Political Corruption Activism Opportunities

  • Build the Blue Wave: Confirm, Prepare & GOTV for Midterms 2018

    Blue_wave_vote_graphic.pngNovember is coming… and there has been a lot of talk about a so-called “blue wave” that I’m sure we’re already taking for granted. But we must keep reminding ourselves that the wave will not happen because we simply feel like it will. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take our free time and weekends. It’s going to take our limited patience and energy. And it is absolutely THE most important thing we will do in the Trump era.

    With a deluge of voter suppression laws in recent years, voting isn’t easy. It requires research and, depending on your situation, may require time sensitive actions ahead of election day. So here are your steps and resources for becoming a blue-wave-builder as we head into the midterm elections…

    1) Double, triple, maybe even quadruple, check that you are registered and on the voter rolls. Sadly, this is not just an action for people who have recently moved, this is for everyone. During the primaries there were multiple reports of long time residents heading to the polls only to find that they were not on the rolls. Those voters had to fill out provisional ballots. With the Supreme Court upholding Ohio’s purge of voter rolls if voters had skipped a few elections, every single one of us needs to be on guard when it comes to our voter registration status. Go to RocktheVote.org and under the “Resources” tab select “Voter Registration Lookup Tool.” Enter your information to confirm or check your voter registration for your current address. The results are almost instant. It’d be wise to check multiple times leading up to November 6th.

    2) Make sure you, and everyone you know, understands your state’s voter ID laws inside and out…and make time to make changes. Did your name change recently? If you live in a state with a voter ID law, you may need to get a new ID to ensure your name matches your voter registration. VoteRiders.org focuses entirely on helping people understand voter ID laws in their states and get what they need to vote. You can check out their voter ID info cards for each state on their website and/or call their hotline for help at 844-338-8743.

    3) Know your state’s cutoff date for voter registration and absentee ballot dates and rules. When it comes to registering, every state is different. Some let you register to vote the day before election day and other’s have registration cut offs months in advance. Some states’s require certain excuses to request an absentee ballot. Learn these rules for your state and be an evangelist for voting knowledge. Go to RocktheVote.org and under the “Get Ready to Vote” dropdown select “State Information.” There you will be able to easily find your state’s election dates and deadlines and other state-specific info.

    4) Help other people with steps 1, 2 and 3. Whether it’s an elderly family member or neighbor, or just a super busy parent you know, help educate people in your community on your state’s laws and encourage them to not only register, but confirm their voter registration and prepare for voter ID laws. Drive them to the town hall or the DMV if they need a ride, or offer to watch the kids while they go. Support each other in the name of democracy. And don’t forget to share the info social media too.

    5) And finally, join a get out the vote effort. There is so much on the line in this election and the results will impact the country for decades to come, especially the most vulnerable among us. We need people on the ground canvassing and registering voters EARLY. Find a local chapter of a Get Out the Vote effort like Rock The Vote and NextGen America, or GOTV arms of organizations like the ACLU (& check local chapters), the NAACP, NARAL, League of Women Voters, and Let America Vote.

    Together, we have the power to build a blue tsunami in November.

    So, if making sure the blue wave becomes a reality is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Build the Blue Wave: Confirm Voter Registration & Get Out the Vote for Midterms 2018 via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

    TAKE ACTION

    5 Steps & Resources to Build the “Blue Wave” for Midterms 2018:

    1. CONFIRM VOTER REGISTRATION: rockthevote.org “Voter Registration Lookup Tool” 

    2. LEARN/SHARE VOTER ID LAWS: VoteRiders.org State Voter ID Law Info Cards  

    3. LEARN/SHARE CUTOFF DATES/DEADLINES: rockthevote.org State Information

    4. HELP OTHERS register, check registration, learn dates. Share information in person and on social media!

    5. JOIN A LOCAL REGISTRATION/GET OUT THE VOTE EFFORT:

    Rock The Vote | NextGen America | ACLU (& check local chapters) | NAACP | NARAL | League of Women Voters | Let America Vote 

     

    Posted June 29, 2018; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1193: Fighting for a representative democracy (Voting Rights and Gerrymandering) 

     

  • #GetMoneyOut of Politics with @WolfPAChq @AllofUs @JusticeDems @RepresentdotUS

    represent.jpgWe’ve all spent much of the last few years lamenting the increasing polarization of our country, so it’s easy to forget that there is still one thing that most Americans agree on: getting corporate money OUT of politics. In poll after poll, the vast majority of democrats, independents and republicans, oppose the Citizens United decision and see special interest lobbying and election spending as negatively impacting our politics. 

