A strategy to change the balance of power

Idaho is dominated by one political party.

The real contests in our state are within the Republican Party, between their moderate and extreme factions. Democrats have not been able to viably contest power in decades. This has been demoralizing for Democrats and Independents, and they don’t have a believable theory of change that brings them hope and reliably motivates them to action.

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But, the most important distinction to make in Idaho state politics is the balance of power — Grassroots vs Big Money.

This situation is on clear display when our legislature focuses year after year on tax breaks, slashing government services, and controversial culture war issues. Those policies serve to enrich wealthy individuals and corporations by divesting from working families and communities, while preoccupying people with issues that don’t significantly distribute resources. Conversely, people-focused policies are “bread and butter” or “consensus” issues that make the lives of working people substantially better — like access to affordable healthcare, quality education, and fair wages. …

And the impressions they left on me

#1) Break ’Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money (Zephyr Teachout)

This book made a huge impression on me. I would have said I was pretty concerned about monopolies and corporate consolidation before, but after this book, I’m 5x more concerned. I heard about it because my friend Luke Mayville was reading it.

#2) Ready Player Two (Earnest Cline)

I really enjoyed Ready Player One, so I was excited for the sequel. I didn’t even know how much it would delve into topics that have fascinated me for years, like brain computer interfaces (like Neuralink), artificial intelligence (Super Intelligence), and transhumanism. There was A LOT to think about.

#3) Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor (Steven Greenhouse)

This was mentioned in Break ’Em Up (#1).

#4) Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963–1965 (Taylor Branch)

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If you can’t mobilize now, research for future success

My first “movement experience” came from Cole Valley Speaks. I caught the bug, and I knew I needed to continue being a part of these powerful expressions of injustice and demands for change. Later, I built on that foundation as a core member of Reclaim Idaho, and dabbled in climate activism with Sunrise Boise.

I’ve known for a long time that Idaho needs transformation political change, but I didn’t know how it could happen. I explored ideas in electoral politics and delved into different theories of change. I came to realize one of the biggest avenues for change, sustained movements, are largely absent from Idaho’s socio-political environment. …

A blog for widely sharing stories, methods, inspiration, and confidence

(TL;DR — Sign up here to get fresh people power content in your inbox.)

I’ve spent the last year thinking about ways to politically transform Idaho.

When I look at how our state decides how society should work, I see a scale symbolizing a balance of power. On one side is money, and on the other side are people. Money is winning. It’s not even close.

If we want more people power, we need to shift political identities.

In today’s world, it’s basically a given that Democrats and Independents align more with people power than Republicans. But Republicans are holding 80% of the seats in our Legislature.

The people are voting Republican. Based on their identities, not their interests.

Most Idahoans are poor and struggling financially. When they vote Republican, for their promises of limited government, they’re not doing themselves any favors. They’re telling the government to spend less and tax less, but when that happens, it’s their services that are being cut and the wealthy that are seeing the tax benefits. …

Go beyond what you can do yourself. Create a team.

I grew up in Idaho, but it wasn’t until 2016 that I decided I wanted to make it my longterm home. I loved Boise, our public lands, our cost of living, and many aspects of our culture.

But I hated Idaho’s politics.

Ultimately, I decided that was a tradeoff I had to live with because it wasn’t going to change.

In 2018, it changed.

After a ragtag group of volunteers got Medicaid Expansion on the ballot, Idaho overwhelmingly supported it with 61% of the vote, defying our legislators who had ignored that crisis for 10 years.

I had hope.

That was a watershed event, and I knew it was possible to change Idaho politics for the better. I needed to be a part of that. …

Documentary teaser, online petition, upcoming barbecue, and organizer reflections

The original blog post was published one year ago, today, on February 13, 2019.

This post commemorates the beginning of Cole Valley Speaks, and it kicks off the next phase of our movement.

Items Below —

  • The first teaser trailer for our documentary, Let’s Pray About It
  • Our online petitionStop Stonewalling Your People, Cole Valley
  • An invitation to our upcoming barbecue on Sunday, 2/23
  • Personal reflections from organizers — Cameron Crow, Katherine Lucile Beck, Ryan Kinney, Apollo Annisen

Documentary Teaser Trailer

Check out our first teaser trailer for the upcoming documentary release!

Online Petition

Please sign our online petition telling Cole Valley to meet with us for a dialogue. …

For Immediate Release — November 16, 2019

Sandpoint — A day after the Federal Government approved Idaho’s State Medicaid Expansion Plan, BYU-Idaho dealt a second blow to students and families in Idaho’s second largest college. The Administration is rejecting Medicaid Expansion for its students just days after it rejected Medicaid coverage. Brigham Young University-Idaho students are required to have health insurance before they can enroll.

“The university is putting students and families at risk with these sudden and unexplained decisions. This was a bad week for the entire BYU-Idaho community,” said Luke Mayville, Reclaim Idaho Co-Founder. …

Respondents are not happy with our Legislature. They want to help new leaders get elected.

Make Idaho Better is the easiest way to be a part of state and local solutions. Do your part.

Cam’s Main Takeaways

  1. Most respondents are disapproving of the Idaho Legislature, including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
  2. Our 2-party system is deeply unpopular with our Democrat and Independent respondents, but our Republicans mildly approve of it.
  3. Interest in political activism was very high. They want to help a great local candidate get elected.

Table of Contents

  • Idaho Politicians Survey
  • Sample Demographics
  • Feelings about the word “politician"
  • Approve of your elected representatives?
  • Legislature look like your community?
  • 2-party system work well?
  • Would you help a great local candidate?
  • When would you vote Independent? …

Our app for working smarter, not harder

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Bottom line up front — If you collect signatures for Reclaim Idaho, we need you to fill out this form and start using our new app to track signers. Do it!

In 2018, we made history with brute strength. 💪

2,000 volunteers collected over 50,000 signatures to get Medicaid Expansion on the ballot, and it passed with 61% of the vote. That was an enormous feat, and we did it with very little tech.

For 2020, we’ve got a new plan. 🤓

We’re using state of the art technology to give us the biggest impact from our efforts. We’re working smarter, not harder.

Reach is the key. 🔑

It’s a powerful new mobile app that’s making waves with grassroots political organizations through the country. …

Questions, Results, and Analysis

Make Idaho Better is the easiest way to be a part of state and local solutions. Do your part.

We’re fortunate to live in a democracy, where we can choose our leaders during elections. But, that doesn’t guarantee that we always have great representatives. What do you think about your elected leaders?


Here are the questions

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Here are the results


Cam Crow

Organizing for change

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