Standing Tall Against The Corporate-Fueled Money Onslaught

Progressive Strategies

Okay, I’m very biased because I have been working with my friends at MoveOn for a while on their The Other 98% campaign to fight corporate corruption in our political system, but I couldn’t be prouder of these ads that MoveOn members themselves are making and starring in. Check out Sam Stein’s piece on the ad campaign. The amount of work it took to separately shoot each of these 28 ads with people from those districts and states was incredible, and they capture the spirit of the moment perfectly: regular citizens at the grassroots have to stand up to these incredibly wealthy special interests- the big Wall Street banks, big oil, the big insurance companies, and probably some foreign corporations as well- who are trying to buy this election for their friends in the Republican Party.

Democrats are up against formidable odds this cycle- secretive corporate slush funds busting every record known by far for spending on campaigns, self-funded candidates pouring huge sums of money into their own campaigns (Meg Whitman holds the record at $140 million so far, but many others are already deep into the 7 or 8 figures), an economy so deeply damaged by the profligacy of the Bush years that it will probably take a decade to recover)- but grassroots activists from the progressive movement are fighting back. The MoveOn campaign from day one has involved hundreds of thousands activists and contributors and local demonstrators at various events. The labor movement effort has been phenomenal- check out this memo from their political director Karen Ackerman. Immigration activists have mounted a major GOTV effort among Hispanics in key states and districts all over the country. Progressive organizations of all stripes have kicked things up a notch. The DailyKos community has already directly raised over $800,000 for candidates (not including the money raised by candidates after that first contribution). Blue America has raised almost $910,000.

But we are being badly outspent in this election, and the odds are against us for all the reasons above. We have groups like the Chamber and Rove’s American Crossroads raising money from undisclosed donors and- as Think Progress has documented- probably foreign donors as well. We even have Republicans scheduling time with executives who run outsourcing companies in Beijing for conference call fundraisers, as Mark Kirk recently did. But our side keeps battling, knocking on doors, making calls, giving their $25 at a time online, going to rallies and demonstrations, never giving up, never giving in. It is inspiring to witness and be a part of.

Of course not everyone who says they are a Democrat is still fighting, not everyone is moving every last muscle to score an upset. Some have given up and are already gearing up the post-election why we lost spin battle. Check out this quote from Third Way Vice President Jim Kessler:

“A lot of the Democrats are resorting to economic populism, and the polling shows that voters aren’t buying it,” he said. ” ‘Corporate America’ is a Washington term. Outside Washington, that’s business and the people who employ you.”

A couple of things, Jim. First of all, we haven’t lost yet, and we still have a shot at this thing. Some of us are still fighting out here. Secondly, polling has been showing all cycle that a message about taking on wealthy special interests has been our best shot by far in this election, which is why a lot of Democrats are using it- including a lot of the candidates currently surging in spite of being badly outspent by those corporate interests you don’t want us to speak badly of.

I’m looking at the Cook House race chart right now. They list 101 races that are still highly competitive. Lots of Senate, Gov, AG, Sec of State, state leg races in that category too. Many of these races will come down to one final thing: can Democrats turn out their votes. They’ll be won or lost by 1 or 2 votes per precinct. Let’s save the post-game spin for post-game, and keep at this thing. Let’s keep standing tall and fighting back.