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Cenk Uygur: Can Progressives Reclaim the Democratic Party?

Sharon Kyle: Cenk is viewed as a kindred spirit by many in the Caucus, partly because of his unyielding progressive stance but also because Uygur is no stranger to challenging the status quo.
cenk uygur progressive caucus

This article is about an event that had not yet happened. Since it was published there have been updates. Click here to find out what happened at the convention.

Cenk Uygur, host and co-founder of The Young Turks, will address the California Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus at its upcoming state convention in San Diego this Saturday, February 11th. The topic: Can Progressives Reclaim the Democratic Party?

The Progressive Caucus, which had its certification tabled by the CDP for several months during 2011, was the only caucus of 19 not to be re-certified. Because the abeyance of the certification came on the heels of the Progressive Caucus' written expression of dissatisfaction with several of President Obama's policies, it was rumored the CDP punished the caucus by delaying its certification.

During the months the caucus was in limbo as a “non-caucus”, it was stripped of the right to use the name "Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party" and all of its caucus privileges including access to funds.

The Progressive Caucus stood on its 1st Amendment right to free speech and its obligation to stand up for progressive policies and continued to conduct business, in some cases using monies provided by its members and officers.

In November, the Caucus was returned to its official certified status. The CDP explained that party leadership would never infringe upon any caucus' first amendment right to free speech and that the delay in certification had nothing to do with the Caucus' written expression of dissatisfaction with many of President Obama's policies. However, many in the caucus felt they were singled out and punished for challenging the status quo.

So this week, in its first gathering since the November re-certification, the Progressive Caucus invited Cenk Uygur to appear as its guest speaker. Cenk is viewed as a kindred spirit by many in the Caucus, partly because of his unyielding progressive stance but also because Uygur is no stranger to challenging the status quo.

A one-time Republican who is a staunch critic of the Republican Party and a sometime critic of the Democratic Party, Uygur is known for his outspoken and unapologetic progressive positions, which garnered him national attention as the host of The Young Turks, an online news show that attracts the largest audience on the Internet.

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In 2010, Uygur was invited by MSNBC to appear as a political commentator. His popularity with the viewing audience quickly led to a weeknight MSNBC commentary show. Then, as suddenly as his show appeared, it was yanked and replaced with Al Sharpton's Politics Nation.

In a brutally honest video, taped shortly after Cenk's show was removed, Uygur explains what happened.

This video contains Uygurs full inside story. But, if you don't have time to watch the video, in a nutshell, Cenk was told that his tone wasn't right for Washington. He was warned to change it. He wouldn't change his tone – he lost his slot.

After losing his slot on MSNBC, Uygur's TYT show was picked up by Current TV and began airing on December 5, 2011 before Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Most recently, after seeing the momentum of Occupy Wall Street, Uygur decided to launch a long-term project of his own, a Political Action Committee named Wolf-PAC.

Wolf-PAC aims to lobby state legislators to pass Resolutions calling for a constitutional convention. If this convention is formed, the aim is then to pass an Amendment to the United States Constitution which would end corporate personhood (also reversing Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission), limit private funding of elections and end super-PACs, three issues which Uygur calls "Legalized bribery".

You can meet Cenk at the Progressive Caucus meeting at The California Democratic Party State Convention on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 8:00pm in Room Indigo AE at the San Diego Convention Center, 111 West Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA. To learn more about the convention, click here.

sharon kyle

Sharon Kyle

Sharon Kyle
Publisher, LA Progressive