The average watcher of politics might not be aware of this but there are some liberal super PACs (Political Action Committee) that will benefit from the horrible Citizen's United decision. One such liberal PAC is called Nextgen Climate, which is run by hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer. His main issue is climate change and he's pledged to spend about $100 million this year.
He's using his considerable muscle here in Pennsylvania already by running this ad against Tom Corbett, arguably one of the worst governors in the country when it comes to fracking and climate change.
This ad does a number of things that we hope that the progressive Mayday PAC, which wants to get money out will also do. Here are four observations:
One or Push Your Issues But Respect Polling Data: Even though Nextgen's main issue is climate change they're not ignoring polling data that suggests Corbett is widely unpopular based on his massive cuts to education. The ad blends NextGen's mission of fighting climate change -- where he makes the suggestion that Corbett is bought off by the fracking industry -- with those education cuts. That's the smart way to go.
Two or We Hope the Mayday PAC Takes Notes: This is mentioned because we hope that the Mayday PAC follows suit. You're not always going to find winners based on this one issue of campaign finance reform. Yes, people like this reporter who gave five bucks to the Mayday PAC (full disclosure), understand the corrupting influence of money in politics but the average voter might not. When you pick those five house candidates within the next several days we hope you're going to play to win and not just run on the somewhat dry issue of campaign finance reform. If, for example, the candidate you're opposing who is a complete subsidiary of Monsanto or some other evil company, then please find a way to mention that candidate's biggest weakness while also mentioning that the candidate is completely bought off. Just like the NextGen ad. Don't get me wrong. Ads that connect a politician's funders to their awful votes for their funders could be really effective ads. But respect the polling. If you don't win, then you can't affect policy.
Three or its clear that Chris Lehane is at the helm: It's also a good thing that NextGen, under DNC operative Chris Lehane, is thinking intelligently about who runs each chamber. There was talk about NextGen going after some conservadems in the south like Mary Landrieu, wholly owned by the oil industry, but that could turn the senate over to the openly fascist Republican Party. And as someone who has worked to elect awful democrats with the knowledge of who runs each chamber, it would be hoped that NextGen consider ads on behalf of any endangered dem senators.
Four or Teachout/Wu needs your support more than Tom Wolf: Well we certainly approve of the NextGen ad we don't think that Tom Wolf is in dire need your PAC money in that Wolf leads the race by about 22 points. Even other republicans are abandoning Tom Corbett. Corbett is going to lose barring some awful Wolf scandal, which we hope breaks around November 10th, 2014. And we could even see the value of your ads if Corbett starts spending a lot of money between now and September. It would be helpful if all of his misleading and untruthful ads were countered.
But just to be clear Tom Wolf won't end fracking. He's made it an essential part of his campaign and his budget numbers! Don't get me wrong Wolf is way better than Corbett on just about every other issue and he's got my vote. But its not necessarily a victory for climate change if Wolf wins.
Now the insurgent primary run by Zephyr Teachout against Andrew Cuomo would seem to be a better use of your funds. Ms. Teachout is a perky progressive candidate who wants to end fracking in New York. Cuomo is completely in the pocket of not only fracking interests but big business interests, period. She could be competitive with a $2 to $5 million dollar cash infusion. And hey, if you can't give that money directly to her I happen to run a 527 called The Greater Good Coalition, which can spend that money. The 527 can't directly endorse but we could point flaws in the Cuomo record and strengths in the Teachout record. She needs name recognition to gain a foothold and she has such an unusual name that people would remember it if someone like a NextGen ran indirect ads on her behalf.
Funny thing, if Chris Lehane did actually steer $2 to $5 million toward my 527 and Teachout won both the primary and the New York governor's race, then we would get a discussion about getting big money out of politics. Until that happens that discussion will never happen.
Related: You can see the youtube ad that NextGen created about Tom Corbett here. Also related: Here is the Teachout position on fracking. Way better than Cuomo's. Better than Tom Wolf's too. Not related: Not happy with the management style of Sarah Pavao Sidders or her company Contemporary Services Corporation.