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Democracy Alliance Plotting Response to Koch/ALEC Co-Opting of State Legislatures

South Dakota Progress formed last winter in response to the Democratic Party’s continued underperformance in South Dakota elections. SDP’s mission: to recruit, train, and support good progressive candidates for local and legislative elections.

SDP is raising money for this cause; the organization drew $1,400 in donations at one Rapid City event a few days ago, thanks in part to good home brew.

Perhaps SDP will want to sweeten that home brew with some imported dollars… from George Soros and friends!

A cadre of wealthy liberal donors aims to pour tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the left’s political might in the states, racing to catch up with a decades-old conservative effort that has reshaped statehouses across the country.

The plan embraced by the Democracy Alliance, an organization that advises some of the Democrats’ top contributors, puts an urgent new focus on financing groups that can help the party regain influence in time for the next congressional redistricting process, after the 2020 elections. The blueprint approved by the alliance board calls on donors to help expand state-level organizing and lobbying for measures addressing climate change, voting rights and economic inequality [Matea Gold, “Wealthy Donors on Left Launch New Plan to Wrest Back Control in the States,” Washington Post, 2015.04.12].

Oh no—outside groups pouring money into local South Dakota elections to promote their ideological agenda? The horror!

But hey, if the Koch Brothers and ALEC are trying to buy South Dakota, doesn’t South Dakota Progress have an obligation to fight back with whatever resources it can find?

…Republicans have consolidated power in state legislatures, bolstered by lobbying groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and a network of think tanks and advocacy groups funded by the billionaires Charles and David Koch and other conservative donors. The GOP now controls 30 state legislatures, while the Democrats control 11, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Reversing the right’s momentum — and matching its financial firepower — will not be easy, alliance leaders acknowledge. Earlier this year, the Kochs and their allies pledged to spend $889 million to fund political advocacy, think tanks and educational projects in the run-up to the 2016 elections. One of the panels at the Democracy Alliance conference will be devoted to discussing the Koch network’s influence and “the electoral arms race,” according to a copy of the agenda obtained by The Washington Post [Gold, 2015.04.12].

I’d love for South Dakotans to be able to conduct their own elections and their politics without outside interference. But if the Right is going to swing that money stick, we can’t blame the Left for responding in kind.

Democracy Alliance—here’s their contact page, SDP.


  1. leslie 2015-04-14 13:45

    citizen’s united and its ilk MUST be overturned by legislation.

  2. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-14 19:36

    Speaking of lefties and righties, I read a very interesting article in Wapo about the differences between liberals and conservatives. While it’s not perfect, it’s pretty good. I buy it. What do you think?

    This might help us loyal South Dakotans understand why many of our compatriots don’t vote in the best interests of SD’s state or people.

  3. mike from iowa 2015-04-14 19:53

    I get the greed part on behalf of wingnuts. I don’t buy the rest of it. Wingnuts want to be left alone,but they won’t allow others to be left alone. Must be my smoky,killer blue eyes.

  4. leslie 2015-04-15 00:24

    how often does that line work, mfi, however I agree it is a good one?!

  5. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-04-15 17:02

    This is the gist of it:

    “Throughout history, human beings have operated under five sets of moral commitments: avoidance of harm, fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity. Conservatives recognize all five, but liberals recognize only the first two.”

    For righties the last 3 are just as important as the first 2, and only the entirety is acceptable. So, Mike and Leslie, if you’re ignoring 3-5, you must be brought back into compliance with all 5 of the moral commitments they love. Only 2 is simply not sufficient.

    So Shape Up!

  6. grudznick 2015-04-15 18:02

    That doesn’t seem like a very complimentary article to libbies. Loyalty isn’t important to libbies? I disagree, I have known and still know many libbies who are very loyal to various things/people/causes/ideals. They might not be very good with authority, but then neither is my good friend Bob. And who here among us really gives much of a mouse’s arse about sanctity?

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