Searching for Universal Basic Income’s AOC

In politics, we must always remember that we need to continue to fight the war, even when we lose the battle. And we must recognize that sometimes, a loss can lay the groundwork for future victories. The effects of Bernie Sanders’ campaign losses in both 2016 and 2020 in no way discount the critical path his platform forged: Medicare for All is part of the national dialogue, climate change has been pushed to the forefront, and talks of socioeconomic justice are pivotal to securing Democratic voters’ support.

As proof of Sanders’ long-term political impact, we need to only look as far as the political offspring of his candidacy: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar represent a new wave of American progressivism that grew from the fertile soil that Bernie’s campaign has unearthed. It could be said that Bernie Sanders’ political loss all but guaranteed their political victories, and the victories of more candidates like them across the country. Despite the fact that AOC, Talib, Pressley, and Omar are regional candidates serving in the House, they have national reach, prominence, and importance. The entire political community — even those who disagree with them — look to these Congresswomen to drive national tone, policy, and progress.

In the 2020 election cycle, Income Movement is asking: who will carry Andrew Yang’s platform into the Congressional landscape? Which candidates will be the AOCs of universal basic income?

We have to look no further than House candidate David Kim and Senate candidate Charles Booker. These are two shining examples of candidates who carry the political torch for universal basic income. They have unique and important experiences that inform their passion for and belief in basic income. They are inspiring young, disengaged and marginalized constituents in their communities. They are the new leadership that will truly Shake Up Congress and usher in a Congressional coalition to pass a federal basic income.

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Charles Booker, running for the Senate in Kentucky and David Kim, running for the House in California’s district 34.

David Kim, campaigning in California’s 34th district, is the first Congressional candidate running on a platform of UBI to win a place in the general election. Kim’s intelligence, energy, and experience has built a strong foundation of support within his community. His campaign, focusing on financial freedom, love and justice for all Americans embodies the Humanity First spirit of Yang’s campaign. Kim’s experience and perspective is what we need in Congress.

Charles Booker is running for Senate in Kentucky to unseat Mitch McConnnell. He has deep, intergenerational roots in the state, has run and won a political campaign in the state and has experience working on bipartisan legislation he believes in. He’s also a fighter, and a passionate and eloquent speaker. These are all important indicators to being an effective Senator. When Booker talks about carrying on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the fight for guaranteed income, he speaks with the legitimacy of experience that few other 2020 candidates can. Booker has excited and inspired young voters in his state and been endorsed by the Sunrise Movement, as well as many of his own state’s House Democrats, and others. Booker’s experience and perspective is what we need in the Senate.

This is the moment for the basic income community to support candidates who both inspire their constituents as well as elevate the larger national discourse on UBI. Candidates David Kim and Charles Booker do exactly that.

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