Rob Stein's Democracy Alliance

In Start Making Sense, Rob Stein talks about the "conservative money matrix" that has fueled the success of right-wing politics over the last 30 years. A new article over at the Christian Science Monitor has Stein discussing the Democracy Alliance initiative, which came about as a result of his research on the financial arms of the right-wing:


"... The year-old Democracy Alliance has secured more than $80 million in pledges from rich, liberal donors.

But that money won't fund ads by the likes of MoveOn.org, as it did in the 2004 campaign. Instead, Democracy Alliance is acting as a financial clearinghouse, one that intends to direct as much as $200 million over several years to strengthen the long-term prospects for progressive ideals. It's an approach Democracy Alliance founder Rob Stein calls 'patient capital.'"

Some interesting facts from the "us versus them" camp as well:
"'Conservative think tanks outnumber liberal ones by about 2-to-1, and they out-resource liberal ones by about 3-to-1,' says Andrew Rich, a political science professor at City College of New York and author of Think Tanks, Public Policy, and the Politics of Expertise.

Democracy Alliance is looking to pull progressives out of the frame of single-issue politics by funding wider-scoped projects and networking various smaller think tanks together. That means groups previously only focused on, for example, environmental issues, will be lined up with other groups sharing progressive values and vision, such as reproductive rights groups and others.

It's a welcome breath of fresh air in the "funding ideas" department. Too often groups are forced to compete for the same money, allowing the blinders of "I must fund my project" to go on. If progressives can unite and grow a stronger network of resources, without falling into the trap of overall consensus, the foundation laid will be thicker than the one conservatives had to work with 30 years ago -- they were basically starting from scratch. Progressives at least have the pieces there; now it's time to collect them into a progressive idea and money matrix that will advance our values in both discourse and legislation.
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