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Fri May 14, 2021, 09:47 AM

Excellent post and comments from Heather Cox Richardson today

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/may-13-2021

But the real blockbuster political story of the day came in the form of a video obtained by Mother Jones and written about in a detailed article there by Ari Berman and Nick Surgey. The leaked video shows Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America—the political arm of the right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank—explaining to big-money donors that Heritage Action has worked closely with Republican state legislators to enact voter suppression laws. “In some cases, we actually draft them for them,” she said, “or we have a sentinel on our behalf give them the model legislation so it has that grassroots, from-the-bottom-up type of vibe.”

The story is not entirely new. Heritage (as it is known) published a report last February outlining “best practices” for voting, many of which are in the new bills coming out of Republican-dominated state legislatures. And in a March article for the New York Times, Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein outlined the role of Heritage Action in Georgia’s and Arizona’s voting restrictions, noting that at least 23 of the proposed state bills that dealt with voting had language that looked like that of Heritage. They also wrote that Heritage plans to spend $24 million to change voting laws in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas, and Wisconsin before the 2022 election, and that the person behind the Heritage voting policies is Hans von Spakovsky, who mainstreamed the idea of voter fraud in the Republican Party, although experts agree it is vanishingly rare.

What is new and dramatic about the video is seeing Anderson make her pitch to donors for a coordinated right-wing effort to take the vote away from their opponents. She talks of working with similar groups: “We literally give marching orders for the week ahead,” Anderson said. “All so we’re singing from the same song sheet of the goals for that week and where the state bills are across the country.”

Heritage Action is fighting hard against the Democrats’ For the People Act, which would protect the right to vote, end partisan gerrymandering, and limit money in politics. Heritage summarized the bill, which it called the “Corrupt Politicians Act,” in a short sheet for lawmakers. Anderson explained: “We’ve made sure that every single member of Congress knows just how bad the bill is…. Then we’ve made sure there’s an echo chamber of support around these senators driven by your Heritage Action activists and sentinels across the country where we’ve driven hundreds of thousands of calls, emails, place[d] letters to the editor, hosted events, and run television and digital ads.”


And this exceptional comment(s):

Ellie Kona4 hr ago

In Heather’s video chat today (5/13/2021), she talked about Stephen Douglas. Stephen Douglas, of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, drafted the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 to allow the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide whether or not to allow slavery, rather than to be decided by Congress, and the Northerners in opposition to slavery and oligarchy formed the Republican Party. The Democratic Party split between north and south. As the Southern Democrats escalated to the point of seceding from the Union, Douglas took a stand that secession was in opposition to democracy and sided with Lincoln and the Union for a mainstream position. With the split in the Democrats, the Republicans prevailed. As it echoes to today, the party split looks like a good thing.

Heather’s point was that the spin-off element can become very dangerous.

As Heather describes the campaign of the Heritage Action for America, we see ever more clearly how the danger comes in the form of not “just” the Jan. 6 insurrection, but the sophisticated monied manipulation of state legislators, and even of public opinion, as through letters to the editor, to create the appearance of legitimacy and “the will of the people.”

How is Heritage connected to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)? Both are funded by the Koch Foundation. Note that ALEC wrote the 360 voter suppression bills pending/passed across the country.

What is the counterpart progressive PAC that is spoon-feeding legislation to elected officials and their staff?

Fellow HCR Reader Jeff Carpenter looked for a progressive PAC. The best he could find is the State Innovation Exchange (SiX):

New Republic article of 1/03/2020, “Have Democrats Found Their ALEC?”

https://newrepublic.com/article/156110/democrats-found-alec

The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) provides an online database of liberal and progressive model state-level legislation that has been passed in a state for politicians and activists to replicate and enact in state legislatures.

https://stateinnovation.org/

Jeff learned that progressive state groups are more like libraries than lobbies, and big donors prefer national legislation over state legislation. Jeff contacted a SiX spokesperson who said:

“We do not operate like ALEC (For example, we’re not a “bill mill” that churns out copycat legislation. We know that policy alone won’t fix our democracy and economy, so we take a policy plus approach--we share policy research from issue experts, as well as communications, strategy, connections with movement partners, and other types of support that legislators need.) We do provide tailored support for state legislators, and democracy is one of our primary issue areas.”

However daunting, our despair can only be a feeling that we redirect into action. Barriers to voting, voter suppression bills, are already being passed as a set up for the minority to overpower the majority in the 2022 elections and beyond. The time is now to make our voices heard as individuals by writing/texting/calling elected officials, corporations, local newspapers, and social media.

How to get started, if you haven’t already? Here are 5 of more than 40 grassroots organizations:

Vote Forward: https://votefwd.org/

Fair Fight: Home | Fair Fight

League of Women Voters (members do include men!): https://www.lwv.org/

Common Cause: commoncause.org

5 Calls: https://5calls.org/

What’s your favorite organization in support of democracy?
70Reply

Gigi3 hr ago

My favorite organization in support of democracy is Joe Biden’s administration.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Question—why am I still surprised that Heritage was doing everything that Democrats were accused of? Bussing people in to act like locals was something we often heard idjt45 raging about during the New Hampshire primary. There is no bottom to their madness and it explains why many politicians never even knew what they were proposing. Hello Marjorie and her America First caucus looking like a fool talking about an outside organization and no one blasted her on it.

Great list and background info Ellie. Thank you.

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply Excellent post and comments from Heather Cox Richardson today (Original post)
erronis May 14 OP
soothsayer May 14 #1
msfiddlestix May 14 #3
spanone May 14 #2
CrispyQ May 14 #4
uponit7771 May 14 #5
yonder May 14 #6
BobTheSubgenius May 14 #7
KPN May 14 #8
Martin68 May 14 #9

Response to erronis (Original post)

Fri May 14, 2021, 10:05 AM

1. Always excellent

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Response to soothsayer (Reply #1)

Fri May 14, 2021, 10:07 AM

3. K/R and Bookmarked

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Fri May 14, 2021, 10:07 AM

2. K&R

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Fri May 14, 2021, 10:13 AM

4. Our side is not good at response. In fact, we're like crickets.

"What is the counterpart progressive PAC that is spoon-feeding legislation to elected officials and their staff?"


There is no liberal counterpart, just like there is no liberal challenge to hate radio & right wing memes.

We need a marketing department, stat!

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Response to CrispyQ (Reply #4)

Fri May 14, 2021, 10:40 AM

5. AMEN!!

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Fri May 14, 2021, 11:54 AM

6. Bookmarked too.

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Fri May 14, 2021, 12:17 PM

7. HCR is a commentator that should almost be required reading.

She has every attribute one could hope for in a commentator/opinion-maker (hopefully). Bright, articulate, insightful, tireless...the list could go on.

If someone as sensible and grounded as HRC is alarmed, those more prone to strong reaction and language should have their hair on fire.

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Fri May 14, 2021, 12:27 PM

8. Great and vitally important post!

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Response to erronis (Original post)

Fri May 14, 2021, 12:30 PM

9. Fascists.

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