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3 Ways the Mayday Super PAC is Better than Americans Elect

Lately, I’ve been using the platform of Irregular Times to share information with you about the Mayday Super PAC, which asks Americans to give it big money to spend in elections in order to get big money out of politics. A reader has written in response, characterizing such sharing of information as “demonization.” I should hope it’s clear on its face to most people that sharing critical information is different from simple demonization; if you don’t think there’s a distinction, let me know and I’ll spell out my position. On top of that, some information I’ve shared actually casts the Mayday PAC in a positive light. For instance, a hallmark of the puppet organizations controlled by the shadowy Americans Elect/No Labels/Pete Peterson political octopus is a glaring overlap in contributors. But an analysis of contributions to the Mayday PAC indicates that its financial supporters appear mostly to hail from outside that insular, self-referential sphere.

Some other relatively positive traits of the Mayday PAC stand out in comparison to the organization its leaders were previously involved in, Americans Elect.

1. We know who’s giving Mayday PAC money, while some two years after Americans Elect shut down, we still don’t know exactly who was funding its privatized presidential election system. This is a big, important difference.

2. While Americans Elect sent out press releases promising that “the people” would choose its private U.S. presidential nominee, in reality it set up multiple processes and procedures so that the Americans Elect corporate board could overrule whatever decisions rank-and-file members made. In contrast, the Mayday PAC as been very clear about the delineation of privileges between its own corporate board and the American public. The place of the American public in the Mayday PAC system is to send money and maybe send a message with some suggestions; all decisions about what to actually do with the money are clearly under the control of the Mayday PAC leadership board. You may not like that, but at least the Mayday PAC isn’t trying to fake a democratic process. I admire the Mayday PAC’s honesty in that regard.

3. Americans Elect leaders repeatedly refused to communicate with people asking critical, probing questions. In contrast, Mayday PAC’s head honcho Lawrence Lessig and some staffers have been quite willing to communicate with me and with others regarding disputes and criticisms. I may not like all the answers, but any answer is worse than Americans Elect’s stone wall of silence.

I have a number of significant concerns regarding the Mayday PAC. I also admire some of the ways that the Mayday PAC has chosen to be more open than Americans Elect. There’s space enough for both kinds of judgment in our heads.

2 thoughts on “3 Ways the Mayday Super PAC is Better than Americans Elect”

  1. Elliot S. says:

    I’ve been reading your Mayday PAC posts recently and I admire that you present the evidence charitably, without jumping to conclusions. Kudos!

  2. Bill says:

    Pretty well-said, Jim. AECorp was a cynical plutocratic scam, a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” as I have previously characterized it. Mayday, thus far, has been reasonably open about what it is doing. It has made one very disheartening mistake so far, but we must wait to see whether it learns from that, which I hope it will. Considering that the Three Magi of Mayday were previously well plugged into AECorp influence and/or leadership, I am hopeful that Mayday’s better performance thus far demonstrates that these folks are good at learning from mistakes.

    The next few days should reveal a lot.

    First, Mayday has given congressional candidates an ultimatum to “inoculate themselves” before Aug. 6th by swearing allegiance to campaign finance reform. One would expect that its 3 remaining endorsements this cycle would be announced fairly soon thereafter (but I hope they will take whatever time they need in order to avoid pulling another Rubens boner).

    Second, Lessig is on record promising to release nearly complete donor data, through July 31st, on August 5th (the only thing he has sworn to withhold is the names of donors of less than $200, which seems fair enough given that not even the FEC requires public identification of such small donors). As I understand it this is a pretty big technological undertaking (at least for an organization as hastily and as recently cobbled together as Mayday), so here too, if they run a few days late I’m not going to hang ’em for that. Fast and right is better than faster and wrong. Being the Extreme Data junky that I am, I’ll be analyzing the bejeezus out of their release, and the highlights will be published both by DocDawg on Daily Kos and by @AETransparency on Twitter.

    So we should be learning a lot this week, or next at worst…about what Mayday’s made of (ooh…how alliterative!).

    It occurs to me to mention in closing a fourth way in which Mayday is better than AECorp. It was no stretch at all for progressives of goodwill to take exception to AE’s stated goal of getting a ‘centrist’ on all 50 states’ ballots via an online convention (given that ‘centrists,’ like unicorns, are just nice stories about things that don’t exist and probably shouldn’t, either). But I don’t see how it’s possible for any thinking progressive to take exception to Mayday’s fundamental goal of getting big dark money out of politics. We can argue about Mayday’s methods (lordy, how we can argue about that), just as we can argue about its odds of having any meaningful impact on the problem. But I’ve yet to hear any thinking person of goodwill argue against Mayday’s goal itself. That’s probably the most important difference of all between Mayday and AE.

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