Democrats have turned to the concept of “crowdsourcing” to keep tabs on GOP electioneering during the annual August recess.
The Democratic National Committee is asking supporters to provide video and other material of Republican campaign statements, to be posted online.
“This year, Republicans are looking to have it both ways, trying to appeal to independent voters while making promises to the Tea Party crowd to pursue an extreme right-wing agenda if they regain control of Congress,” DNC Research Director Shauna Daly says in an email. “Who knows what’s being said when the cameras aren’t running? We don’t — but I sure wish we did.
“That’s where the ‘Accountability Project’ comes in. It’s a platform for citizens to document Republican candidates and their public statements at local events, as well as their campaign tactics,” Daly adds. “The Accountability Project allows you to submit videos, recordings, and other items for publication online, so that candidates see that there’s a cost to their dishonest statements — and so that everyday citizens can see what their Republican candidates for office are saying.”
It was during last year’s annual August recess that conservative activists began stirring up angry “town hall” meetings in opposition to the big political issue at the time, which was healthcare reform.
August recess this year comes in the run up to the November midterm elections, in which Democrats must defend House and Senate majorities they built during the winning 2006 and 2008 election cycles.
Republicans are running hard this year, hoping to wrest the House away from Democratic control.
Daly says the DNC initiative is to keep Republicans from making “misleading attacks and false claims under the radar.
“This project seeks to shine a light on those practices, and you have a crucial role to play in making it happen,” she says.
Anyone with a video camera, or even a video-recording cell phone, can contribute recordings of Republicans making campaign statements. Supporters also can post online any GOP campaign literature that they receive through the U.S. mail.
“This project will enable folks to keep track of Republican candidates running for every office, up and down the ballot,” Daly says.
The publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.