- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

After disastrous midterm elections for Democrats, some progressives are looking to reboot the party by injecting it with fresh “big ideas” and already have secured the backing of powerful party leaders in their effort.

The Progressive Change Institute — a sister organization of the 1 million-member Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) — on Wednesday rolled out its “Big Ideas Project,” an initiative which calls on all Americans to submit issues that they think should be at the forefront of the national conversation heading into the 2016 elections.

Twenty-nine lawmakers, including outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and progressive darling Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have agreed to “seriously consider” the ideas and possibly incorporate them into new legislation.

The campaign comes after many progressives called out President Obama and other party leaders and claimed they failed to articulate a clear agenda before the 2014 elections, which resulted in devastating defeats for Democrats, including the loss of the Senate.

“Democrats lost in 2014 because they failed to inspire Americans with bold ideas that would tangibly improve people’s lives. Since the election, we’ve been calling on Democratic leadership to remold their party as the party of big ideas — especially bold, economic populist ideas like those Elizabeth Warren champions,” said Stephanie Taylor, PCCC co-founder.

The organization will accept ideas through the end of December. After that, the PCCC says it will conduct polling and identify the 20 most popular policy suggestions and those will be submitted to Mr. Reid, Ms. Warren and other lawmakers for review.

Thus far, the submitted ideas include: automatic voter registration; demilitarizing police forces nationwide; ending secret grand juries for police prosecutions; national broadband; discharging student loan debt; single-payer healthcare; a financial transaction tax on Wall Street; and others.

In addition to Mr. Reid and Ms. Warren, other Democrats who have signed on to the initiative include: Sen. Jon Tester of Montana; Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York; Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota; Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota; Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida; Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas; and others.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont also has signed on.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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