Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Seattle Takes on Big Money - But Don't Be Fooled

Seattle is taking on Big Money in politics. Essentially, it will give out $100 in vouchers to every voter which they can then give to candidates. Politicians who want this money will need to obey special rules - such as capping how much people can give and collecting vouchers from a minimum number of voters.

There are a lot of pros to it's new plan, but there are some legitimate reasons we need to keep pushing. That's where ShiftSpark can help.

1. It doesn't actually stop Big Money. 
As the article mentions, because of Federal law PACs and Super PACs can't be banned. While limits on individual contributions are great, they aren't really that meaningful.

In Seattle, "if a super PAC supports a candidate who is not using the vouchers, candidates in the program are allowed to raise additional private funds and their spending caps are lifted." But this assumes that the non-PAC candidates have other large sources of money, which the marginalized candidates this is intended to help support definitely won't The whole rationale for the system is that anyone who has outside spending helping them will have a stronger fundraising operation.

2. It focuses on the wrong problem. 
In the U.S., the focus is on candidates and elections; so that's what our laws address. Sadly, legislation and policy is set between elections when lobbyists and the elite are even more active in making deals.

Diversifying the pool of funding - especially not requiring people to spend their own money - has some real potential for changing campaigning. That latter element stands to bring many more people into the game. But campaigning is always in conflict with governing.

Ultimately, the difference between big money and small money is the access and voice it gives you. Even if you only a $25 voucher, attaching it to demand on ShiftSpark is better than just giving it away and hoping for the best.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Introducing BernSpark!

We've been quiet for a little bit, but only because we've been working on something AMAZING.

A little while ago, some folks from the Bernie Sanders community came to us and asked if we could help them with crowdfunding their projects to elect their favorite candidate. ShiftSpark was founded on the idea that, by working together, we can empower each other to change how politics works on our democracy - so of course we said YES! is the result. If you like what we're doing, let us know! If you have questions or requests, we're always open.