    And that is what makes our current reality all the more troubling. 

    We had the largest mass shooting in US history this year, but Congress is trying to pass NRA- approved gun legislation. We’ve seen devastating damage from some of the strongest hurricanes in history this year, but Trump and Republicans have rolled back environmental protections at fossil fuel industry’s request. We’ve barely recovered form the Great Recession of 2008 and yet our government continues to let the banks run wild and deregulate Wall St. It’s all so wildly out of touch with how Americans feel that we’re actually seeing Republicans just flat out admitting that they’re doing their donors bidding. As they failed to defend their scam of a tax bill, Representative Chris Collins said, on television, “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again.’  

    If there was a ever a time to join forces and come together, it’s now. There are many groups fighting money in politics, but each of them have a slightly different approach. Here are a few we suggest…

    First up, Wolf PAC, founded by The Young Turks, is going state by state to call for a Constitutional Convention. They believe that a new Constitutional amendment is the only way to stop money in politics and level the playing field. You can join up with a chapter in your state and learn more at wolf-pac.com. 

    Next, we have All of Us, which launched We Will Replace You dot org to target corporate democrats, has recently announced that they’ve merged with Justice Democrats. Justice Democrats, as you may recall, is backing progressive candidates that refuse to take corporate or PAC money. Head over to allofus.org or justicedemocrats.org to get involved. 

    And finally, Represent.Us is fighting money in politics by putting municipal anti-corruption laws on the ballot at the local and state level. They’ve already succeeded in dozens of cities and states and are currently defending the legislation that passed in South Dakota and is now under attack. Head over to Represent.us to learn more and join the fight. 

    And, if you’re really hardcore, Represent.Us is hosting the Unrig the System Summit in early February in New Orleans. This 3 day event at Tulane University aims to bring together “the brightest minds from the right and left” to get money out of politics. The lineup of speakers includes MayDay PAC founder Lawrence Lessig, Cenk Uyger of The Young Turks, former White House Ethics Counsel for George W. Bush, Richard Painter, Nina Turner of Our Revolution, and Represent dot Us Board members Jennifer Lawrence and Kerry Washington. You can learn more about the summit and register at unrigsummit.com.

    So, if making sure we have free and fair elections and an actual democracy is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Getting Money Out of Politics via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

    TAKE ACTION 

    Get money OUT of politics by getting involved with... 

    Wolf PAC

    All of Us and Justice Democrats

    Represent.Us (check out their Unrig the System Summit)


    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    House Republican: my donors told me to pass the tax bill “or don’t ever call me again” (Vox)

    8 Things You Can Do to Help Get Money Out of Politics (Bill Moyers & Co; 2014)

    4 Solutions to Fight the Corruptive Influence of Money in Politics (League of Women Voters; 2015)

     

    Posted December 15, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1152: Rise of the oligarchy (Money in Politics) 

     

     

     

  • You Can Transform the Democratic Party via @JusticeDems @DemSocialists & @TheDemocrats

    Square_transform_the_DNC.pngAfter the presidential election, the Democratic National Committee chose to do a “Unity Reform Commission,” but not a public autopsy on the party. To correct that glaring oversight, an organization called “Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis” formed to conduct an analysis and suggest a new path forward. While this group does not attempt or claim that their report is comprehensive, they focus on some of the party’s most crucial flaws, fissures and opportunities. 

    You can read the full report at DemocraticAutopsy.org, but here is a brief portion from the final chapter of the report, entitled “The Party and the Future"...

    Operating from a place of defensiveness and denial will not turn the party around. Neither will status quo methodology. When discussing the loss of the presidency, we deny ourselves a deeper assessment if the conversation is limited to Clinton and Sanders, what their campaigns and supporters did and didn’t do, and what should have been done. In fairness to Clinton, much of the party’s weakness was in place well before her 2016 run. What must now take place includes honest self-reflection and confronting a hard truth: that many view the party as often in service to a rapacious oligarchy and increasingly out of touch with people in its own base.

    Revitalized progressive populism — multicultural, multiracial and multigenerational — means fighting for genuine democracy. Outmoded narratives and facile calls for “unity” must be replaced with a new vision of politics that is explicitly inclusive and participatory. The party must learn how to speak a populist tongue that is in sync with real advocacy for a clear agenda, putting public needs above corporate profits. An imperative is to find common political denominators that are inspirational and practical, cutting across demographic lines while building foundations for social advancement and a humane future. 

