Why Ro Khanna is calling for party unity

Episode 36 with Ro Khanna

On this week’s episode of Krystal Kyle & Friends, we’re speaking with Representative Ro Khanna of California. We’re looking forward to hearing the full story of his political and personal journey to the House, his work with other House progressives and with the Bernie 2020 campaign, and his push for the current budget bill. (If you want to hear budget chairman Bernie Sanders weigh in on the bill, you can hear Krystal’s interview with him here.)

John Nichols writes about Khanna’s support for the budget in the Nation, capturing his combined acceptance of the bill’s limitations and enthusiasm for its victories — expanding Medicare, boosting child tax credits, and creating more paid leave among them. Seeking to overcome the roadblock posed to the bill by corporate-backed centrists, Khanna has made an appeal to Democratic party unity:

Everyone has to compromise in Congress. I want Medicare for All; that’s not in the bill. I want free public college; that’s not in the bill. I want student-loan forgiveness for working families; that’s not in the bill. Guess what? You know whose bill it is? President Joe Biden. Last I understood, he won election as president. The Democratic Party needs to unify around his agenda to help people, and anyone who votes ‘no’ on this is sabotaging Joe Biden and sabotaging the Democratic Party’s agenda.

The greatest displays of party unity that we’ve seen in the past few years have been in favor of the party’s corporatist element. From rallying around centrist campaigns to thwart Sanders in the 2020 primary, to recently backing a non-binding budget amendment that would punish localities that defund their police forces, Democrats in the Senate and House approach the appeal to “party unity” as a tool they can wield to squash progressive movements or legislature.

Khanna’s approach is different, and it’s worth discussing what strategies progressives should have to make sure that Medicare for All isn’t left out next time. We’re looking forward to hearing his thoughts on the battle for the budget bill, the political struggle for a Green New Deal, what it means to be a “progressive” in the Democratic Party, and much more. Video is available for paid subscribers on Friday, and everyone can listen to the conversation audio on Saturday through Substack, Spotify, Pandora, Apple Podcasts, and much more.