Though a party platform is a guideline and does not guarantee action, the idea of universal basic income (UBI) took a step from theory towards possibility when it was adopted as part of the 2018 official party platform of the California Democratic Party at the 2018 California Democrats State Convention, which was published February 25.
"The platform is a statement of general principles and specific policies we believe should be be the basis for public policy. It's not meant to be read or understood as a legislative document. However, we certainly support legislation that's in line with our platform," John Vigna, the communications director for the California Democratic Party, tells CNBC Make It.
In a section of the party platform titled "economic justice," the idea of cash handouts is addressed.
"All people deserve the opportunity to pursue the American Dream and have the financial resources to live in economic security. We support efforts to enact programs, such as a guaranteed government jobs program and a universal basic income/rent or housing to eliminate poverty while improving prospects to secure good jobs that help people climb the economic ladder," the party platform reads.
The concept of universal basic income is to distribute money to all citizens, irrespective of employment status.
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, a vocal advocate of universal basic income, cheered the inclusion of cash handouts in the state party platform.
"California Democrats included a guaranteed income in the official party platform for the first time in decades!" he tweeted.
California Democrats included a guaranteed income in the official party platform for the first time in decades!
Hughes published a book about UBI, "Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn," on Feb. 20.
Though naysayers argue cash handouts would be prohibitively expensive and encourage laziness, the idea is gaining traction. Forty-eight percent of Americans support it, according to a new Northeastern University/Gallup survey, reports CNBC.
It's also been getting attention among billionaires and Silicon Valley elite.
"There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation," Tesla and SpaceX CEO Musk told CNBC in November 2016. "Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen."