PITO: Progressive in Talk Only

 Ro is a PITO: Progressive in Talk Only

What exactly has Ro Khanna delivered to earn his progressive credentials? Is it good enough for a leader to talk about progressive issues? Or do we expect them to make demonstrable progress on these issues? What does his history speak about his effectiveness and commitment to progressive causes?

Campaign Finance: Hypocrisy on PACs

Ro Khanna spares no opportunity to remind us that he does not take PAC money. What he forgets to mention is that during his primary battle with Mike Honda, a PAC supporting him, Californians for Innovation, spent about $1.3M between 2014-2016.

His Congressional district CA-17 has a Cook Partisan Voting (Cook PVI) of +25 in favor of the Democratic Party. As the incumbent he can breeze through the election in CA-17 without his campaign requiring PAC support. 

Campaign Finance: The $50M Money-Bag

In his outreach, Ro projects himself as a person who truly cares about the marginalized and the poor; and that he will not accept money from special interests.

However within the Democratic party, he has projected himself as the Silicon Valley money-bag. We previously had written how Ro’s misrepresentations led two Presidents to endorse his opponents during the Democratic primaries- Bill Clinton in 2004 endorsed Tom Lantos, Barack Obama in 2014 endorsed Mike Honda. Presidents endorsing candidates in Congressional Primaries is a rare occurrence.

In order to work his way back, Ro’s campaign manager, Silicon Valley operator Steve Spinner, wrote to John Podesta, Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign’s Chair describing how Ro could help the party by raising $50M.

In this cycle, Ro’s tech and South Asian donors can be a source of at least $50 million for the Democratic Party in national races. Over 70% of Ro’s donors were first time donors, and many will be inspired to give big once Ro wins

His campaign raises millions of dollars every year, with 89.43% coming from large donors. He is not someone whose primary support base is small donors. Most of the contributions to Ro Khanna’s campaign come from very wealthy Silicon Valley executives, including Trump supporters like Peter Thiel 

Internet Access for School Going Children

When the COVID related shutdowns hit California in February-March, alarm bells were ringing on the impact on students from lower income homes who may not have access to the internet for distance learning. 

Different state agencies in California are working with the internet providing utilities to offer low cost internet access (eg: California Dept. of Education, Internet for All). However none of the plans are free. Parents working in lower income jobs may not be able to afford to pay for internet, especially if they have lost their jobs.

You don’t let a crisis go waste...

Ro Khanna talks about universal internet access on a regular basis. As the Congressperson from Silicon Valley, Ro Khanna had the opportunity to show leadership and make it happen during the COVID crisis. We are listing a few options Ro could have considered:

Secure Funding in CARES ACT: Congress passed a $2.2 Trillion CARES stimulus package. If Ro Khanna truly cared he could have lobbied for the $120/family needed to provide 12 months of free internet to needy households with school going children.

Silicon Valley Companies: Many Tech Giants in the valley have programs to increase internet access (Facebook, Google). Ro could have reached out to them and other Tech companies to form a corpus to fund free Internet for a year. He, after all, raises millions from them for his own campaigns!

While Ro Khanna achieved little to make free internet happen, he uses the misery of those whose education is disrupted due to lack of internet access, to bolster his progressive credentials. His FB page regularly shares stories about how the lack of internet access is affecting the marginalized (eg: 1, 2, 3).

We wish he actually did something to address the issue over the past seven months.

Medicare for All: Are Any Stakeholders Bought in?

Another issue which Ro has used to catapult himself as the flag bearer of the Progressive Movement is Medicare for All.

Medicare for All is going to transform healthcare delivery in the US. However to be realized, it needs to be backed by rigorous research and financial analysis, which can be used to form a coalition of backers.

The proposals should engender trust with the different stakeholders who would be affected: Hospitals, Labs, Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacies, Pharmaceutical Companies, Medical Equipment suppliers, Insurance Companies and the many other functions which deliver healthcare to us.

We are yet to see a comprehensive analysis beyond some vague promises of increasing efficiency and funding the program via higher taxes.

Like universal internet access, he has used the suffering of the medically underserved to project himself as an empathic leader; but has delivered very little to help further the cause.

Where is the Credibility? All Talk; No Walk

Delivering revolutionary change requires leaders whom the different stakeholders trust. However Ro Khanna’s history of lies and U-turn makes him extremely untrustworthy.

In his brief political career Ro has:

  • See progressive blogger Howie Klien's post here:
    • Claimed a false endorsement from President Clinton (2004)
    • Claimed a false backing from President Obama (2014)
    • Quit in disgrace for doctoring expense receipts after he over spent in a Student Body Election in University of Chicago
  • Made a complete U-Turn on his stand on state preferences/discrimination based on race and other protected classes (SCA5/ACA5/Prop16)
  • Refuse to be critical of Pakistan, after joining the Pakistani caucus, in spite of Pakistan’s continuous support to Terrorism (PM Khan eulogizing Osama bin Laden as a martyr), and gross human rights violations of ethnic & religious minorities.
  • Used PAC money extensively to get elected but positioning himself as an opponent to Citizens United.

We strongly believe that the residents of Silicon Valley deserve a trust-worthy leader; someone who represents the values of hard work and innovation which make the valley the preferred destination of entrepreneurs from across the globe.

We do not need a smooth talking millionaire lawyer, an inveterate liar, and who can not keep his promises, and uses the sufferings of the under-served only to bolster his progressive credentials.

A person who can not deliver free internet to poor families with school going children during COVID-19, when Trillions of Dollars are being given out in stimulus, is unlikely to deliver the broad coalition needed to make Medicare for All, happen.

Please join us in unseating #RoKhanna. #HoHoHoRoMustGo!

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