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State Campaigns Exploit Civic Illiteracy of Federal Entitlements

State Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D-Broomfield) is currently running a Facebook ad about federal entitlements:


This comes on the heels of an independent expenditure committee ad accusing State Sen. candidate Tim Neville (R-Lakewood) of wanting to gut those programs.

State legislators have literally nothing to do with Social Security or Medicare.  They are both federal programs, with the rules for eligibility and benefits written at the federal level.  The states administer Medicare, but have no control over its rules.

While coordination between independent expenditure committees and campaigns is illegal, indirect coordination has long been the rule rather than the exception.  A campaign or party makes an ad or sends out a fundraising email whose themes are then picked up by friendly IECs.  Campaigns have gotten into the habit of leaving b-roll from ad shoots on their You Tube channels for use by other organizations.

This could well be an example of such non-coordinating coordination.

If so, it seems like a particularly cynical ploy.  Mischaracterizing one’s opponent or his positions is one thing.  Crafting a theme that actively relies on the civic illiteracy of one’s constituents looks like something else altogether.  At the very least, it harbors contempt for them.  At worst, it creates an incentive to perpetuate such illiteracy— the very opposite of the role of a political leader.

Joshua Sharf

Joshua is co-editor of Watchdog Wire - Colorado. Contact him at Colorado@WatchdogWire.com to learn how to get involved with citizen journalism in the Boulder State. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuasharf

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Categories: Elections, Must Read, Opinion
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