MoveOn Considers Making a Democratic Endorsement
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I alluded to the creative class institutions moving to Obama yesterday, and sure enough, Ari Melber reports on the biggie.
Spurred by John Edwards's withdrawal from the race on Wednesday, MoveOn surveyed a sample of its members to gauge endorsement interest, according to a source with knowledge of the group's operations. Then MoveOn set a deadline of 11 am Thursday for members to back a virtual endorsement vote. If a majority support the idea, virtual balloting will run overnight, open only the group's 3.2 million activists, and an endorsement could be announced by Friday.
MoveOn has never endorsed a candidate for President. Last cycle, it required a 50 percent threshold for its presidential endorsement, and Howard Dean fell 6 points short. But now MoveOn has raised the bar to 66 percent-- a supermajority that will be hard for either candidate to meet. MoveOn members were largely split between Obama, Edwards, Kucinich and Clinton during its three virtual town halls about public policy last year.
Melber notes that MoveOn's relationship with DC politicians is strained, and I hear this all the time. Lobbying groups that work with MoveOn are often deeply ambivalent, seeing the brand as both a liability and an asset. Staffers on the hill don't like getting deluged with phone calls, and politicians have become quite cold since the Petraeus flap. I went to the Iowa caucuses with MoveOn's Adam Green, and randomly, Dick Durbin was at my caucus as an observer, and he was not particularly nice to Adam after he heard he worked at MoveOn. And then of course there's the censure itself. That the Village in DC hates MoveOn is a good thing for the group, since the public hates DC and occasionally politicians have to actually interact with the public. But it does put the group into an interesting position.
I think it's likely that MoveOn members will go for Obama, simply because Hillary Clinton has failed to account for her Iraq vote and has failed to lead on any progressive issue in the Senate. Obama has a tribal pull on MoveOn members, both generationally and culturally, but this could have been offset by an ideological argument from Clinton, one she didn't make. If MoveOn goes for Obama, Clinton will be reaping her own harvest.
Matt Stoller is a political activist/blogger in DC, and was an editor at MyDD from November 2005 until June 2007. He also consults for the Sunlight Foundation , FreePress.net, and Working Assets as well as proactively networking other progressive bloggers/internet activists and progressive professionals.