The ACLU is struggling to find its identity in America after Trump

In recent years, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has received criticism of an increasingly partisan public figure who contradicts his historic position as a non-partisan defender of civil liberties. A terrible new report suggests that the organization was involved in the politics of the cultural war.

After the violent rally Unite the Right in 2017 in Charlottesville, the organization indicated that in the future he will try to push for his advocacy, to strike a balance with his goals of “equality and justice.” Many, including supporters and former directors in the same way, he criticizes the change as unattainable and contrary to the principles of the organization.

For its part, the ACLU insists that there has been little change in priority and that it is still vigorously defending freedom of expression. ACLU National Legal Director David Cole wrote last month“The First Amendment is the foundation of our democracy, and that is why we are defending it.”

But according to Anne article by Molly Reden in HuffPostThe ACLU is really struggling after the 2016 Donald Trump election to determine its own identity. While it typically receives about $ 6 million in donations a year, the organization brought in $ 40 million in less than three months between the election date and Trump’s inauguration. Obvious violations of civil liberties by the Trump administration have led to further generosity: After his “Muslim ban“Entered into force in January 2017, ACLU to raise an additional $ 24 million in online donations in just 48 hours.

Faced with this sudden influx of money from oppositionists who oppose Trump, ACLU Director Anthony Romero in capital letters at the moment, expanding its focus on political advocacy. In February 2017, the organization starts People Power, “a platform for mobilizing ordinary people,” which will “communicate and help train volunteers to oppose President Trump’s illegal policies.” In January 2018, the former national political director of ACLU Faiz Shakir wrote that while the ACLU will be involved in politics in this year’s by-elections, it will “not support or oppose specific candidates” or “tell people to vote for certain candidates”.

But this summer, ACLU funded advertisements in local competitions, such as sheriff and district attorney. That spend $ 800,000 nomination of Stacey Abrams as Governor of Georgia. Than just “let[ting] issues of civil rights and civil liberties drive its electoral work, “the organization explicitly supported the candidates, despite Shakir’s assurances that” the ACLU takes its non-partisan status very seriously. “

On time, funding was too weak to have a long-term impact, and People Power stood. Ronald Newman, Shakir’s deputy political director, is focusing on easier short-term goals over long-term projects that could ultimately lead to more substantial profits. For example, after a police assassination, Newman reportedly refused to join the campaign to push for state legislation on police responsibility for the time it will include. He will later push for an initiative in Michigan to defend the right to abortion, not because of ideological commitment, but to gain “profit” for donors.

Trying to maintain the passion that drove his record-breaking fundraising from the Trump era, the ACLU has shifted from purely civil libertarian advocacy to a policy of cultural warfare. Ironically, this was the same tactic used by the NRA and to such poor results.

Echo the populist sentiments that would have chosen Donald Trump, in 2010 the NRA branched out from advocating the Second Amendment to a right-wing identity policy. That began NRATV, an online streaming service with programming aimed at gun owners but with broad sides against Black Lives Matter, Antifa and the “violent left”. One host Called the media “bastards of the rats on earth” who need to be “patted”.

In 2019, the NRA sued its longtime advertising company that monitored NRATV due to a lack of transparency about what it spends on the channel. Eventually this became part of a bigger episode which continues to threaten the very survival of the NRA. In the case it presumably that some “stakeholders” are “concerned that NRATV’s communications – on topics far beyond the Second Amendment – deviate from the NRA’s core mission and values”. That with lids NRATV the same year.

By the way, despite his organization a general opposition on gun rights for individuals, Romero commissioned a study of the NRA in 2013 to see how it works so well as an advocacy organization. “The big conclusion for me from this study was that they were able to talk about their work, not in terms of legal policy,” he said. The New Yorker. “You won’t find anything about the Second Amendment on their website. It’s all about gun culture.”

So far, this change of focus has almost led to the end of the NRA. And that could mean doom for the ACLU.

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