Organizing CAN Trump Special Interest Money in Elections
Last night, voters rejected a vision for our country that would have taken our economy, environmental regulations and consumer protections back decades. If there is one overarching lesson this election taught us, it’s that political organizing CAN overcome industry money in elections. But we can’t sit back and assume protections for our essential resources will improve; instead, we need to take lessons from the last four years and redouble our organizing efforts to press the Obama administration, Congress, and state legislatures across the country to keep our food and water safe and keep our essential resources in public hands.
Two ballot measures Food & Water Watch worked on this cycle illustrate the need and power of organizing, even in the face of entrenched and powerful interests.
One of the most exciting victories from election night was in Longmont, Colorado where voters passed an historic and precedent setting ballot initiative to ban fracking. We were up against incredible odds in Longmont, with the oil and gas industry spending over half-a-million dollars for TV commercials, full-page ads and multiple mailers to try to scare Longmont citizens. Governor Hickenlooper sued the citizens of Longmont to slow down our efforts and the Denver Post editorialized against this vote to ban fracking, but we were on the ground, knocking on doors, talking to voters and doing the hard work to support a citizen-led effort to protect our health, safety and property, and the citizens of Longmont spoke loud and clear. We won with nearly 60% of the vote!
We also worked hard in California with many of our allies to pass Proposition 37, which would require labeling for all genetically engineered foods. This popular measure was only narrowly defeated at the polls, due in large part to the massive spending by large chemical and junk food companies (which outspent our side by over $40 million.) Despite this loss, support for GE food labels has never been stronger, and we will continue to build a robust national grassroots campaign to push for mandatory labeling across the country.
If you aren’t already on our mailing list, please join it now to remain informed on an ongoing basis about actions you can take to help build power to protect our food and water. We need your support to keep growing the movement! As the election demonstrated, together we can fight for the food and water protections we all want and deserve.