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I've written about this before and been shut down.

But over the weekend at Netroots, after hearing Sherrod Brown speak about the effects of Citizens' United in Ohio, I'm going to bring it up again.

Sherrod, in May you said you were being outspent by SuperPACs $6.5 million to $1.1 million.

You have nothing to lose. Why not renounce all SuperPAC money and call on your opponent to do the same?  

 photo sherrod_brown_netroots_nation_zps9b20717a.jpg

10 bullet point reasoning below the squiggle.

Here goes ...

  1. Getting the clearest and best message to 51% of the people wins elections.
  2. Money does not win elections. Money is just one way to get your message out to more people.
  3. You are not going to win the money game.
  4. You can either acknowledge this upfront or remain in denial.
  5. On the positive side, let me repeat: Money does not win elections. It is only the easiest way to get your message out to more people.
  6. This means you have to find a way to change the game.
  7. The way to do this is to disavow SuperPAC money.
  8. Then challenge your opponent to do the same. At every opportunity.
  9. If he refuses, you brand your opponent as the candidate of Big Money. If he agrees, you equalize the playing field.
  10. Either way, you stand for something. You stand for the people having a voice over money. Your opponent stands for money.

The Democratic party is in trouble right now because they don't stand for much. They try to walk a thin line between a populist message and accepting corporate donations.

If I were a brand manager I would tell you that this destroys your brand.  

In this scenario, Sherrod, I think you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. A variation on this play is The People's Pledge signed by Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown.

But even if you can't get your opponent to sign a pledge, you should renounce SuperPAC money and call on your opponent to do the same.

What conservatives don't understand is that by placing all of their money with Republican SuperPACs, they actually improve the negotiation position of Democrats.

Why? Because Democrats now have nothing to lose.

They've lost the money race. Why not reject SuperPAC help, stand against anonymous corporate donations post-Citizens United, and try to change the game?

If your message targets the 99%, this is your strength: numbers. The conservative message targets the .01% and eventually people will realize this no matter how much money they spend.

I hope somehow this makes it to you, Sherrod, or any other Democrats for that matter. I'm a big fan and have been for a long time and I hate to see you in this situation.

If you think about it, and I know it sounds counterintuitive, Republicans have placed all their eggs in one basket: the money basket.  

Why not give it to them and claim the populist brand for your own?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Makes sense, but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    akadjian

    the problem is that the roots that monied interests have sunk deep into these politicians are problematic to pull out.  Even if they could, politicians are a cautious lot, for the most part, and loosening the buckles on their parachutes is a big step to take, even if their parachute is a lot smaller than their opponent's.

    I guess we'll see if any idealistic politicians take this up... the other thing to remember is that so many of these people are gunning for cushy jobs after they retire or are voted out, and pissing off their donors now means no board of directors appointments or cushy speaking engagements at company functions.  

    So... how many Bernie Sanderses have we got out there?

    •  Brown's Rated One of the Most Liberal Dems (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akadjian, VetGrl, FG

      #1 a few years ago.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 05:35:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed ... and I'm a big fan of Sherrods (0+ / 0-)

      Sherrod is a great progressive who has always stood up for progressive causes.

      It's just starting to look to me like there's not even a hope of winning the money game so I keep wondering why Democrats are trying to play it so hard.

      I think it's because they believe that money and money alone does win elections.

      I want to remind people that it's only what money buys that wins elections (the clear and widely distributed message to influence 51+%)

      If there is no way to win the money battle, shouldn't we be trying to find other ways to do the latter? And one cheap way to do this would be to develop a consistent brand and stick to it.

  •  money does win elections (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, TomP

    Rmoney cru$hed his primary opponents with negative radio and TV ads.
    But hopefully, enough Ohioans know Brown well enough now to ignore the ads.

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 04:25:37 AM PDT

    •  Its not the money (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MartyM

      In your response you even say as much.

      Ohioans know Brown well enough. It was the negative radio and TV ads.

      What wins elections is getting your message to 51+% of the people.

      Money and advertising is only one way to do this.

      Branding is another way. A consistent brand would allow people to always know what they're getting with the Democratic party. A party that will fight for people.

      If you have a strong brand, or strong name recognition (as you so correctly pointed out), it can counter the influence of money.

      Imagine, for example, what would happen if Brown were able to brand his opponent as the candidate of big, outside corporate money?    

  •  He and his campaign are legally barred... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, FG

    ...from coordinating in any way with super PACs.

    He could renounce super PAC money until the cows come home, but he can't stop them from spending on his behalf.

    The reason the People's Pledge works to whatever extent it does is that both candidates signed it—meaning they both stand to lose from super PACs spending on their behalf.

    Asking Brown to take that pledge on his own is just doubling the amount of unilateral disarmament—not only does he possibly dissuade super PACs from spending on his behalf, but he loses money and the ability to get his message out if they go ahead and do it anyway.

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 07:44:02 AM PDT

    •  James - you are exactly right (0+ / 0-)

      Unilateral disarmament makes no sense. Ask John McCain.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:25:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is it's not equal armament (0+ / 0-)

        The Dems cannot win a money arms race.

        I think they need to start looking at other ways to win than trying to win a money arms race.

        One way to do this cost effectively is to establish a Democratic brand that stands for something and to stick to it.

    •  Yes ... you're right about the People's Pledge (0+ / 0-)

      All he has to do though is ...

      - Ask the super PACs not to spend for him
      - Ask his opponent to do the same

      I think Democratic super PACs would go along with it.

      Or come up with some other variation on the People's Pledge. I think it could be done.

      •  I'd prefer he ask them not to spend for him... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and have the Democratic super PACs say "you're not the boss of me" and go ahead and spend for him anyway.

        That way, he gets to stand by principles and gets the benefit of being a little less swamped by outside money.

        "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

        by JamesGG on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:35:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sen. Brown is doing just what you state the Dems (0+ / 0-)

    are doing by not standing for much.  He rails against the oil companies but has no problem showing up for job fairs in Sourtheastern Ohio for utica shale drilling jobs.

    He is in trouble here in Ohio.

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