This ukulele-strumming Hawaiian congressional candidate makes a pretty compelling case for democratic socialism

Kaniela Ing makes his pitch for a House seat, democratic socialism
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Kaniela Ing)

On a practical level, this new campaign ad from Hawaii state House member and congressional candidate Kaniela Ing is a pitch for voters in Hawaii's 1st congressional district to pick him over six rivals in Saturday's Democratic primary. It is also, as New York's The Cut suggests, probably "the chillest campaign ad you've ever seen." But if you're in the right frame of mind — like, say, at work — Ing, 29, makes a pretty compelling case for democratic socialism, reminding Americans that they work too much and policies can fix that.

"We can have an economy when you only have to work one job," says Ing, strumming a ukulele on a bench by the ocean. "You used to have time to spend with your friends and family, just chilling on the beach like this, playing music." Native Hawaiians "are some of the most productive people on the planet," he said, able to get everything they need in four or five hours "and then have the rest of the time to surf, to do art, to do all kids of stuff, and that's how it should be."

"There's this conservative myth that say, like, if everyone had their basic needs cared for, that they would just sit around all day," Ing said. "But that's just not the reality, that's not how our minds work." If you asked people what they'd do if they didn't have to worry about their basic needs, he said, "the answers are amazing. People would start businesses, they'd get into art, get into music, all these things that are lacking in our world. All this stuff is possible." The democratic socialist wing of the Democratic Party, apparently led by New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, had a rough Tuesday in the Midwest and Washington State, but if they explain their ideas like this, who's going to take the pro-daily grind side? Peter Weber

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