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writing for godot

The MayDay PAC -- the Super PAC to end all Super PACs

Written by David M Goodman   
Monday, 07 July 2014 23:40
Earthquakes in nature, especially those that score high on the Richter scale, can cause much devastation and loss of life. At a minimum, they will rearrange the landscape. Even low-scoring tremblers will put people on alert. We know something unexpected has happened and anticipate the next tremor.

Political earthquakes, as a metaphor, can have a similar effect. We may lack the precise seismic tools of the geologist but we know, at least intuitively, that something has happened. We are alert to the next tremors.

Such a political earthquake happened on Independence Day. Political prognosticators and media commentators, who dismissed or ignored anything other than the new-normal heated partisanship as being on the horizon, were taken aback. On July 4th, the MayDay PAC emerged. In fact, it was 60 days in the making – quietly gathering steam and momentum potentially to change America’s political landscape.

The MayDay PAC ( is a bold new experiment. Larry Lessig, a co-founder and leading reform advocate, called it the citizen “Super PAC to end all Super PACs.” The MayDay PAC would emphasize small donors but when multiplied by our numbers (the so-called 99 percent of Americans), our funds could rival the amounts spent by Super-rich big donors (less than 1 percent) who have purchased the government they want.

Launched May 1, the first-round goal was to raise $1 million from ordinary Americans in one month. Nearly 13,000 individuals contributed more than $1 million in 13 days. That was matched, dollar-for-dollar, by a small group of millionaires — Democrat, Republican and Libertarian. With $2 Million in the bank, the results startled the critics. Cable news and the blogosphere crackled with excitement – even if mixed with some “wait-and-see” skepticism about the next turn.

The second MayDay campaign began on June 1. That’s when Lessig and his small army of volunteers launched the next round with the goal to raise $5 million by July 4. That too would be matched, dollar-for-dollar. Supporters with name recognition, like Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak and Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, aired You Tube videos urging every day citizens to pledge donations in any amount. Results did occur but modestly against a bar set so high. The numbers increased gradually approaching $3 Million, but June was winding down. Time was running out.

That’s when the full effect of this political earthquake became apparent. A crowd-funding phenomenon kicked in, networked through the Internet and social media. Where 13,000 people contributed and won pledges from others in May, these numbers grew to more than 50,000 by the first days of July. With the days turning into hours, the tallies began to mount.

The MayDay PAC raised $1 Million in 13 days during the month of May. In Round Two, more than $1 Million was raised on one day alone -- July 4th. On that day, the MayDay PAC reached its goal of $5 Million.

Now with $12 Million, the PAC will seek to win five congressional races in 2014 as a test. The bar will then again be raised with bigger goals aimed at fundamental campaign reform in 2016. MayDay, a volunteer effort without lobbyists or consultants, seeks to make “government by the people” a national reality. The Washington establishment and Big Money people are on alert. Watch for the next tremor.

David Goodman, Ph.D., is a member of the Restore Democracy Work Group of the North Jersey Public Policy Network. your social media marketing partner
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