The Teachers’ Union’s Election Day Push

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pirateheart/2416967979/">England</a> (<a href="http://www.creativecommons.org">Creative Commons</a>).

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The National Education Association, the largest teachers’ union (actually, the largest union, period) in America, has long been closely tied to the Democratic Party. This election year is no different: this cycle, the union has spent some $40 million to elect (mostly) Dems around the country. (That’s up from 2006, but down from 2008, a presidential election year.) 

About a third of that money—$17 million—was funneled toward independent expenditures to support three incumbent senators: Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), as well as Joe Sestak, the Dem candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania. The NEA is also targeting a number of House districts the Dems stand a very good chance of losing: AZ-05 (Harry Mitchell), CO-03 (John Salazar), FL-22 (Ron Klein), IL-17 (Phil Hare), NY-01 (Tim Bishop), NC-08 (Larry Kissell), OH-13 (Betty Sutton), PA-08 (Patrick Murray), VA-05 (Tom Perriello), and TX-23 (Ciro Rodriguez). In a real GOP wave, all of those targeted candidates could lose. But the union thinks it made its targeting choices wisely: “We’ve been very strategic about how we spend our resources,” Karen White, the NEA’s director of campaigns and elections, told me last week. “We targeted [these candidates] because they need a lot of help and they’re in marginal races. That’s where we have the greatest ability to make an impact.”

So what’s happened to the rest of the NEA’s investment? About a third of it was spent on ballot measure campaigns in Massachusetts and Washington, and another third went to member-to-member outreach and get-out-the-vote efforts. That last bit is what will really have an effect today.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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