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Both Parties Are Very Sick— Just Listen To Adam Kinzinger And Bernie Sanders

Adam Kinzinger was Jonathan Karl’s guest on This Week yesterday. The conservative Illinois Republican has so broken with his party that he really is voting with the Democrats more than any other Republican in the last couple of months. Just last week, he was one of just 8 Republicans to vote for the Right to Contraception Act, one of just 15 Republicans who voted against the motion to commit that bill, one of just 47 Republicans to vote for the Respect for [gay and interracial] Marriage Act, one of just 3 Republicans to vote for the Access to Abortion Act… He’s voted less than any other Republican with Majorie Traitor Greene.

When asked if the select committee’s work is having an impact on Republicans, he basically said not in the House. “Every day I ceased to be amazed at how much they're willing to accept and not say anything.” As far as the Republican base, he seems to sense that they’re the problem. “[Y]ou have kind of the bulk of Republican voters, this doesn't appear to be having, you know, a ton of impact, maybe people are shifting more towards a potential for, I don't know, a Ron DeSantis. Trumpism isn't dying even though Trump is becoming irrelevant. What I'm hearing, a lot of anecdotal stuff around the edges of people who have been, you know, hard core with Trump that now just can't stand him. It's enough to make a bit of a difference within maybe a GOP primary, but I think on the bigger term it's denying anywhere near 50 percent of the American voters willing to basically go along with something like the coup on January 6th. I think though long term, Jonathan, in like five years I still believe it's going to be hard to find somebody that will admit they were ever a Trump supporter. And I think that's where this impact comes in, as future history.”

Asked if he thinks Trump will be prosected by the Department of Justice. He said he wonders what DoJ has been doing for the last year and a half, but he seemed guardedly optimistic that Garland could move based on the weight of the evidence. I can’t believe he really thinks that. Everyone knows DoJ will never prosecute Trump. It’s all a dance. Even Kinzinger, who would love see Trump behind bars, said “we never want to get in a position as a country, what you see in failed democracies, where every last administration is prosecuted. But there is a massive difference between going to prosecute the last administration for political vengeance and not prosecuting an administration that literally attempted a failed coup. That is a… that is a precedent I'm way more concerned about: if there is evidence that this happened from a judicial perspective, if there's the ability to move forward on prosecuting, and you don't, you have basically set the floor for future behavior of any president. And I don't think a democracy can survive that. So, I certainly hope they’re moving forward. I certainly think there’s evidence of crimes. And I think it goes all the way up to Donald Trump.”

The final question from Karl was about how Kinzinger felt about Bannon being found guilty. Kinzinger didn’t beat around the bush: “It’s good. I mean justice, right… You can plead the Fifth if you want in front of our committee, but you can’t ignore a congressional subpoena, or you’ll pay the price. That’s to any future witnesses too.”

Last night Bernie addressed progressives with an update about what’s going on it Washington from both a policy perspective and a political perspective. He tried bolstering everyone’s spirits by going through the progressives who won their primaries in blue seats, like Greg Casar and Jasmine Crockett in Texas, Summer Lee from Pittsburgh, Delia Ramirez and Jonathan Jackson from Illinois. He talked about helping reelect Rashida Tlaib and Andy Levin in Michigan. Then he lit into the SuperPACs, “funded by some of the wealthiest people in this country,” for going after progressives like Levin and Tlaib and candidates like Nina Tuner and Jessica Cisneros. “Why,” he asked. “The answer is two-fold.

“First, they do not want members of Congress who have the courage to stand up to the ruling class of this country and the billionaires who dominate our economic and political life. What these guys want, very clearly, are two political parties— which will have their differences to be sure— but both parties, from the economic perspective will be dominated by corporate interests.” This would have been a perfect time to introduce American progressives to the real life person Wall Street (and AIPAC and the Republican billionaires behind both) have tasked with carrying that out, their choice to be House Democratic leader: Hakeem Jeffries. But Jeffries went unmentioned. No one’s going to talk about him but fringe lefties like myself until it is too late to do anything about his ascension. I mean if Bernie won’t mention him, who the hell will? Instead he used the word “they” instead of “Hakeem.” Like this:

“They don’t want people in the Democratic Party who are going to stand up and say, ‘You know what, we have to deal with income and wealth inequality; we have to make sure that workers can join unions; we have to raise the minimum wage and all the other fights that we are waging. They don’t want those guys; they are very clear about it. They want corporate Democrats.” He just described Team Hakeem: Jeffries, Josh Gottheimer, Pete Aguilar, Terri Sewell, Jim Clyburn… as well as some of the hangers on, like Tony Cárdenas, Shontel Brown, Mark Pocan, Scott Peters, Sean Patrick Maloney, Sean Casten, Haley Stevens, Dean Phillips, Joyce Beatty, etc.

Next he described Jeffries’ and his allies’ strategy, again without even using Jeffries' initials. “They are sending a message to you and to people all over this country who are thinking of running for office… that we have are eyes on you and if you run as a progressive we will spend whatever it takes to defeat you. You may win but by the time we’re through with you we’re going to have ugly, dishonest 30 second ads on TV and the radio and all that stuff; we’re going to make your life miserable because we are the ruling class of this country and we don’t want you messing with us. And that is the message. So their message is not only to defeat the candidates of the day but to make it clear that anybody who wants to run as a progressive, who has the courage to take on big money, to fight for economic justice, social justice, racial justice, environmental justice… you’re going to suffer, boy, before you get elected. That is their message.”

Then he made a pitch for “real campaign finance reform,” which we have seen is a political dead end without a revolution. And then another depressing topic he doesn’t want to think we’ve already lost— what kind of party the Democratic Party will be. You should listen; it’s a nice dream… and it’s what we’re fighting for:


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