A statement from Ryan McKee, Senior Advisor to Americans for Prosperity Action in Alaska, regarding recent messaging from Defend Alaska Elections:
“Principled disagreement expressed through civil discourse is one thing. Personal attacks against those who differ with us is quite another.
Recently, we learned that Defend Alaska Elections chose to go beyond the policy arguments against Alaska’s Initiative 2, by personally attacking one of the initiative’s supporters. We called on Defend Alaska Elections to pull down the attack, which they quickly did.
While we disagree with those who support some of the particular election reforms in this initiative, we also defend their right to speak and make their case. Personal attacks have no place in policy debates. We take seriously the responsibility to speak out against tactics like these that pit people against each other. AFPA is committed to engaging in the political process in a civil and respectful way and we encourage others to do the same.
Moving forward, we hope that the debate around Initiative 2 will stay focused on advancing the understanding of Alaskans about the issues at hand. That is what best serves the voters who have a choice to make on November 3. It is also the level of civility that Americans deserve.”
Americans for Prosperity Action donated $45,000 to Defend Alaska Elections, joining a diverse group of organizations from across the political spectrum who disagreed with some of the many policies bundled in the initiative.
Prior to opposing it, we expressed our concern directly to the organizations who supported it, suggesting that they unbundle the various reforms so that Alaskans could evaluate and decide on each of the very different proposals, which range from Ranked Choice Voting – a novel and largely experimental attempt to reduce extreme partisanship – to donor disclosure requirements that have been shown to chill voter participation and intimidate everyday Americans from becoming involved in the political process. The former is an issue on which AFPA has not taken a position, the latter has a long history of opposition from a wide diversity of groups beginning with a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the NAACP, which first opposed a similar law more than 50 years ago.
AFPA opposes Initiative 2 because we believe that elements of it will further disenfranchise those who don’t have the time or resources to defend themselves against the vitriol that has come to characterize American politics. Ironically, this episode is an unfortunate proof point in that argument.