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The Unpopularity of The Can Kicks Back, Part II: Campus Chapters

“The Can Kicks Back” depicts itself as a movement of young people who all “individually” decided that taxing more poor people, taxing corporations less, and cutting social programs was a keen idea. The operation is actually one of a constellation of political corporations funded by the billionaire soak-the-poor advocate Peter G. Peterson, sharing funding streams and a Washington DC office with its brother groups “Campaign to Fix the Debt” and “The New America Foundation.”

Yesterday, I shared one indication of the unpopularity of The Can Kicks Back with actual people; despite gaining repeated promotional coverage in more than 20 major media outlets, the twitter account of The Can Kicks Back has less than a thousand followers. Today, let’s look at another indicator of this group’s unpopularity: its effort to build campus chapters. The Can Kicks Back has a specific goal in mind for college students:

The Campus Program of The Can Kicks Back envisions having a presence on at least 300 college campuses across the country by the end of the spring semester in 2013. It all starts with one student, stepping up and speaking out as TCKB’s Campus Leader. These leaders are charged with serving as a point of contact for our campaign, organizing volunteers on their campus and managing the campaign locally.

The pitch is backed up by promises to actually send chapters money. It’s rewarding campus organizers by flying them to Washington DC for pre-arranged meetings with Senators and House Republican leadership. All the highly motivating incentives are in place; now The Can Kicks Back just needs to find young people willing to take them.

The end of the spring semester of 2013 is right around the corner. How is that plan coming along?

Not so well. As of today, The Can Kicks Back reports the existence of just 52 chapters. In contrast, the Go Fossil Free campaign started by has 328 campus chapters nationwide.

Of those 52 chapters, how many are active? The Can Kicks Back has paid for the NationBuilder service, which creates a separate web page for each active campus chapter and assigns chapters “political capital” points for using the NationBuilder accounts to send messages, announce events and recruit others:

Leaderboards, gamification and your own political currency

Customize public leaderboards for top commenters, social media supporters and other fans and friends of your efforts. Your supporters can earn and spend “political capital” for spreading the word about your site on Twitter and Facebook and recruiting new signups.

TCKB Flaccid FunkOf the 52 named chapters, only 17 have NationBuilder pages. Of the 17 chapters with NationBuilder pages, only 10 chapters have done anything more than sign up to obtain a page (earning 5 political capital points).

The 10 active campus chapters of “The Can Kicks Back” are, in order of the political capital (pc) points earned in the NationBuilder system:

Hofstra University: 202 pc
Notre Dame University: 145 pc
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis: 94 pc
Lebanon Valley College: 94 pc
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill: 85 pc
University of Wisconsin – Madison: 77 pc
SUNY Old Westbury: 24 pc
Emory University: 22 pc
Fairleigh Dickinson University: 22 pc
George Washington University: 22 pc

This is hardly a populist wave sweeping across the nation and exciting the young’uns. Even with promises of money and junkets to DC, college students appear to be largely uninterested.

2 thoughts on “The Unpopularity of The Can Kicks Back, Part II: Campus Chapters”

  1. Anonymous says:

    How about – congratulations on the efforts of ANYONE willing to put themselves out person at a time..change can happen. Success doesn’t always happen overnight. Congratulations to all involved in The Can Kicks Back..engaged and making a difference. Are you actually saying that The Can Kicks Back is only considered successful if it has instant success? Let’s hope that isn’t the notion of the youth of America. If so, change will never happen.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      How about — congratulations to ANYONE who is legitimately organizing in an honest manner, and shame on any billionaire-funded front group trying to depict itself as a grassroots movement while funneling money to credulous kids getting bribed with junkets to DC?

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