The other “AI” threat to democracy

The proliferation of Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly feared as a growing threat to our elections through the creation of “deepfake” texts, photos and videos that look and sound real that further diminishing truth and accountability. AI-generated political ads have already appeared, resulting in calls for regulation and prohibition of what is estimated to be $12 billion in political ad spending this year. Not knowing what public information is real or fake not only threatens elections, but the ability of us all to be informed to hold elected officials accountable and to organize independent movements for change.

But another “AI” is already a threat to the 2024 elections, which will deepen during the current primary election season. The lobby organization, AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and its affiliated political groups are expected to spend $100 million this election cycle opposing candidates they feel insufficiently support Israel, which has intensified since the start of the war in Gaza. AIPAC’s related groups include AIPAC PAC; the United Democracy Project, its Super PAC; the Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI); and others.

AIPAC-related groups comprise the bulk of “Pro-Israel” organizations that have contributed this election cycle to leading Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well presidential candidates. It’s not a surprise that recipients have been roaringly silent about Israeli atrocities in Gaza.

AIPAC entities threaten our elections and the limited degree of democracy that exists in this country in multiple ways.

1. The AIPAC entities have already begun spending money supporting conservative Democratic challengers running against incumbent progressive Congresspersons in the primaries, especially candidates of color, who tend to be the most progressive on economic, social and environmental issues and, relatively speaking, closest to their communities. 

Particularly targeted are members of “The Squad” who are supportive of “democracy” issues such as voting rights, anti-gerrymandering, and campaign finance reform. It should be noted that progressive Democrats in the House of Representatives are among the strongest co-sponsors of the We the People Amendment, HJR54.

2. AIPAC-entity donors who are funding Democratic primaries include super rich Republicans, some of whom are billionaires. One is hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who bankrolled a free luxury vacation trip for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and later had cases before the High Court. Many donors are also Trump boosters.

AIPAC’s clear goal is to defeat every progressive Democrat it can this year. AIPAC also supports many Republican Congressional candidates, including many who voted against certifying the 2020 election. How exactly does all this further democracy?

Of course not all AIPAC funders are known. DMFI is a “dark money” group that’s not legally required to disclose their donors. It's spent millions in the last couple of election cycles against progressives and are spending six figures to air ads against Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), the only Palestinian American member of Congress and vocal critic of Israel’s war in Gaza. 

3. The enormous sum of expected AIPAC spending, especially in the primaries, may be too much to overcome, even for many progressive incumbents who are not flush with campaign cash. J Street, a progressive pro-Israel group that defended candidates against AIPAC in the 2022 primaries, can’t compete with AIPAC and will sit out the primaries. Curiously AIPAC in 2022 didn’t mention Israel in their targeted ads, but rather attacked incumbents on personal issues or on their progressive voting record.

Since constitutionally “money equals speech,” the AIPAC voice in their attack ads will drown out the political voices of all others. Hardly an element of a robust democracy.

It’s not just AIPAC. Money raised and spent in political elections continues to rise every election cycle with the majority of political investments coming from super wealthy individuals, PACs, Super PACs, and dark money groups. That’s every single election cycle with no end in sight. 

Simply talking, emailing, Facebooking, Twittering/“X”ing,  Instagramming or Tic Toking about it won’t change it. Nor is simply passing laws calling for greater financial disclosure or campaign finance “reform” that ignore the constitutional doctrines permitting corporate entities to spend money in elections and equating political money spent in elections as free speech. 

Enacting the We the People Amendment will abolish the constitutional doctrines that “money equals speech” and “a corporation is a person.” The latter is not only applicable in elections, but across the board as corporate entities have hijacked multiple constitutional amendments permitted them to preempt democratic efforts to protect people. communities and the natural world.

Until HJR54 is enacted, our “democratic” political system will continue to be “deepfake,” something that looks, sounds and maybe feels real, but at its core is controlled by the super rich and corporate entities. 

There will only be system change when we change it. 

In solidarity,

Keyan, Cole, Jason, Kelsey, Alfonso, Margaret, Tara, Jennie, Ambrosia, Shelly, George, Daniel, Michael, Jessica, Katie, & Greg

Move to Amend National Team