A stark reminder of the imbalance of financial power in political campaigns is the story of the Crossroads GPS super-pac in the article Crossroads hits vulnerable Dems with $1 million in new ads.
For Elizabeth Warren supporters, the key paragraph in the story headlined above is,
“But the biggest buy is saved for Massachusetts, where Crossroads has made Democrat Elizabeth Warren a top target of its 2012 election efforts. The group will spend $524,000 to undercut Warren in December.”
Also consider that the Top 1 Percent Control 42 Percent of Financial Wealth in the U.S.. The bottom 99% of the population that has the rest of the wealth doesn’t have the leeway between what they have and what they need for survival as does the top 1%. So the actual disparity between what the 1% can spare to sway elections and what the bottom 99% can spare is even larger than total wealth numbers indicate.
How can the bottom 99% compete with the top 1% for political influence?
As I see it, the title of this article is the clue. The top 1% have the money, the other 99% have the people.
Somehow, we have to turn our advantage in numbers into real political influence.
In a political campaign, the money controls the traditional means of communication which gives the top 1% the advantage in establishing the terms of the debate and national conversation.
Technology has given rise to new means of communication. Not only do we have the internet, but many people also have unlimited phone service. That means that postings on the internet and telephone calls to establish contact with people in your area are free of additional monetary cost. What they do cost is person-hours. Nobody has more than 24 hours in a day, so our advantage in numbers of people gives us the advantage of the number of people-hours we have.
What are the ways of using our people hours to maximum advantage?
- Volunteer your time to a campaign
- Make phone calls to other voters and go house to house to urge support for causes and candidates. Such contact has been found to be the most influential means of getting people to vote
- Use the internet
- Use sharing tools on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, etc. to let the world know about issues and candidates you support.
- Write comments on articles and posts to indicate your position
- Create your own web pages – Facebook, Google+, YouTube, blogs and any other means – to promote your issues and candidates.
- Multiply the effectiveness of other people’s efforts to make their constributions go viral by sharing them, liking them, subscribing to them, +1-ing them, and emailing them to your social network. Don’t just be a passive reader of internet content. Use all means available to make it clear that you are one more person who has read, agreed with, and supported an item on the internet.
- Use online tools to organize group meetings where interpersonal support for an issue or candidate can be reinforced
- Participate in peaceful street demonstrations that attract media attention
- Attend public political events to demonstrate to others the amount of support a policy or candidate has
To begin practicing some of these ideas, comment on this post to add suggestions, pass it on to others, indicate you like it, +1 it, share it, tweet it, etc.