San Francisco Values
There was a firestorm last week when Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro tweeted the names of 44 of his constituents who had contributed the maximum amount to President Trump’s reelection campaign. I’ve got news for you: Those 44 names barely touch the surface of the publicly available data about individual campaign contributions.
If you’re on the mailing list for any of the 26 candidates still dreaming of the White House, you’ve heard that presidential campaigns had to report their quarterly fundraising numbers in the middle of July. When August rolled around, that information became freely available. Thanks to the Federal Election Commission, I can find out everything about your political donations — and so can anyone else with an appetite for spelunking through obscure public datasets.
By California standards, I’ve gone comically overboard with the American flag. I’ve got my hat and my socks, my tie and my lapel pin, and a six-footer hanging in my room. In many parts of the country, that’s normal, but here at home, I’m inviting mockery. My friends are bewildered: how could a young liberal like me, proud of his “San Francisco values,” possibly hang such a symbol in the “America First” era of nearly everything I stand against?
It’s easy to understand why liberals have negative connotations for the American flag, because it has become a favorite symbol of conservative politicians. This president treats the flag like a political security blanket — an image made literal by a goofy photo of him hugging a flagpole at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March.
If you’re concerned about gerrymandering, the last few weeks have been painful. But instead of stewing over the Supreme Court’s disappointing decision in the North Carolina gerrymandering case or the Trump Administration’s attempts to interfere with the next census, I’ve tried to hold on to one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s favorite lines: “We don’t agonize, we organize.”
In Congress, this organizing has already begun. Under Pelosi’s gavel, the new Democratic majority opened this legislative session with a flourish, reserving the prime designation of House Resolution 1 for a sweeping package of reforms to voting rights, campaign finance, and government ethics policies. Nestled in the 571-page bill is the little-noticed Redistricting Reform Act of 2019, Congress’ radical push to fix gerrymandering.