(This week's winner! - promoted by Paul Rosenberg)
The voters hit the polls and the people decided in the fifth American Blogger contest. And the winner was PIE! (Progressive Investment Effectiveness) You can read my original comment here. Essentially it is a idea to develop a system (PIE! Scores) to determine which candidates progressive small donors should donate to if they want their money to be most effectively used to create progressive change via the political system.
In this post I will go into a bit more detail about the project and then will outline ideas for criteria and ask for your brilliant ideas for different criteria! This project won't work if it's just one person working on it, we need as many people as possible to make this a people-powered PIE! project.
First off let me talk a bit more about the project. The idea is to come up with a set of criteria on which to determine how effective small dollars would be in bringing progressive change, then each candidate running a semi-competitive challenge gets assigned a PIE! Score. Hopefully progressive small donors will look at those PIE! Scores when they are making their donations and progressives will be more effective in making change via the electoral system.
The criteria I originally proposed were:
1. Seats Where We Can Make the Most Progress: Crisitunity of Swing State Project has developed a method of predicting in which races replacing the incumbent with the challenger would produce the largest right to left swing in voting. You can view the House edition here and the Senate edition here. Debbie Cook in CA-46 and Andrew Rice in OK-Sen would earn the most points in this category while Becky Greenwald in IA-04 and Jim Slattery in KS-Sen would fare the worst.
2. Likelihood of victory: Investing in races where Democrats are already heavily favored (Mark Warner in VA-Sen) or where Democrats don't seem like they have a chance (Wyoming's Senate races for example) is not a very good use of money. In this we would factor in a number of considerations to determine what the likelihood of victory in each race is. Races that are tossups or competitive (AK-Sen or NM-01 for example) would earn the highest points while races that seem safe (NY-13, NM-Sen) or very tough (CA-46, GA-Sen) earn less. We would have to come up with a exact system for this. Potentially we could average out the rankings of the Swing State Project, Cook Political Report, Chris Bowers and Nate Silver, something like that.
3. Money's effectiveness: In Alaska when you advertise all the money is being spent on getting your message in front of potential voters eyes. In say IL-10 when you advertise on TV your spending lots of money reaching people who live in the Chicago area but not in your district. Therefore races with cheap media markets that predominantly reach potential voters (NE-Sen, WY-AL) get high points while races that have expensive media markets that don't just reach your voters (VA-Sen, IL-10) get lower marks.
4. Progressive Leadership Bonus: We also want to elect progressive leaders. People who have endorsed the Responsible Plan (Darcy Burner), put out statements against FISA (Tom Perriello), worked for progressive movement organizations (Andrew Rice) or showed other tendencies that indicates they would be a progressive leader in Congress (Al Franken) would get extra bonuses. For example Tom Perriello was a original signer of the Responsible Plan, put out statements against FISA and worked for a movement organization (Avaaz.org) so he would score very well. Someone like Ronnie Musgrove (MS-Sen) who has showed signs of being a very unprogressive leader (like pushing to put the Ten Commandments in public places) would not get any bonus here.