    So, what can you do to ensure this advice is taken seriously and turns into actionable steps within the Democratic Party? Well, you have to get involved and fight for it. That can mean many things, but here are three ways you can jump in and start pushing for reform:

    Many of you have heard about Justice Democrats, the response to the weakness and corporatization of the Democratic Party. Candidates endorsed and supported by Justice Democrats believe in progressive Democratic ideals and policies, but refuse to take corporate donations. They are primary-ing the most corporate Democrats in the country no matter how long they have served in office, such as Diane Feinstein of California. If you believe in this method, head over to JusticeDemocrats.org, read their platform, check out their candidates and start volunteering for or donating to their campaigns. Or, you could become a Justice Democrat candidate yourself. 

    If you’re looking to push the party left by electing more Democratic Socialists, a la Bernie Sanders, then you may want to get involved with the Democratic Socialists of America, or DSA. DSA candidates had some big wins in local elections around the country in November and you can help build on that momentum by donating or volunteering to support DSA candidates at DSAUSA.org. Or, once again, you could become a DSA candidate yourself. 

    And finally, remember that the Democratic Party is made up of the people that show up. So, if you want the Democratic Party to change, then you are going to want to find your local DNC Chapter and show up. Be ready to face resistance when you’re inside telling them what they are doing wrong, but more progressives getting involved in the DNC on the local level is never a bad thing. The website for the Association of State Democratic Chairs is a good place to start. Head over to ASDC.democrats.org to find your state party and drill down to find your local chapter. And, of course, you could always become a candidate yourself.  

    At the end of the day, this is an all of the above strategy and change can only be made through pressure from both outside and within. So get behind the method you feel most strongly about and together we might be able to make the Democratic Party the party of the people again.  

    So, if making Democrats wake up to their failures and pushing them to change course is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Transforming the Democratic Party via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

    TAKE ACTION!

    Read the report: Autopsy: The Democratic Party in Crisis

    Get involved with Justice Democrats (or become a candidate!)

    Get involved with Democratic Socialists of America (or become a candidate!)

    Get involved in your local Democratic National Committee chapter (or become a candidate!)

     

    Posted November 28, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1148: Understanding the past to rebuild for the future (Democratic Party)

     

  • Fight Corruption to Save America via @JusticeDems @WolfPAChq @RepresentDotUs

    liberty_and_justice_for_sale.pngAs our country marks its 241st birthday, this year of all years is especially ripe for reflection. Where we’ve been heading and where we are right now - politically and socially - is disturbing to say the least, but we can still change course. If nothing else, as Americans we can be proud of our track record of change and progress. It may be made with two steps forward and one step back, but eventually we get there. 

    But we don’t get there because of famous politicians and speeches. We get there because people like you care enough to get involved and push us in the right direction. So, today we’re highlighting three effective ways you can roll up your sleeves and fight corruption and money in politics - the primary sources of our ills as a nation. 

    If you’re passionate about pushing for change from the inside, get involved with Justice Democrats. Justice Democrats believes that the Democratic Party’s alignment with Wall Street over working men and women has allowed Republicans to take over most state legislatures, most governorships, Congress, and the presidency. Their plan is to promote quality, progressive candidates to replace corporate-backed Democrats and in turn, rebuild the Democratic Party from scratch to be a party that fights for a clear progressive vision. Visit JusticeDemocrats.com to read about the candidates and get involved. 

    if you want to work locally on an issue campaign to fight corruption nationally, get involved with Represent Us. In communities across America, Represent.Us members – including conservatives, progressives and everyone in between – are working together to pass local Anti-Corruption Acts. In 2016, Represent.Us members passed the first statewide Anti-Corruption Act in South Dakota (state Republicans repealed it earlier this year). But this isn’t one size fits all: every municipal and state Anti-Corruption Act creates their own common-sense ethics, conflict-of-interest, transparency, and campaign finance laws. State Acts create the opportunity for federal candidates from that state to campaign on the anti-corruption platform – accountable to their constituents, not special interests. Head over to Represent.Us today to find your local chapter and get involved. 

    And finally, if you’re passionate about bypassing Congress and using the states to make change, get involved with The Young Turks’ organization Wolf PAC, which you’ve been hearing about on this show for years. Their plan to save democracy in the United States is by getting a much needed amendment to the Constitution that will establish elections which are free of the corrupting influence of money in our political system and fair enough that any citizen can run for office - not just millionaires and their allies. Go to Wolf-PAC.com to find out how you can get involved in your state and help bring us one step closer to passing the Free and Fair Elections amendment. 

