Those of us at FPC and at other Florida blogs have been arguing for years that more money needs to be poured into progressive infrastructure in the state and beyond. And it’s good to see some movement in that direction, particularly with groups like Progress Florida, Florida Watch Action, Organize Now and others. These groups are doing great work, but they can only handle a part of the problems we face. There are two key areas that we still need significant infrastructure or we will forever have trouble fighting the other side:
1. Information sharing: Did you ever notice that every conservative — and even most non-conservatives — have all the right-wing talking points at their fingertips? No matter what you say to a conservative, they have market-tested talking points ready to go. Whether they come from ALEC or Fox News or Rush Limbaugh or the NRA or whoever, if you talk to 100 conservatives about any issues, all 100 of them will hit the exact same talking points. On some level this is wrong, since it stifles voices and individual freedom. On another level, it’s necessary for long-term victory that we create something to get legitimate talking points based on actual facts into the hands of those people who are making the case to their friends, family, co-workers, etc., about what’s really happening in the world. The research is being done, we just don’t have a good system to get it into the hands of everyday progressives and liberals.
2. Movement building: Where is the money for young Democrats? Or progressive bloggers? Or campaign staffers? Where are the jobs, particularly in non-election years? Where is the candidate training? Where is the staffer training? Where is the training for interest groups? Where is the money that goes to make sure that there is an army of candidates, staffers, bloggers and activists who have the knowledge, skills and time to do the work of the movement? The other side has it. We don’t. Again, some of this stuff is being done, but not nearly enough and it isn’t nearly comprehensive enough.
Personally, I’ve had a bit of a scattered personal mission in recent years because there are so many problems to deal with that it’s hard to know where to start and it’s hard to not try to fix everything. But no one person can do all of it. Great people are doing great work on some of the problems we face, maybe my focus should be more on this stuff, particularly number one. More to come…