Money in Politics: Rising in Intensity as a 2014 Election Issue
There is more and more evidence that Democrats and progressives are discovering the power of taking on big money in politics as a central issue in their campaign strategies. In the House, Nancy Pelosi has gotten most of her colleagues in the Democratic caucus (160 of them) to co-sponsor a major clean money campaign finance initiative, John Sarbanes’ Government By The People Act. In the Senate, Harry Reid is leading the charge against the Koch brothers, and for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Meanwhile Netroots icon Larry Lessig, with the help of a wide array of progressive movement organizations, was able to rapidly raise more than $5,000,000 in small donations for his new Mayday PAC to take on money in politics, proving the grassroots passion behind this issue. I think there will be more in the weeks to come as more news stories on political corruption break, and billionaires like the Koch brothers spend more and more money trying to buy this election. In the meantime, two folksy prairie populists (full disclosure, both are old friends and I have been helping out their campaigns) have added new videos to the money-in-politics mix. Featuring music, humor, and down-home folksiness, they are both a lot of fun to watch. The first is from Rick Weiland, who has been running for Tim Johnson’s open Senate seat in South Dakota. Rick has built his entire campaign around the message of taking on big money in politics, with his Take It Back slogan being a call to take back our country from the big money special interests that control it. While the Republican frontrunner in the race, Mike Rounds, runs around the country raising millions of dollars, Rick has been the first candidate to visit all 311 towns in the state, and is in the middle of doing it again right now. Rick likes to sing, and he came out with his second music video of the campaign a couple weeks back, having rewritten the words to Roger Miller’s classic “King Of The Road:”
And then there’s Chuck Hassebrook, who has spent his entire career fighting for family farmers and small businesses as head of the Center for Rural Affairs. He’s running a great populist campaign, this one for governor of Nebraska. He is running against Pete Ricketts, who is a far right crony of the Koch brothers and a brother of the owner of the Chicago Cubs (Ricketts is threatening to do to Nebraska what his brother has done to the Cubs, God save my home state). His new video thankfully doesn’t feature him singing, but it is really funny:
These kinds of grassroots videos are the latest sign that candidates all over the country, in red states as well as purple and blue, are taking up the fight against money in politics, to take the country back from the Koch brothers, Wall Street, and the big business interests that run things right now. It is exciting to see.