What One Person Can Do & How He is Transforming Primary Races for 9 Progressives

This is beyond cool. One techie who has no idea what he is doing has raised over $1 million and distributed those funds to 9 progressive House candidates, none supported by the DCCC. And one is from New Mexico’s District 2. Amazing story.

One Person Supporting Nine Progressive Candidates. Of late I have focused on how Representative Lujan and the DCCC has been undermining progressive candidates and tilting the scales for centrists. The problem with the series, aside from sending notes to Rep. Lujan, I haven’t offered up a strategy for countering the DCCC.  Until now.

This is a story about what one person can do. You don’t have to be a practiced politico, a millionaire, or retired. You just have to find a niche, carve out some time every few days and do it.

As reported in The Verge, one person decided to create an online fundraising platform, very bare bones, very simple. He then spent the time to identify 9 progressive US House of Representatives candidates who were not drawing DCCC support, who were operating in GOP districts that could be won, and who were waging grassroots, progressive campaigns, and he created the Great Slate. In the last quarter of 2017 he raised just shy of $1 million and distributed it to Slate candidates, no strings attached.

One person did this and as The Verge article makes clear, his ongoing infusion of cash will make all the difference for these campaigns, as Great Slate candidates are not the party favorites, are not connected to corporate donors and would otherwise likely raise valiant, but failed campaigns. But with Great Slate funds, they can buy billboards, lawn signs, radio ads, pay volunteers for their gas, open field offices and build progressive infrastructure that can persist beyond the campaign. One person, nine races. “I have no idea what works and why it works. Sometimes money just pours in, sometimes the thing I think will work has no impact at all. I’m completely in the dark about what I’m doing,” says Maciej Ceglowski. I love this guy.

The Verge article describes how Ceglowski created the Great Slate; it describes some of the nine candidates who are receiving Great Slate funding and it describes precisely how the Slate’s infusion of funds is transforming grassroots progressive campaigns. Below are the nine candidates that comprise the Great Slate followed by a link to donate and to explore the website. Click here to read The Verge’s article about the Slate.

The Slate’s nine hard-fighting progressive candidates are:

Click here to get to the Great Slate donation site which includes a link to interviews with each of the nine candidates. And make a donation today. You can even make it a recurring donation.

Now: What YOU Can Do. If you moved here from somewhere else, many of you likely could identify a GOP district where you have friends and where a progressive Democrat has a shot at winning. You could start calling (better than emailing) or emailing your friends in that district and coax them into donating for and even canvassing for that candidate. Retake wants to make this easy for you, so we now have a page with Districts from across the country that fit this criteria. OR you could simply send this email to your friends and encourage them to support the Great Slate.

Lastly, one of the first things Retake developed to make your activism was a Personal Action Toolkit. But that was developed over 18 months ago and it is time to update it, so look for that upgrade announced this week. Bottom line: I feel like it is Retake’s job over the next few weeks to activate a few dozen folks like YOU and help you find an ongoing activist niche. I love the quote above from the Great Slate founder as it completely mirrors the experience of Roxanne and I. We had never organized anything, not even a house party until the 2015-16 primary. Like Ceglowski, we didn’t really know what we were doing. But we keep at it, learn, and slowly, slowly over time, we have an ever increasing impact. Now we need to up our game and find ways for many, many of you to take on a project and make it go. That is how we Retake Our Democracy.

Let’s be clear, we are in a veritable war for power to:

  • Re-form and reform the Democratic Party;
  • Raise sufficient grassroots pressure to press a Democratic Party-controlled Roundhouse to pass the dozens of good bills that die every session due the influence of lobbyists, outside money, and industry being able to influence a key legislator here and there (often Democrats) to miss a vote, fail to schedule a hearing, or simply quietly vote in committee to table a bill;
  • Reclaim the airwaves and create a civic dialog not based on alt-facts and misinformation;
  • Remove the iron grip of Wall St. over our politicians and our work environment;
  • Revoke PNM’s capacity to continue to insist upon an energy supply that is predominantly coal and nuclear while ignoring the immense potential of renewables;
  • Resist local developers who put profit over creating sustainably affordable housing for our lowest income neighbors.

Those with power will not suddenly give it up for the common good. We, the people, have to seize the power. Over the next few weeks, Retake will be there with you to offer a range of ways in which you can play a larger role in this power struggle.

That is all for today. I want to leave you time to ponder what you can do, not just today, but in a sustained way. We will continue to develop tools, lists, strategies and personal actions you can take and rebuild our Personal Action Toolkit.

We continue our quest to surpass 1,000 surveys completed and are encouraged by many comments about how easy it is to take the survey and how excited people are to be involved in the statewide strategy. So, if you haven’t taken the Speak Up New Mexico! Legislative Priorities survey, please do so today to tell your legislators what bills you want to see become law. Click the blue button to take the survey. And if you want to get involved with our 2018-2019 Roundhouse Advocacy Team, we meet on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month from 4:30-6:30pm at New Energy Economy, 343 E. Alameda. To RSVP, write to me at paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org. If you want to read about our 2018-2019 Election and Legislative Strategy, click here.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne


Categories: Personal & Collective Action

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4 replies

  1. I would be curious why Hildebrandt was selected, both candidates seem strong. On the Democratic side, the two leading competitors are Xochitl Torres Small (a water attorney and former Udall staffer) and Madeleine “Mad” Hildebrandt (a Coast Guard veteran and college history instructor).

    Xochitl Torres Small has an excellent local reputation!

  2. Yes I see that too. Two great candidates. I’d hate to see them spend so much in the primary, when whichever of them wins that, will have to have a strong campaign to win the seat.

  3. I’m pleased to see Marge Doyle, the candidate in CA-8, on the slate. I learned about her because my brother lives in that district. It’s a HUGE desert area that in the north includes the more-likely-to-be-progressive (but not hugely so) recreation towns of Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, and in the south has the hard-working town of Barstow. Their current long-time Congressman has been a real dud. Go Marge!

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