Political action committees of all kinds show up during elections, but a new one profiled by Colorado Public Radio has broken the mold.
Its goal is to discourage “straight white men” from being in the political arena, and it uses a mug shot of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to bash “Ken doll” candidates.
The very, very small organization – apparently two people and only $120 in donations – is generating criticism, and Colorado Public Radio is taking flack for even reporting on it.
The Can You Not PAC does have a page on Facebook, where Democrat Party activists Jack Teter and Kyle Huelsman are promoting their agenda.
Huelsman told CPR: “It’s the counterbalance to the classic intervention where people ask, ‘Have you thought about ever running for office?’
“We want to ask, ‘Have you ever thought about not running for office?”
But not all candidates, just certain candidates, identified by race and sexual orientation.
“Long term, they hope to tackle what they call a ‘crisis of overconfidence’ among straight white men,” the CPR report said. “A 2004 study found that among professions that most generally produce candidates for elected office, more men than women feel they are qualified. Political scientists think that helps explain why U.S. legislatures are mostly male.”
Huelsman told CPR, “We’re pushing back against the notion that looking like a Ken doll makes you uniquely qualified to run for office.”
On its website, CPR took a number of hits for reporting the story.
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Wrote Randall S. Crumrine: “Ridiculous. I can’t believe that CPR would give this ‘story’ any airtime at all. It’s broadcasts like this that make it difficult to defend CPR from my associates that refer to it as ‘Communist Public Radio.’ If one was to substitute ‘white men’ in this story with any other group, this show would be relegated to the ranks of other fringe, racist radio shows out there … beyond the pale.”
Nor did the PAC itself escape a number of blasts.
A commenter identifying as “Patrick Henry” said: “Only the left would trot out a blatantly racist idea like this and call it ‘progressive.’ What’s next for white men? Chains and a hoe?”
On its Facebook page, its founders said, “Can You Not PAC is a political action project that aims to decrease the number of straight white males running for office in progressive urban districts.”
They explain the group “aims to dis/empower and dis/incline people in positions of privilege, specifically straight white men, from ambitions of running for office in progressive urban districts. We challenge progressives and others to reject any notion that they are uniquely qualified or positioned to seek political office in districts that don’t need them.”