    All three of these movements are worth your time and are working in concert with each other, not at odds with one another. So pick the one that fits your style and passion and get involved. 

    The turn of the century activist, social worker, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Jane Addams, once said...

    “Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.”

    Now that’s a brand of patriotism we can get down with. 

    So, if fighting the forces that continue to leach power from the people is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about Fighting Corruption to Save America via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too.

     

    TAKE ACTION 

    Replace corporate-backed Democrats with Justice Democrats

    Help pass local Anti-Corruption legislation with Represent.Us

    Help pass the Free and Fair Elections Constitutional amendment with Wolf-PAC

    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    The Logical Path to End Corruption (Wolf-PAC)

    South Dakota GOP uses 'emergency' rules to repeal anti-corruption law (CNN)

    What the Single-Payer Loss Reveals About the Role of Corporate Money in California Politics (In These Times)

    House Bill Would Ax Election Panel, Bar Limits on Money in Politics (Bloomberg BNA)

    Pro-Trump super PACs have already spent $1 million on Election 2020 (The Center for Public Integrity)

     

    Posted July 4, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman

     

    Hear this segment in the context of Best of the Left #1117: We were founded to resist corruption, now it’s all we know

     

     

  • Become a “Media Activist” via @FAIRmediawatch

    fair.jpgAs Trump continues his assault on the press, some have suggested that there might be a silver lining: maybe the mainstream corporate media will work harder, do real reporting and as a result become a better resource for citizens. Maybe...

    It’s still too early to tell and the corporate overlord influence may be too strong for real change to happen, but no matter how things turn out, we must always be active news consumers. That means calling out inaccuracies and bias when you see it and communicating directly with journalists to demand more responsible reporting. In the age of Trump, this has never been more important.  

    So we’d like to bring your attention to the non-profit organization FAIR, which stands for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. FAIR is the progressive organization behind the show CounterSpin, which you’ve probably heard clips from here on Best of the Left. This national media watch group has been offering well-documented criticism of the media for more than 30 years. FAIR’s mission includes fighting for greater diversity in the press, pushing for minority and dissenting viewpoints, scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, exposing neglected news stories, and defending working journalists when they are muzzled. They also believe that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information. Basically, they are total bad-asses.

    Now, here is where you come in. FAIR encourages the public to contact media with their concerns to become what they call “media activists,” rather than passive consumers, and provides the resources to do just that. Go to FAIR.org and check out the “Take Action” page, where the organization has a continuously updated lists of Action Alerts about issues in the media and the direct contact information you need to share your concerns with the outlet or journalists involved. You can also sign up to receive these action alerts via email so that you are always in the know. 

    FAIR also provides a Media Activism Kit that provides “how-to” guides for identifying, documenting and challenging unfair or inaccurate news coverage, along with information about something that is certainly close to my heart - how to promote independent media. There is a link to the kit on the Take Action page of the site. 

    Again, we want to ask that you help us in our work to amplify the most effective activism. If you have come across an action or a new organization that is doing great work getting people engaged to resist the Trump agenda, please share it with us by emailing Amanda@bestoftheleft.com.  

    So, if having an accurate, fair and free press is important to you, be sure to hit the share buttons to spread the word about becoming a “media activist” via social media so that others in your network can spread the word too. 

    The press is critical to our democracy, but we must hold them to extraordinarily high expectations. Otherwise, as Orwell once said, it’s all just public relations.  

     

     

    TAKE ACTION

    Go to FAIR.org to get Action Alerts and become a “media activist”

    Check out FAIR’s Media Activism Kit 

    Subscribe to FAIR’s CounterSpin podcast

    Member of the media? Check out FAIR’s Media Advisories

    EDUCATE YOURSELF

    NYT’s False Choice for Democrats: Move to the Right or Divide by Race (FAIR)

    Jessica Gonzalez on FCC Chair Ajit Pai (FAIR's CounterSpin)

    Scrutiny for Supreme Court Pick Fails to Focus on Rights of Disabled (FAIR)

    ACTION ALERT: WaPo’s Post Live Series Is a Love Letter to Corporate Conflicts of Interest (FAIR)

    Trump’s Inauguration and the Legitimacy Fetish (FAIR)

    Daily Kos Founder Gleefully Celebrates Coal Miners Losing Health Insurance (FAIR)

     

    Posted Feb. 17, 2017; Written by Best of the Left Communications Director, Amanda Hoffman. 

     

    Hear the segment in the context of Best of the Left Edition #1080: Corporate media’s fight for legitimacy in the age of Trump