End Citizens United, the grassroots organization that seeks to limit the influence of big money in politics, has been following the campaign of Beto O’Rourke. According to a July 10, 2018 article on the Premiere Gazette website, End Citizens United has conducted surveys showing Beto has been gaining ground on Ted Cruz, incumbent Senator from Texas. According to the Premiere Gazette article, Cruz’s lead has slid from 14 to 18% down to 5 to 8%. Although Beto’s campaign is still considered a long shot, End Citizens United is encouraged by the trend. Visit End Citizen United on Twitter for more updates.
As might be expected, grassroots funding cannot usually raise as much money as the dark money campaigns that draw from rich anonymous donors. That means that surveys become particularly important. They tell the PACs where to direct their scarce resources. Other groups have stepped forward in support of Beto, such as the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). However, LCV’s backing of Beto is as much due to their opposition of Cruz as to their support for Beto.
Think we need to get Big Money out of our politics? Apply to be a Fall Intern with us in D.C.: https://t.co/NVOwjcQAqM
— End Citizens United (@StopBigMoney) August 5, 2018
What is End Citizens United’s stake in all of this? According to the Premiere Gazette article, they have four goals: electing pro-reform candidates, keeping the national discussion focused on the negative effects of big money, passing pro-reform legislation at the state level, and using grassroots tactics to counter big money politics. The combination of these four goals has led to support of candidates on both the local and national political stage. The article notes that grassroots tactics include not only how candidates fund campaigns but also how they run their campaigns. The use of call-in campaigns and Beto’s well-publicized travels to every county in Texas are part of this grassroots strategy.
While Democrat Beto O’Rourke is a long-shot to unseat an incumbent Republican Senator in a strongly conservative state, the fact that he has been closing the gap on his opponent through the use of grassroots tactics are an encouraging sign for End Citizens United and similar groups that these tactics could work in the long run.