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Ross: Political lines blur over massive push for election reform

(Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Democrats are hoping to gather a groundswell of support for their huge election reform bill, HR 1, which, among other things, requires organizations involved in elections to disclose the names of all their top donors.

Conservative organizations want to stop this, so they hired a consultant to find a message that might turn voters against the idea.

Well, The New Yorker got a recording of the consultant’s presentation, so here is Kyle McKenzie, the research director for a conservative group called Stand Together, sharing the bad news that election reform is really popular, and so conservatives should avoid debating it on the merits:

“Don’t get into a fight on HR 1,” McKenzie cautioned. “Where they have the talking point ‘HR 1 stops billionaires from buying elections,’ unfortunately, we found that’s a winning message for both the general public and also conservatives.”

However, he had some good news, too.

“The one message that seemed to work: Congress has much bigger fish to fry,” he said.

And he named the big fish of “getting people back to work.”

Who knew that conservatives were ready to focus on two traditional Democratic issues. But that’s what their consultant recommends, at least as long as election reform remains a threat!

But that’s not the end of the story, because – and this is something the Democrats don’t want to say out loud – two of their favorite groups, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, also don’t like HR 1 as written because, like conservatives, they don’t want to disclose their big donors either.

And so we find ourselves in this mixed-up world where conservatives may end up supporting liberals on health care reform, and liberals could join conservatives opposing election reform … and easy slogans might have to give way to real negotiation.

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