Conservative Creep

From mediamatters.org

February 18, 2018,

To my Governor, Andrew Cuomo, my fellow New Yorkers and all Americans:

 

Conservatives Drive Up the Cost of Local Elections and Ad Campaigns – Fair Elections are Essential in a Democracy

 

I am very concerned with the “Conservative creep” into central New York east of Lake Ontario. I realize that Syracuse has always had a bent towards Republicans, but candidates, until recently, have not documented the huge expenditures that we have seen in the most recent House elections. In 2016 Washington, DC came to Syracuse and fought the election out on our turf. Both parties spent lots of money. In the 24th District 7 million dollars was spent on the Katko/Deacon contest.

 

https://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary?cycle=2016&id=NY24

 

Total Raised and Spent

 Download .csv file

Candidate Raised Spent Cash on Hand Last Report
John Katko (R) • Incumbent • Winner $2,656,070 $2,384,152 $285,701 12/31/2016
Colleen Deacon (D) $1,483,168 $1,478,639 $4,519 12/31/2016

 

From Center For Responsive Politics

 

https://www.opensecrets.org/races/outside-spending?cycle=2016&id=NY24

 

Candidates Opposed/Supported

Candidate Supported Opposed All 2016 Total
(Supported and Opposed)
Deacon, Colleen (D) $33,206 $1,985,810 $2,019,016
Katko, John (R) $680,653 $1,204,137 $1,884,790
Kingson, Eric (D) $21,174 $0 $21,174

Outside Groups Spending Money in this Race

Click group name to see on which candidates they have spent money supporting/opposing.

Committee Type All 2016 Total
American Hospital Assn PAC $200,091
American Unity PAC SuperPAC $93,501
Blue America PAC IE Cmte SuperPAC $14,312
ClearPath Action SuperPAC $111,347
Congressional Leadership Fund SuperPAC $772,007
Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte PAC $919,238
House Majority PAC SuperPAC $314,010
National Assn of Realtors 501c $3,151
National Nurses United SuperPAC $6,862
National Republican Congressional Cmte PAC $1,458,053
NRA Institute for Legislative Action 501c $26,644
NRA Institute for Legislative Action 501c $1,669
Planned Parenthood of Rochester/Syracuse Region 501c $1,288
Sierra Club 501c $2,797
Sierra Club PAC $10
·       Money spent in support of a candidate

 

·       Money spent in opposition

 

·       Neither in support nor opposition/neutral

 

That’s a lot of money spent in a small city like Syracuse. Notice the big difference in the amounts spent on support ads.

 

If you look at the 22nd district where Elise Stefanik was elected you see that Republicans can keep driving up the cost of elections and that Democrats must follow suit, and then the Republicans just spend more and they win.

 

https://www.opensecrets.org/races/outside-spending?cycle=2016&id=NY21

 

Candidates Opposed/Supported

Candidate Supported Opposed All 2016 Total
(Supported and Opposed)
Derrick, Mike (D) $10 $379,697 $379,707
Stefanik, Elise (R) $233,268 $0 $233,268

Outside Groups Spending Money in this Race

Click group name to see on which candidates they have spent money supporting/opposing.

Committee Type All 2016 Total
Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions 501c $65,897
ClearPath Action SuperPAC $159,325
Congressional Leadership Fund SuperPAC $379,697
Conserv America Building a Brighter Future PAC $1,000
Humane Society Legislative Fund 501c $4,867
NRA Institute for Legislative Action 501c $2,179
Sierra Club PAC $10
·       Money spent in support of a candidate

 

·       Money spent in opposition

 

·       Neither in support nor opposition/neutral

 

Notice the money spent to oppose and support each candidate. This only represents outside spending. This district includes many rural towns and has Watertown, NY as its largest city. Check out poor Mike Derrick. Do you think he had a chance?

 

In the 21st district an astonishing 12 million dollars was spent to elect Republican Claudia Tenney

 

https://www.opensecrets.org/races/outside-spending?cycle=2016&id=NY22

 

Candidates Opposed/Supported

Candidate Supported Opposed All 2016 Total
(Supported and Opposed)
Tenney, Claudia (R) $507,404 $3,311,654 $3,819,058
Myers, Kim (D) $487,955 $1,936,834 $2,424,789
Babinec, Martin (3) $49,734 $1,625,344 $1,675,078
Wells, Steven M (R) $78,294 $0 $78,294
Phillips, George (R) $1,198 $0 $1,198

 

 

Outside Groups Spending Money in this Race

Click group name to see on which candidates they have spent money supporting/opposing.

