Dear MoveOn member,
I've spent more than a decade fighting to end the influence of big money in politics, and I need to tell you about an election on March 20 that, simply put, is a fight for the soul and future of the Democratic Party.
The race is for governor of Illinois. It pits Daniel Biss, a math professor turned community organizer who fought to stop the Iraq War and since has championed working families as a state legislator, against hedge fund billionaire and Hyatt Hotel fortune heir J.B. Pritzker.
Biss has strong grassroots support, but Pritzker has loads of cash—and has already spent $56 million of his own money, more than Donald Trump spent to win the Republican nomination for president.1,2
Biss has surged from behind in recent weeks, and the latest polls show Biss within striking distance of the Democratic nomination.3 If we come together now in this final stretch, we can put Biss over the top on March 20.
Every grassroots donation to Biss's campaign in the next week will be matched—up to $150 per gift and $100,000 total—so your contribution will go twice as far. Will you join me and chip in $3—or whatever you can afford—right now?
Biss is running on a bold vision to fix the political and economic systems in Illinois by putting working-class values and families first, not the billionaires and big corporations.4
He's proudly supporting Medicare for All universal health care, tuition-free public universities, fixing the broken criminal justice system, and making sure the wealthy pay their fair share.5 He has the track record in the state legislature to back it up.
And most important to me is that Daniel is a reformer and has made ending the corruption of big money in our politics the critical focus of his fight.
Pritzker is a Democrat who has a number of progressive policy positions, and he's clearly preferable to the disastrous GOP incumbent governor—but there's a stark choice in this closely watched primary about what kind of Democrat will carry the party's mantle in the Trump era.
Pritzker comes from one of the richest families in America, which once co-owned a Chicago hotel with Donald Trump.6 He won't release his full tax returns.7 He's been caught on FBI tapes negotiating with jailed former Governor Rod Blagojevich.8 And while he touts clean energy in his platform for governor, he's personally invested in ExxonMobil and the firm behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.9
Will you chip in right now to help Biss's campaign get across the finish line and show that people power can beat big money and the machine? Click here to donate $3 now, and your contribution will be matched.
Whoever wins the Democratic nomination on March 20 will be favored to win the general election against the incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who is deeply unpopular in one of the bluest states in the country.10
I've been a supporter of Biss from the start—not because I was certain he would win, but because I was certain he was right. In December, I had the chance to stand on a stage with him in Chicago and watch him wow an incredibly excited audience.
But even more impressive to me then was what I saw later that evening. I attended a dinner with Biss and about 30 people from Chicago. For three hours, I watched as Biss described in the most informed and detailed way possible exactly what he would do if he were governor. He has a deep understanding of policy; a principled, visionary, progressive agenda; and is running a small-donor-funded, grassroots campaign to beat a billionaire.
This man is an inspiration—and someone who actually knows how to govern.
We have got to stand together to support candidates like this. If we're ever going to get a party that rewards courage over cash, we need to step up to support a candidate who is willing to do the impossible: stand up to billionaires and win.
We need to do this not just because Illinois deserves a governor who will fix democracy in Illinois. We need to do it because that will send a message to Democrats and Republicans everywhere—that we are tired of Big Money dominating politics. What we want are leaders who will fix our democracy, so we can finally get a government that represents us.
Please help in this fight by standing with Daniel Biss. Every dollar matters right now, and your contribution will be matched. The primary is less than one month away, and Daniel needs to get his message out. Will you chip in $3 now to Daniel's campaign?
Thanks for all you do.
1. "Can Progressives Flip the Script in Illinois?" U.S. News & World Report, February 7, 2018
2. "Can middle-class candidate Daniel Biss defeat millionaires in Illinois?" Daily Herald, February 16, 2018
3. "Illinois Democratic candidate for governor: Daniel Biss," Chicago Sun-Times, February 2, 2018
5. "The Issues," Biss Wallace for Illinois, last accessed February 21, 2018
6. "Can Progressives Flip the Script in Illinois?" U.S. News & World Report, February 7, 2018
10. "America's Most and Least Popular Governors," Morning Consult, February 1, 2018
Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Harvard Law School and a long-time activist working to get big money out of politics.
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