An Open Letter to Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus

To #WinTheFuture, I suggest a different strategy: mobilize voters of color and candidates who engage them

Hi Reid! Hi Mark!

Thank you for creating #WintheFuture “to help millions of Americans organize around a common platform.”

It is fantastic to see two guys with your insight and resources stand up for change.

(Also Reid I was delighted to see your leadership on the #DecencyPledge, way to pressure your peers!!! And your big donation to Change.org!)

I am writing because as much as I applaud your efforts, I do not think they are going to be particularly effective- I will explain why.

I strongly suggest you have a chat with your friend Mark Zuckerberg about what works and doesn’t work with his pro-immigrant policy organization FWD.US.

Sometimes we have great ideas but they are not aligned with how the world actually works.

When we discuss our ideas only with super smart white guys like us, we don’t hear other perspectives, then pay a bunch of super smart white guys to implement our ideas, the results aren’t always what we imagined.

The Democratic Party, FWD.US, the scandals rocking Silicon Valley and anyone of a number of other efforts are examples of this phenomenon.

Have you heard of another organization that has made an impact in Washington by placing billboards there?

Perhaps I am missing something?

Elected officials care about getting reelected. Who’s challenging them, what their constituents want, how much money can they raise, etc.

Elections depend on two things: who turns out to vote, and the candidates they vote for.

What would cause change?

The mobilization of vast numbers of voters of color and candidates who engage them.

Our society is changing rapidly. 44% of millennials are people of color, 47% of Generation Z are people of color, and with each subsequent generation we become more and more diverse.

By 2043 we will be a majority people of color country.

Voters of color- particularly Black women- are the most reliable group of Democratic voters, but the Democratic party- run by white people- does not listen to them.

The election of Donald Trump is largely due to white people’s racism and anxiety about becoming the minority in our society.

Trump supporters are doing everything they can to hold on to their position of power based on their race. This chart shows why:

Steve Bannon knows this and has capitalized on it.

And now the Federal government is doing all that it can to exacerbate racial inequality, from taking away our health care, to loosening restrictions on for profit colleges, to reintroducing mandatory minimum sentences.

And they will do everything in their power to suppress the vote.

Meanwhile the 2018 elections are around the corner.

I am certain there will be armed gangs of white male terrorists intimidating voters.

We have to prepare for this reality!!!!

I suggest that to #WinTheFuture, you build a new party that makes the existing party obsolete.

  1. Start by reading Steve Phillips book “Brown is the New White” and his blog Democracy in Color which tells the Democrats exactly what they need to do to win. “Progressive whites and voters of color make up the majority of the electorate and sent Barack Obama to the White House twice, but they only vote when energized by candidates,” Steve tells us.

He recommends investment in long term voter mobilization.

2. Instead of recruiting #WTF candidates like “the frontman of ’90s rock band Third Eye Blind” to run for office, give money to badass millennials of color who have already proven themselves to be change agents. We need more people like Nikkita Oliver running for office! Note- her party affiliation is “the People’s Party.”

3. Create an online platform for interracial education, dialogue and healing.

Anyone who wants to become a radical white supremacist has access to all the hate they want on Breitbart, InfoWars, the Blaze, etc.

Mainstream news outlets are amplifying Richard Spencer and his minions’ voices. Antiracists hardly ever appear in the mainstream media.

Fake news writers are making a fortune.

Who’s broke AF?

People like me writing think pieces like this one on Medium and Huffington Post where we teach people how to make the world a better place.

We set up Patreon accounts and ask people to Paypal us for our emotional labor while our loved ones plead with us “to get a job.”

Build a counterpoint to the Altright’s news outlets and pay us for our content to build and support a community of people committed to love, learning, accountability, and action on race in America that can be mobilized to vote.

4. Online mobilization is not enough to win. Support community organizers reaching out in person in low income communities to organize every group of likely Democratic voters, including poor whites, to register to vote and get to the polls.

I am seriously concerned we are on the brink of a race-based civil war, incited by Trump supporters, as we saw this week in the outrageous NRA ad.

We need to be not only mobilizing voters of color, but also low income whites.

We need to be at NASCAR races, swapmeets, small town events etc etc with a message of love and solidarity.

As the Black Panthers taught:

5. Fund a naturalization initiative to help immigrants become citizens and register to vote, another group who are highly motivated to vote for a progressive candidate who are currently ineligible.

Thanks for listening guys! I would love to discuss these ideas in person with you, and applaud your efforts to make our country great for everyone!

I just don’t want you to be wondering after you spent alot of time and money trying to change the Democratic party, “#WTF?”

Sincerely,

Karen Fleshman

Karen Fleshman is the founder of Racy Conversations.

Her mission is to build and support a community of people committed to love, learning, accountability, and action on race in America.

She cofacilitates workshops on race nationwide and online and contributes to Huffington Post.

Karen is a cofounder of San Franciscans for Police Accountability and serves on the workgroup overseeing US Department of Justice recommendations on ending bias at SFPD.

www.karenfleshman.com @fleshmankaren