Khanna: Dems must buck establishment to win

Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaOvernight Defense: House votes to end US support for Saudis in Yemen | Vote puts Trump in veto bind | Survey finds hazards in military housing | Senators offer new bill on Russia sanctions House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen Congress poised to put Trump in veto bind MORE (D-Calif.) is calling on his party to start promoting a new wave of candidates who buck the mold of the establishment.

In an interview on the Hill.TV's "Rising," Khanna said that Democrats need to look for candidates running for offices who “aren’t traditional and who don’t have a traditional background.”

Khanna said that the party doesn’t do a good job supporting working-class and less wealthy candidates who, he argued, can better represent their own constituencies.

“We need to do better. Part of the problem is that it takes $2 million to run a winning campaign against an incumbent for Congress and that’s really hard if you’re a working family.”

Khanna said that he believes the party needs to turn its eye to these types of candidates, adding that the Internet can be a help.

“The hope is that the online movement —  and that’s what you’ve seen in Alexandria [Ocasio-Cortez]’s case and Richard Ojeda’s case. I think that’s going to make it possible to run without big donors, without the establishment.”

Democratic incumbents and more establishment-minded candidates are facing an insurgency from progressive candidates in some races. Such candidates which include Ocasio-Cortez and Ojeda, who are bashing the establishment for taking corporate donations and ignoring the needs of their constituents.

Ocasio-Cortez is challenging Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyGOP lawmaker: Amazon would be moving into NY if Ocasio-Cortez wasn't elected Crowley says he 'didn’t underestimate' Ocasio-Cortez in primary challenge Ocasio-Cortez on 2020: ‘I don’t want to be placated as a progressive’ MORE (D-N.Y.) in a primary to be decided on Tuesday. Khanna has endorsed both candidates.

Ojeda backed Trump in 2016 but has since criticized the president and is running as a Democrat for a House seat in West Virginia.

Khanna has been a vocal advocate for shifting the perception of the Democratic party and getting rid of establishment figures. When Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFeinstein says she thinks Biden will run after meeting with him Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao seeks to clarify past remarks on date rape Bottom Line MORE (D-Calif.), who has served as a senator since 1992, said she would run again, Khanna undercut her.

“Feinstein is out of touch with the grassroots of our party on economic policy and foreign policy,” Khanna told Vox after her reelection announcement. “She continues to cling to office as a voice for the status quo.”

During the interview on Monday, Khanna also pushed his progressive “jobs for all legislation.”

"So many times you hear politicians say we'll give you job training...and people say it doesn't lead to a job,” he said.

“We've got to actually provide jobs, get people into those jobs and then if they're getting credentials while they're working, fine. But there has to be a recognition. People have been left out," he added.

Khanna's district, which includes Silicon Valley, has experienced increasing tensions over income disparity related to the presence of high-paying companies such as Google and Facebook. The district is also home to a number of professionals and blue-collar workers with comparatively lower pay. 

— Ali Breland