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Hullabaloo


Thursday, July 24, 2014

 
Opportunity for all (if you have the bucks)


by digby

You know what this country needs more of? It needs more participation in the political process by the 1%:
Two top veterans of President Obama’s campaigns are asking political campaigners to pay $5,000 per person for the chance to learn their secrets and then work for five weeks in an unpaid campaign job somewhere in America.
Democratic operatives and progressive activists are questioning this training program launched by Obama campaign architects Mitch Stewart and Jeremy Bird. The $5,000 program promises access to the wizardry of Obama’s presidential bids — and a five-week, unpaid gig on an “important Democratic campaign.”

Run by Bird and Stewart’s consulting company, 270 Strategies, the new program’s emphasis on placing paying customers in essentially volunteer roles on Democratic campaigns is atypical in the campaign training industry, and some Democrats say it sets a dangerous precedent. The firm’s first-ever “270/360 Training Intensive” program is scheduled to begin in September.

The program’s website describes a six-week program, consisting of five days of “intensive” campaign training at 270’s Chicago HQ featuring Stewart and Bird and other “architects of the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns,” followed by five weeks of volunteer work on an “an important Democratic campaign in the United States.”

The cost for the five-day training with Bird and Stewart is $3,500. It costs $1,500 more if a student wants the five weeks of work experience. Critics say those costs are way above the market rate for campaign trainings.

“It’s deeply concerning that leaders in our party are launching a ‘pay to play’ system for would-be campaign staff,” said a Democratic campaign veteran. “As Democrats, we should be working together to eliminate workforce barriers — such as unpaid internships — rather starting programs that further discourage participation in electoral work.”
[...]
To Mikey Franklin, a former progressive field staffer who’s now trying to end the D.C. practice of unpaid internships, asking people to pay to to volunteer goes against progressive values.

“It’s a basic principle that people should work for pay; they shouldn’t pay to work,” Franklin said. “It’s shameful that 270 Strategies are throwing their progressive values out of the window by charging $5,000 for a 5-day training and an unpaid internship. How will we win for the 99% if we only recruit from the 1%?”
I'm going to guess that "progressive values" aren't really the point. The point is parlaying the Obama system, developed on the backs of millions of small donors, into big bucks. As our Democratic elites keep telling us, the problem isn't "income inequality" it's lack of "opportunity" to become rich. This just happens to be a rare opportunity. God bless America.

By the way, these are the same guys behind the centrist Ro Kanna's attempt to take out liberal Mike Honda in California, further proving that "progressive values" really aren't in play here.

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