Punch Your Political Weight!

Though we often disagree with them, we have great admiration for two groups — SEIU and the Construction Unions — for politically punching more than their financial weights. Both treat politics like a business and have chapters that persistently donate to lawmakers. You can be sure lawmakers pay attention when either organization pays attention to them. GFC modeled its chapter structure on theirs and aims to run things as professionally as they do.

On the other hand, some advocates punch well below their weight. Business is at the top of that list. Based upon its political weakness, one would never know that 90 percent of CA’s GDP is generated by the private sector. Others include advocates for charter schools (attended by 500,000 kids and often backed by philanthropists) and housing (a long-sought objective of businesses who want more employee housing and philanthropists). They’re not lacking for money, plus as SEIU and the Construction Unions have shown, persistence and professionalism matter more. From our perspective, they’re losing because they don’t run political affairs like a business, including setting up chapters. We hope that changes. GFC is willing to help on those matters but prefers to deploy its political capital on behalf of those who can’t help themselves.

Lecturer at Stanford University and president of Govern For California