This is great news for those who have been calling attention to the corporate reform assault on public schools. We couldn’t gain attention when Obama and Duncan were promoting privatization and bashing teachers. But Betsy DeVos stripped away the pretense of “the civil rights issue of our time.” All you have to do is look at the patented billionaire smirk, listen to her prattle about public schools as a “dead end,” and look at the fringe right groups she hangs out with, like ALEC. At last, the Democrats are beginning to get it. The privatization pushers in the Democratic Party will have to explain why they are in step with DeVos’s policy agenda.
Before DeVos, the Network for Public Education had 22,000 members. Now it has more than 350,000 and is growing.
DEVOS BECOMES DIGITAL LIGHTNING ROD FOR DEMOCRATS: First it was Karl Rove. Then it was the Koch brothers. Now, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has taken over as Senate Democrats’ top online bogeyman. POLITICO’s Maggie Severns reports that anti-DeVos statements, petitions and especially fundraising emails have become a staple of Democratic digital campaigns in 2017. Emails citing DeVos are raising money at a faster clip than others and driving engagement from supporters.
– Some examples: Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly’s Facebook post announcing opposition to DeVos’ nomination as Education secretary was the first sign for some Democratic observers that DeVos had political traction. Donnelly and his fellow Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018 have seized on that energy with a salvo of emails soliciting small-dollar online donations.
– DeVos played foil for Montana Sen. Jon Tester when he solicited donations in May for himself and Rob Quist, the Democrat who was defeated in a special election for Montana’s at-large House seat. DeVos’ family “is spending big to influence tomorrow’s election,” Tester wrote in one email after the DeVoses donated to Greg Gianforte’s campaign.
-“For a lot of people, Betsy DeVos has really come to be a symbol of everything that’s wrong with Trump’s approach to government,” said Stephanie Grasmick, a partner at the Democratic digital consulting firm Rising Tide Interactive. DeVos is a prime example of Rising Tide’s new use of “social listening tools,” adopted for this election cycle, that monitor the web for trends. The technology is used by corporations but has yet to be fully embraced by political campaigns.
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