Many of us on the conservative right have wondered how the secular progressive left seems to have so much success with issues in Washington State---issues ranging from tax increases, to gun rights, to electing left, to far left progressive candidates and even social issues such as redefining marriage and abortion.
Is the state really that liberal---that far left? Most of my family has lived in Washington State for 6 generations. They're not liberal. Traveling the state and talking with people doesn't affirm that level of liberalism or progressivism.
Austin Jenkins with National Public Radio, has published a report this week that sheds some light on who is involved in the extensive, near invisible, progressive network and how they are so successful.
Jenkin's report is informative for sure, but I think there is a lesson to be learned from his report for conservatives---particularly biblical conservatives.
I know Austin. By his own definition, he is not a conservative. I know him as respectful and usually more fair than most in his reporting. He has interviewed me a number of times for both local and national stories and it has always been with respect, although he did not share my views, and with accuracy in regard to what I said.
Jenkins has published this story: "Wealthy Donors Fund Never Ending 'Progressive' Campaign."
He is not suggesting any wrong doing, but reporting on the extent to which the progressive influence has evolved in Washington State.
For many, this is a "good" thing.
For others, it should sound an alarm. It's a bad thing.
He says, ""You've heard about Karl Rove and other advocacy groups that don't have to disclose their donors who are transforming American politics."
"These political non profits also exist at the state level," he says, "but much of the activity is coming from the left, not the right."
Jenkins says instead of TV ads and campaigns, the work is "largely underground."
He says the "tenant list at the Vance Building in downtown Seattle is a type of who's-who of 'progressive non-profits'."
The most visible is an organization called "Fuse Washington." They're on the 3rd floor.
At a recent meeting, Jenkins says, field director Erin Haick updated the team on top priorities. The number one priority at this moment is passing the so-called "Dream Act" bill which gives state college aid to undocumented high school grads.
You will recall that the "Dream Act" bill was presented to the House of Representatives on the first day of this 2014 session and passed the House with strong bi-partisan support.
The next Fuse Washington priority is to get the bill passed in the Senate. This, of course, involves influencing Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, or "King Tom" as they call him.
Austin calls the work of Fuse Washington and its related network, "A powerful campaign that never ends."
He also says it has the potential to eclipse the power of the Democratic Party in Washington State.
The report reveals that the network of left-of center non-profits was, for the most part, all created in the past 5 to 7 years.
The groups include think tanks, a candidate recruitment and training organization and a bus that goes around to register and mobilize young voters.
A conservative group called "Shift" has drawn a sketch of how the various organizations are linked in solidarity for the cause of progressive ideology. They list a number of the important organizations including the SEIU 775, Sierra Club, Trial Lawyers Association, SEIU 1199, Planned Parenthood-WA, Federation of State Employees, the Bullit Foundation (family who formerly owned KING 5) and others.
Jenkins says that a number of wealthy donors are making it happen.
"Over the last eight years, they’ve given about $8 million to seed and support this network of 'progressive' nonprofits," he says. And "because the Progress Alliance is also a nonprofit, it doesn’t have to disclose its donors."
However Jenkins says, "A few agreed to be named for this story."
Nick Hanauer, a Seattle venture capitalist told Jenkins, "There is nothing mysterious about this, it's simply a group of people who share a vision about the kind of politics we want and the kind of state we want, working together to organize those efforts."
Jenkins says besides Hanauer, environmentalist Maryanne Tagney Jones, education activist Ruth Lipscomb and Brian Arbogast of the Gates Foundation have contributed along with others.
Jenkins says, "This model of deep-pocketed funders, a network of nonprofits and a goal of long-term 'progressive' change started in Colorado in 2004. In fact, there’s a book about it titled, 'The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care)'."
He says, "Since then, it’s been replicated in some form in nearly two dozen states."
Randy Pepple, who ran Rob McKenna's campaign for Governor, blames this group for McKenna's defeat.
Pepple told Jenkins, “Well, Fuse’s primary responsibility was to be out there attacking Rob McKenna every day, and to try to carry the theme that Rob McKenna was not who he said he was."
I'll reserve my comments on that.
I strongly recommend you read Jenkins' article. While not intended, perhaps, it provides a clarion call to conservatives and people of faith.
It should be a wake-up call to people of faith, because it appears the guiding light of the network is the common cause of progressive ideology.
And this without the benefit of an ideology based in biblical Christian faith, conservative biblical principles and eternal values.
I'm certain there are differences among the organizations and individuals involved, but they have apparently been able to put the issues--- and their ego, aside for their cause.
The Christian community has demonstrated anything but unity on the most important issues---most recently the redefinition of marriage.
These people prevailed in redefining marriage, while the faith community fought over who would lead, who would get credit and who would sign the referendum. And which---the initiative or the referendum, would we support, with an all out effort from the referendum side to defeat the initiative side.
Both were very good and necessary items of legislation, but we lost both because we beat ourselves. Egos prevailed and a unified secular progressive network enshrined into law the notion that marriage can be what ever we say it is.
The "Blueprint" used so effectively by the secular progressives in Washington State and elsewhere is not a new idea. It is borrowed from Scripture---it is the model under which the body of Christ is to operate.
While Paul's teaching is directed at how the church should function, it is also the blueprint of how the church can impact the culture.
Here's the plan:
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
God help us.