Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Kochs Accidentally Tell Everyone How To Beat Them

As reported in The Guardian, Charles Koch told MSNBC "that in donating money to campaigns, he expects something in return – for the government to end the corporate welfare system." And in this, he and his brother have failed.

Don't feel bad for the them just yet, Koch specifically states he and his brother have failed at dismantling corporate welfare. The reason, as he states in the interview, is completely obvious - even if you're a billionaire, there are other billions backing corporate welfare from industries and individuals that benefit enormously.

And here Charles Koch gives us a glimpse at a part of politics often hidden from regular citizens.

One of the biggest reasons that wealthy interests get what they want is because they are able to prioritize their demands, make those demands clear and then follow through with something valuable to winning elections. In this case, each business group has its A-list priority; be it lower corporate taxes, subsidies or weak regulations. Through access, by rubbing shoulders with politicians and sending lobbyists, they are able to make the importance of these issues clear to politicians. And then, myost importantly, when elections roll around (or before, because they can donate whenever), they are able to stick to their guns and put their resources where their mouth is.

For sure, this is the theory of organizing voters. But sadly, politicians know very well that, with hundreds of important issues and low rates of voter turnout, they cannot depend on the support of organizations which "promise" votes.

But what if small dollar donors put their money behind specific policies in the same way as all these corporations and wealthy interests do? That would mean untold billions backing the policies, issue by issue, which benefit them. After all, if everyone who turned out to the polls in 2012 (even with the super low turnout) had given $15, it would have easily funded all the spending of both Presidential candidates clocking in at $2 billion.

We built ShiftSpark, to do just that.

While as individuals we may feel powerless next to the PACs and SuperPACs of the mega-rich, we can't forget that together, without waiting for new laws or constitutional amendments, we can make it impossible for the wealthy to buy legislation. All it takes is using the contributions we're already giving to say something.

Sometimes it's easy to forget that even billionaires are limited. But with ShiftSpark, any money that doesn't actually get the result donors want gets refunded. While billionaires are constantly throwing hundreds of millions at elections, everyone making small contributions can sit back and watch them bleed themselves dry - taking money back and reapplying it elsewhere.

Perhaps the Kochs have failed to end corporate welfare,  but they've still been on a winning streak in other areas. If we're going to beat them, we need tools that are going to change not just elections, but policy. At ShiftSpark, that's exactly what we're making.

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