In the wake of Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, a progressive group called the Justice Democrats jumped into action. If the liberal establishment had failed to keep Trump from power, clearly it was time for some fresh political blood. The group embarked on a hunt for potential candidates, putting out a nationwide call for nominations of community leaders who might make good members of Congress.
The following year, Justice Democrats invited a few standouts among those nominees to “The Candidate Summit,” a gathering in Frankfort, Kentucky. You’ve already heard a lot about one of them: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — now a freshman Congresswoman, social media maven, and pied piper for American progressives.
But you probably have not heard about another one of the people there: 35-year-old grassroots organizer Demond Drummer, who was at the time cofounder of a group that teaches computer science to kids on Chicago’s South Side. At that summit, Drummer realized that running for office wasn’t for him, at least for the time being. Instead, it sparked another idea: Creating a new progressive think tank that would explore how to jumpstart a more equitable society.