A lot of people keep asking in comments to posts, including the one where I tried to put oil on the water I had troubled and then you all decided to go after each other in comments you special people, what we can do. That is both a good question and a problematic one. Because a good chunk of the historic and traditional way you resolve the problem we’re facing is not something that is polite or pleasant or that I’m posting on the front page of John’s blog.
However, there is something I think we can do. Those of you in North Carolina will know and some of the rest of you might recall that in 2010 a wealthy North Carolinian named Art Pope leveraged his fortune to take control of North Carolina. Pope, through direct donations to candidates and campaigns, and indirect ones through his and other’s political action committees and through the conservative, free market promoting think tank, Civitas, that he funded and ran in North Carolina. Pope is, of course, not the only one who has done this. Every state, especially those now controlled by Republican majority legislatures even if they no longer have Republican governors – Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina – have one or more wealthy citizens, usually tied into the Koch’s and Leonard Leo’s and other’s dark money networks who are funding and/or running state level conservative, free market promoting think tanks.
This is how we got the mess in Wisconsin that is Wisconsin. Charlie Sykes, who has now gone apostate, was the front man for this there through the Badger Institute, Right Wisconsin, and his talk radio show. The Badger Institute used to be known as the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. Texas has one of these, The Texas Public Policy Foundation, which has recently jumped into the astroturfed anti-CRT bullshit with both feet. Almost every state has one. They all have innocuous sounding names. The big one in Florida used to be Jeb! Bush’s James Madison Institute, which he leveraged to get himself elected governor. They’re either predominantly funded by one wealthy conservative person or family in that state or by the usual funders like the Kochs, the Mercers, the Uhliens, the Friesses, the Popes, etc.
These think tanks, which are basically state level versions of the Heritage Foundation, serve as a key node in creating the conditions allowing for the anti-democratic voter suppression and electoral manipulation that is threatening America both as a whole and state by state. Organizing against them, shining some sunlight on them, would be very effective civic action.
So if you know the name of the think tank or think tanks in your state, like Civitas, the Badger Institute, or Texas Public Policy Foundation, sound off in the comments. If you’ve got a link ready to hand, through that in too. I’ll come along later and make a master list and put it up as its own post so that people know who to organize against.
Until then, Open Thread!
PS – I’m fine. Thanks for everyone asking in comments or emailing. Really. I’m not depressed. I’m not suicidal. The jury is out regarding homicidal… (this is sarcasm) I’m not quitting. I’m not leaving. I am frustrated. But I’m fine. Though if you see news reports of a Florida man who looks to be part susquatch on a tri-state homicide vacation, it might be me… (this is also sarcasm!)