ALEC, Meet SiX

After the recent midterm elections, Politico reported on what it dubbed an ALEC-killer.

According to Nick Rathod, a Democratic operative, Progressives are looking around to figure out where to go to push back, and there has not been a vehicle to do that at the state level…. 

For that reason, Rathod started, and has been tapped to run, SiX, the State Innovation Exchange.  SiX is intended to be a competitor with ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.  ALEC is an organization that has for years promoted and even written pro-business, anti-regulation legislation in a plethora of states.

Rathod’s raison d’etre for SiX is this: Democrats have essentially ceded state elections in recent years.  As a result, Republicans now control a majority of state legislatures.  As another result, progressives like Rathod are afraid that such state-level hegemony might be used to hamstring key Democratic constituencies such as organized labor.

SiX hopes to raise $10 million a year to support progressive state legislators.  That support will have an element of ALEC-imitation; SiX plans to offer state legislatures templates for progressive legislation on such topics as environmental protections, voting rights, and the minimum wage.  More engagingly, SiX also plans to use what Politico has called bare-knuckle tactics (e.g., opposition research and video tracking) to derail Republicans and their initiatives.

If SiX succeeds in its efforts, the 2016 presidential election could shape up quite differently than it otherwise might have.  As encouraging: if indeed SiX is successful, it could affect the redrawing of congressional district boundaries after the 2020 census.

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Michele Petrovsky holds a Master's Degree in Computer Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She spent over two decades teaching in colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and currently publishes two blogs: Thoughts4Change and I Owe It All to J Thaddeus Toad. Petrovsky resides in Glen Mills, PA.


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