Committee Type All 2016 Total
Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions 501c $65,897
ClearPath Action SuperPAC $159,325
Congressional Leadership Fund SuperPAC $379,697
Conserv America Building a Brighter Future PAC $1,000
Humane Society Legislative Fund 501c $4,867
NRA Institute for Legislative Action 501c $2,179
Sierra Club PAC $10
·       Money spent in support of a candidate

 

·       Money spent in opposition

 

·       Neither in support nor opposition/neutral

 

These are insane amounts of money to spend on local elections and it would not be possible or necessary if the Republicans had not made sure to win the Citizen’s United decision in the Supreme Court (which was ostensibly about an anti-Hillary movie). In this way, via the courts, Conservatives have been able to up the financial ante on local elections and this probably explains, in part, why the GOP has collected 30 states (I see this as the way the Koch brothers have collected 30 states.) These people, once elected, vote with their Conservative overlords almost all the time. They know who butters their bread.

So, Governor Cuomo, now these Conservatives are trying to collect our state, and they have a good head start on at least a part of the state. They may never be able to turn New York City red, but they won’t have to worry much about that when they will have bought and paid for such a big slice of New York State west of New York City.

 

Conservatives Buying Local News Outlets – Free Press Essential to Democracy

 

Besides creeping into local elections, Conservatives have been buying up local media. Syracuse has a big university which usually signals a place with more liberal values, but the large and influential Newhouse School of communications (media) carries the name of the Conservative Newhouse family and, although Syracuse also is home to Lemoyne College, this Roman Catholic school is also quite Conservative. Still local news channels have never been a national Conservative target until now. Sinclair Broadcasting now owns NBC and CBS local news broadcasts. Sinclair is so Conservative that it has been inserting Fox “fake” news about national politics (Trump) into our local news broadcasts. They were not subtle at all at first, employing commenters like Sebastian Gorka, but recently they have been using lesser known news readers.

Naïvely, I had believed, that ABC had been left as our one local news source, but that is not so. ABC local news is owned by Nextstar, a close ally of Sinclair, out of Texas. These Conservative media companies have Ajit Pai of the FCC helping them buy even more local stations. You know him from his recent decision against net neutrality. Sinclair has requested that news managers at the stations it owns contribute a set amount to Sinclair’s PAC. If you actually think this is only a “request”, you are dreaming; this is extortion. They reason that it is fine, they say, is because it is not a request for actual TV journalists (news people) to “contribute”, so it does not constitute undue influence. (Very droll, the very fact that  they are here is already undue influence).

http://feixingren.com/comics/%22?lifestyle/style/sinclair-broadcast-group-solicits-its-news-directors-for-its-political-fundraising-efforts/2018/02/10/0e3d8a08-0c54-11e8-8b0d-891602206fb7_story.html

See the end of this post for more articles on Sinclair and Nexstar. You will note that, in fact, Nexstar has already accepted $5000 contributions from news managers at the stations it owns.

 

Implications

 

This is the way dictators take over governments, although they may be more explosive and less stealthy about it. They buy elections. They say fiercely negative things about opposition candidates. These days they do this in professionally produced TV ads. They take over the media so that it cannot be used against them. As far as I know they have only bought our national politicians. Our local government seems to be, for the time being, local. This could change if Conservatives decide they have enough leverage in New York to overturn the ban on fracking or the Safe Act. Turning America Conservative is the full time hobby of the Koch brothers and the web of Conservative organizations they have created. As far as I know Conservatives have not taken over the military or the police, but they may be working on it.

 

What are your ideas Governor Cuomo? New Yorkers?

 

You may dismiss me as paranoid or just plain wrong and, since this is just one person putting together clues, I can certainly understand that. But you know there is no love lost between New York and 45, or New York and the Conservatives. You have been standing strong against the onslaught. However, you may not think things are as bad as I do. But it might be good to think about what could be done to get our local elections and local media outlets back from the right-wing, which seems to be waging a slow-mo coup against America’s two-party system. Of course, Central New York is not a thriving part of the state at the moment and there is no way that this geographic region has the financial resources to compete with the Koch brothers and big Washington politics if it becomes all-out war. And I doubt if Albany is wealthy enough to beat wealthy Conservative donors at their own game either. We would have to be quite creative and make them play a new game. Is there another game? What can be done to wean the people of Central New York, from more suburban and rural areas far from the influences of NYC, from FOX “fake” News? Don’t you think it might be worth our while to try to make our hinterlands feel less neglected?

 

More Sinclair and Nexstar articles:

Sinclair Tribune deal bad for America

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-sinclair-tribune-merger-is-a-rotten-deal-for-america_us_59b0587ce4b0c50640cd643d

Sinclair and Nexstar

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sinclair-broadcast-and-nexstar-media-announce-agreement-on-market-transition-from-atsc-10-to-atsc-30-nextgen-services-300491754.html

https://www.fiercecable.com/broadcasting/sinclair-and-nexstar-take-a-big-step-toward-next-generation-tv

 

My own recent posts on the subject of the Sinclair takeover:

 

http://thearmchairobserver.com/keep-eye-media-takeover/

http://thearmchairobserver.com/sinclair-we-heart-free-speech/

http://thearmchairobserver.com/sinclair-broadcasting-immigration/

 

 

Call to Action:  Sign My Petition

 

I also started to circulate a Move On petition entitled Conservative Creep. Please sign if you can support this and share it.

https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/conservative-creep

 

 

 

 

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