, doesn’t...
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