In politics, truth-telling can get you into trouble, even if you stumble upon it by accident. Just ask Rep. Allen West (R-FL).
West is feeling the heat for a pregnant pause he took during a town hall meeting after he was asked "What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialists?"
"It's a good question," West responded, "I believe there's [sic] about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. (Long pause) "They don't actually hide. It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus." The left became unhinged.
Obviously West touched a nerve; before long, members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) drafted their response: "Calling fellow Members of Congress 'Communists' is reminiscent of the days when Joe McCarthy divided Americans with name-calling and modern-day witch hunts that don't advance policies to benefit people's lives..."
The CPC's response is just another sign of the political times we live in. But something about their argument doesn't pass the "smell test."
While there may not be large numbers of card-carrying communists lining the halls of Congress, there is a clear tie between the Democratic Party's Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), Communist Party USA (CPUSA), and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
It really boils down to marketing. In marketing, many times the same product is given a different name or label in order to increase its appeal to certain groups. Names are sometimes changed due to the product's connection to other products, or the public's association to a prior name.
Although Progressive share much in common with CPUSA and DSA, they are shrewd enough to understand the terms "communist" or "socialist" are unpalatable for most Americans. Hence, the word "Progressive" was injected into American political verbiage. While the words are not interchangeable, one thing is for sure: The CPC is doing its part to further the goals of modern Communists and Socialists who have found a voice in the Democratic Party.
In 2002, Communist Party USA PAC leader Joelle Fishman reported CPUSA uses the Congressional Progressive Caucus as "an important lever" to "move the debate to the left." A February 2, 2010 Communist Party USA article "Convention Discussion: A Time to Grow" explained they plan to meet their goals by running for office "within the auspices of the Democratic Party" because "conditions rarely if ever allow us to run open Communists for office."