It’s time to unite against hate
Why MoveOn is starting a Super PAC to take on Trump — and Trumpism
Update: As of December 2016, MoveOn has concluded all spending from the short-term Super PAC created as part of the United Against Hate effort, and will be formally shutting down the Super PAC entity by the end of the first quarter of 2017.
By Ilya Sheyman, Executive Director, MoveOn.org Political Action
Today, MoveOn is announcing the creation of a short-term Super PAC to supercharge our United Against Hate campaign — an all-hands-on-deck voter turnout effort to defeat Donald Trump, show that the United States firmly rejects Trump’s politics of bigotry, and retake the Senate in the process.
Make no mistake. MoveOn.org not only opposes the existence of Super PACs, we’re dead set on a wholesale overhaul of our system of campaign finance to root out the corrupting power of big money in politics. That’s a key reason why MoveOn members voted overwhelmingly to endorse Bernie Sanders this January, and why we’ve campaigned on money-in-politics issues, from overturning Citizens United to public financing, for more than a decade.
Given those commitments, it’s fair to ask: why did MoveOn members vote earlier this year, 71% to 29%, in favor of a campaign including a Super PAC to fight Trump and Trumpism?
The answer is simple. Trump poses a unique threat to our democracy and our character as a nation. Given the electoral rules we have now — rules we’re dedicated to changing — forming a Super PAC is a tool in our current toolbelt that we would be remiss not to wield.
That’s because we’ve got big plans underway. MoveOn has already hired 34 of the more than 100 organizers and state directors who will organize alongside millions of MoveOn members to knock on more than a million targeted doors in swing states to make sure that no progressive stays home on Election Day (and that as many as possible vote early). On top of that, our new Video Lab team is generating extraordinary online videos on a near-daily basis, sharing important information about the election with a social media audience of tens of millions. And we’ve got a lot more in the works.
We know that the only way to defeat Donald Trump is by electing Hillary Clinton. And we applaud Secretary Clinton’s commitments to overturn Citizens United — proposing a constitutional amendment within her first month in office — and appointing Supreme Court justices who will “protect Americans’ right to vote over the right of billionaires to buy elections.” If we are to have a path to fixing our broken campaign financing system after the election, we must defeat Donald Trump on November 8th, and then we need to keep organizing smarter and harder than ever.
We’re taking a unique approach and treating this Super PAC like we do all of our work. We are not accepting dark money. We’re going to disclose where our donations come from in our public FEC reports. We’re going to close the Super PAC by the end of the year. And instead of buying expensive TV ads — which is what most Super PACs do — we’re hiring dozens of organizers, running a nimble video production lab, and reaching the millions of potential voters who will determine the outcome of this election.
Most of our multi-million dollar election budget will come from the same source that has fueled nearly all of MoveOn’s work in years past: small donations from our members. The majority of MoveOn’s work will continue to be grassroots funded.
MoveOn is not, and will never be, about big donors. MoveOn is our members. But the Super PAC gives us a critical boost. So far, we’ve secured more than $2.7 million in commitments, all of which will be disclosed publicly in our FEC reports. And at the end of the year, after any possible recount battles, we’ll close up the Super PAC and return to our regular organizational structure.
Since our creation in 1998, a powerful idea has been at the core of MoveOn’s philosophy: “member service.” Our staff serves our members. In this election, our members want to do everything possible to make a difference. To make sure that Donald Trump never gets his hands on the nuclear codes. To make clear that politicized hate is not a viable path to national power. To ensure that the next President and Democratic Senate majority know that progressive people power played a pivotal role in their victories, in order to pave the way for policy fights to come.
It’s precisely in order to to do all that, to best serve MoveOn members with the most powerful way to make change, that we’re taking this step. Now, the whole project rests on a bet: that thousands of volunteers will raise their hands, roll up their sleeves, and get involved. It’s time to unite against hate. We hope you’ll join us.