By William Street, Jr.
One important goal of the Clackamas County Democrats’ Neighborhood Leader Program is to mitigate the influence of money in politics. The program intends to achieve this objective by substituting one-on-one, face-to-face contacts established over a number of years for money that buys ads and attempts to educate and inform or misinform voters.
By establishing a neighborhood leader for every 40 Democratic voters in a neighborhood, the neighborhood leaders become a sustainable and permanent army of advocates for social justice and democracy.
Today the effectiveness of this program is amazing. Voters living in areas with a neighborhood leader have significantly higher voter turnout and elect more progressive candidates than voters in areas without a neighborhood leader. The Neighborhood Leader Program is a major reason that Clackamas County is now a much more progressive place than it was five years ago. Continue reading
Leave it to Big Money to bring us a ballot measure which is very sneaky in its approach. Yes, Measure 90 is cunning. It is not about political parties. It is about yet another way of increasing the odds where money and not people will determine the election results.
Imagine playing draw poker. Someone with deep pockets sits down at the table. After the cards are dealt, Mr. Deep Pockets slaps down heavy cash to drive out competition. Only one other person can match his expenditure. Having only one competitor now means that after the draw Mr. Deep Pockets will be able to bluff with big cash to intimidate the one opponent left with far less at risk than if all the players who had a serious chance at winning were still in the game.
In Washington and California where the Top Two Primaries have been adopted, this is exactly the result: Voter turnout is lower with most voters (who vote in much lower percentages in the primaries) having no real choice. Too, write-in candidates are not allowed. And money can be spent to more cost-effectively intimidate the only two remaining candidates to ensure they do not step out of line and offend the interests of big money.
Measure 90 is a statistically calculated and tricky way to increase the influence of money on elections. And it is sponsored by those with a lot of money to spend on influencing elections. Big business interests are the culprits, plain and simple. Let’s skip this no-win poker game and Vote No on 90.