I first donated money to a campaign in the 2006 elections. In 2008, I found myself willing to donate more, and I even held a small fund raiser at my home for the Democratic candidate for Congress in my district. As I read about candidates across the country, I made small-dollar donations to a few through ActBlue. Like many of you, I like to think my $50 secured the Senate seat for Al Franken.
But Mr. Franken had a much more potent ally than me in his race. He had a student on staff all summer -- someone who could "develop and implement field strategies necessary to recruit volunteers, identify and persuade supporters." That student fellow was financed by SNAP PAC, a political action committee whose full name is Students for a New American Politics.
SNAP PAC pays a college student up to a $2500 stipend (and provides housing and transportation) to work as a full staff member on the campaign of a progressive candidate. In 2008, SNAP PAC recruited and placed student organizers with the campaigns of Tom Allen (ME-Sen), Darcy Burner (WA-08), Al Franken (MN-Sen), Jim Himes (CT-04), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), Tom Perriello (VA-05), Dan Seals (IL-10), Jeanne Shaheen (NH-Sen), and Victoria Wulsin (OH-02). You win some, you lose some, but each of those candidates had the assistance of a full-time SNAP PAC student fellow and in each case, that young organizer enjoyed the benefit of participating fully in a campaign for a full summer. Who knows what rewards that will provide progressives years from now?
As I've skimmed stories and diaries here at DKos, I see that many people, including Kos himself, are frustrated, angry or even hostile to the DCCC, DSCC, and the DNC for supporting candidates whose politics are hardly progressive. Well, if you're looking for a way to invest your donation across several progressive campaigns, and if you recognize the value of providing the support necessary for the next wave of progressive activists to learn the ropes, consider a donation to SNAP PAC.
The SNAP PAC website is here. They also maintain a blog. If you know (or are) a student who might like to become a fellow, and work on a campaign this summer, you can get the application and contact info for questions on the SNAP PAC site. I believe they are taking applications until March 31. Of course, there are the obligatory Facebook page and Twitter account for you to fan and follow.
You can donate through ActBlue. If you live in greater NYC area, there are two fundraisers coming up as well. On February 24th , Katrina vanden Heuvel is hosting a fund raiser at the offices of The Nation magazine in New York. On February 28th, Ned Lamont and Congressman Jim Himes will be at a SNAP PAC fund raiser in New Canaan, CT. You can get more information about these events or RSVP at info [at] snappac [dot] org .
For the record, I am not affiliated with SNAP PAC in any way, except that I just donated. I found out about this opportunity when a friend forwarded me an invite to one of the upcoming fund raisers. I thought it was a perfect thing for Kossaks to be aware of and -- if so inclined -- support for the electoral battles of 2010 and beyond.