The Hightower Report: Brand New Congress

Is an entirely new Congress even possible?

What if progressive organizers and volunteers joined forces to run a nationwide campaign to replace today's corporate-owned Congress – all at once?

Yes, one sweeping campaign against all incumbents of either party who owe their jobs to the Big Money powers. The idea is to oust those Congress critters with hundreds of coordinated, Brand New Congress campaigns running simultaneously in every state, backing local candidates publicly pledged to fight for an agenda of economic, social, environmental, and political justice.

Impossible? Not in the minds of several former Bernie Sanders staffers who conceived and implemented his campaign's successful grassroots model. They trained and empowered tens of thousands of far-flung volunteers to be autonomous organizers, digitally linked into a nationwide network, eliminating the need for and cost of a rigid hierarchy of "leaders" to boss volunteers, recognizing instead that volunteers are already leaders. Now they're applying this model to an effort called Brand New Congress, which will carry the message of authentic populism and a shared agenda of populist policy proposals.

It's to be a true bipartisan effort, running Dems in blue districts, Repubs in solid red ones, and independents wherever that makes sense. But wait – how can they get Republican candidates to run on progressive values? By recognizing that true populism is neither a right nor left theory, but a top vs. bottom reality that even middle-class and lower-income Republicans can relate to. Indeed, outside of the right-wing Congress, many rank-and-file Republicans are for stopping global trade scams and repealing Citizens United, as well as for assuring health care for all, recognizing climate change, and standing up to bigotry.

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