How can you make sure that your political contributions get you the most bang for your buck?
There is an organization that uses scientific research to help all of us on the left contribute our money to candidates wisely. I just found out about this organization on Tuesday, and fortuitously there was a Zoom meeting with them that I was able to attend on Wednesday. Their name is Force Multiplier (FM), and I am going to tell you about them.
In 2017, a group of people in Massachusetts, unhappy with the direction of the country under Trump, came together to form an organization that would try to raise money for candidates who could defeat some of the Republicans in office and thereby start to turn our country around.
None of them had deep pockets, but they thought that by using scientific research to guide people to the right candidates, they could have an impact.
Indeed, for the election of 2018, they raised $700,000 from 1200 donors, channeling that money to 15 well-researched House candidates, and 13 of them won. This was huge in helping turn the House of Representatives blue, which enabled the House to stop much of the worst of what Trump tried to do.
FM uses three criteria to choose candidates to support:
- They analyze candidates using three independent political experts: Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Sabato’s Crystal Ball. These experts give guidance as to which Democrats have a real chance.
- They analyze the impact that contributions would have. For instance, while Mark Kelly is someone we want to see win in Arizona, he has raised $23 million on his own, so he doesn’t really need the help of FM. Likewise, Sara Gideon in Maine received help earlier this year from FM, but because she has quite a network across New England now financing her, she has graduated from FM. On the other hand, FM is not giving money to Amy McGrath; while we would all like to see Mitch McConnell out of the Senate, he is currently leading her in the polls by 15-17%, so
giving her money wouldn’t have the impact it would have in closer races. We can defeat McConnell at least as far as removing him as Senate majority leader by electing other Democratic senate candidates who have a better chance of winning and thereby turning the Senate blue.
- Confluence – By choosing two candidates from a swing state, this will attract more Democrats to the polls who will also vote for Biden-Harris. Therefore, FM is supporting both Senate Democratic candidates in Georgia (Warnock and Ossoff) as well as two House candidates there. FM is also supporting two House candidates in Iowa (in addition to Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield) and two in Pennsylvania.
In addition to supporting candidates, FM supports three organizations:
- The Movement Voter Project funds 57 organizations and local leaders that are organizing in their own communities year-round, not one-off campaigns that come and go each cycle. Their Movement Voter Fund specifically supports 501(c)(3) organizations working in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida,
North Carolina and Arizona. I attended a fundraiser for this program early this year and contributed; I was very impressed by MVP.
- Protecting the right to vote – Support the work of Stacey Abrams and making sure that the elections of 2020 are a Fair Fight. Fair Fight is a national voting rights organization rooted in Georgia committed to building a comprehensive program to staff, fund, and train voter protection teams in battleground states across America. This is an unprecedented, 20-state program.
- The DSCC’s (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) Legal Fund is making an investment in a legal strategy across key battleground states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas that will take on the Republicans’ decades-long voter suppression efforts and increase access to the ballot for young people, communities of color, and rural voters. Donations pay for activities like the litigation necessary to fight voter registration restrictions, voting barriers, ballot order manipulation, bans on organizations helping voters to submit ballots. and many other issues. They will be the ones to fight the Post Office shutdown. They have already won important victories and are leading key lawsuits in battleground states. The more funding they have, the more actions they can take to defend American Democracy.
So far this year, FM has raised about $2 million and has 4500 contributors. They are shooting for a total of $2.5 million. The six senators they are supporting are Bullock in Montana, Cunningham in North Carolina, Greenfield in Iowa, Hickenlooper in Colorado, and Warnock and Ossoff in Georgia. FM is also supporting 9 House candidates; they started the year
supporting 12, but 6 graduated out, and they picked three more.
You can contribute on the Force Multiplier site to any or all of the Senate and House candidates
and the three programs being supported. You can also contribute on the candidates’ sites
yourself, but I would give on the FM site so FM can track how effective they are. Your money
goes directly to Act Blue and then on to the candidates and the programs. FM is made up of all
volunteers, so none of your money goes to them. Besides contributing money, you can be a
multiplier, emailing your contacts about FM and getting them to contribute. Finally, you can
host your own house party, in which one or more of the leaders of FM will appear by Zoom to go
through the details. I attended a house party to find out all this information in just one hour.
I hope you are convinced that this is a really good way to channel your political contributions.
Just go to the FM website at https://www.forcemultiplierma.org/. From there you can navigate
to the page for the Senate candidates, the House candidates, the three programs, and even
donating to Biden-Harris. We all want to do what we can to turn things around, and this is
probably the smartest way to use our money.