Monday, May 20, 2013

On opposing the National Rifle Association:
What Bloomberg has embarked upon now is nothing less than the construction of a mirror image to the NRA. There is plenty of latent public support for gun control, his logic goes, but politicians only see a risk in voting for it. He wants to reverse that calculation.

To that end, Bloomberg created a Super PAC, Independence USA. In 2012, it spent $10 million on ads supporting pro-gun-control candidates running against NRA-friendly opponents in districts where polling suggested such a stance should be a liability. This investment was credited with unseating Democratic Representative Joe Baca of California. In the past year, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which now has 975 mayors, has expanded from 15 paid staff to more than 50, with lobbyists in Washington and field organizers around the country who will likely be deployed to states with legislative fights looming. The organization is also developing its own candidate rating system.
We should do this on climate change. Absent Bloomberg's billions, maybe the aim should be lower, like state legislative elections where a state is teetering on the edge of doing something about climate.

(I'm also stealing this idea from someone I had dinner with the other day. Not always sure when someone would want credit.)

UPDATE:  I'll add that given the number of targets we would have, there's no need to be as knee-jerk as Bloomberg's group is (e.g., their attack on a moderate Dem like Begich in a conservative state like Alaska). My favorite would be to fund a climate-realist Republican who's challenging a Democrat who had voted against climate legislation. That's impossible at the federal level but not necessarily so at the state legislative level.