In case you missed the memo, there’s an election around the corner. Things are getting contentious in fundraising and door knocking and local nightly news is all “SCANDAL” or “so-and-so has pulled ahead!” If you’re in Florida, all you’ve heard about this week is that Governor Rick Scott threw a tantrum as a broadcast debate was starting because there was an electric fan on his podium. For you non-Floridians, that isn’t an Onion creation. Turns out, the fan posed a threat to his famous spray-on tan.
Is this democracy? Spray on tans and scandals?
Even our “legitimate” democratic institutions seem to have gone off the deep end.
The DCCC is making even life-long, super committed dems unsubscribe and consider jumping ship. They’re putting Al Franken’s email barrage to shame.
The way they’re going about asking for our support — aka our money — is almost as problematic as how much of it they seem to need and their complete intransigence on how to dish it out. They’re using tactics from the early days of email, making them look like they miss the strategies immortalized in movies like “Primary Colors” and “Wag the Dog.” It’s no wonder people under 35 aren’t excited about volunteering and loath to “get on board” with electoral politics.
Also, there are races in rural Texas and upstate New York and the nether regions of New Mexico and pinkish, purplish Arkansas where some solid candidates have a real shot at local, statewide and national elections. But if the “big D” democratic party isn’t already sure they can win, they aren’t putting money into it. What’s the point of that? Are we only throwing our money behind sure fire winners now? What kind of sense does that make?
No sense, obviously. It feeds into the disconnect that’s part of the larger problem of money in politics exacerbated by Citizens United and solidified by McCutcheon. I’ve held Lawrence Lessig’s “SuperPac to end all SuperPacs” — May Day Pac — up as a possible remedy to some of the ills money in politics have caused and today I bring you good news: MayDay is underway.
They met their initial fundraising and matching goals for the launch and to date they're at more than $11 million raised on over 64,000 individual donations. This has enabled them to jump in during the 2014 and 2016 election cycles, supporting candidates who favor campaign reform. Their objectives remain: (a) to convince Congress of the salience of this issue to voters, and (b) determine how best to intervene to move voters on the basis of this issue. In 2017, the focus will be pressing Congress and the White House to pass and sign legislation reforming how elections are funded.
Obviously, like any group, they could use your money if you want to get behind their goals. Even more than that, they need something we’re pretty good at around here: amplification. Follow them @MayDayUS on twitter and sign up to volunteer at MayDay.us. Watch for the results of this week’s video contest — with judges like George Takei, Cenk Uygur and Baratunde Thurston, there is guaranteed to be some buzz about the results.
Oh, and they’re backing candidates! So if you want something to get excited about next month, check out their “Anti-Corruption Candidates” fact sheet on the website to learn about the eight reformers to root for. MayDay has candidates in Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, New Hamphire, North Carolina and South Dakota — that last one is especially important as it could keep the Senate out of Mitch McConnell’s hands.Obviously, voting remains important despite our disillusionment and frustration with money in politics. That’s part of what’s so brilliant about MayDay. They’re looking for ways to reform our process, making it more democratic — without telling us to disengage as that work gets done. They are unique in that they aren’t throwing in the towel — they’re looking to make the game more fair as we play.
Support the MayDayPac candidates: ”Candidate Fact Sheet
Sources/additional glimmers of hope:
MayDay in the News round-up
"In Wisconsin, Dark Money Got a Mining Company What It Wanted: An accidentally released court filing reveals how one company secretly gave money to a nonprofit that helped get favorable mining legislation passed.” by Theodoric Meyer at ProPublica
Find out more about Dark Money: Money in Politics -- See Who's Giving & Who's Getting at OpenSecrets.org
Hear the segment in context:
Revisit the original action/segment: "MayDay PAC - via @MayOneUS - Best of the Left Activism” from BotL episode 839 (06/24/14): "Disinfecting the rot on American democracy (Money in Politics)”
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich