The past week was an exciting one for the campaign. The press coverage continues to grow. Yahoo had me visit to talk about the Freedom Dividend, the Huffington Post did a profile and the latest NowThis video was viewed almost half a million times. Also, Fox News posted an article which included me among the major Democratic contenders for the Presidency in 2020.
I was invited to speak at Collision in New Orleans with Susan Herman, the head of the ACLU. We had a lively discussion about technology and politics on the main stage moderated by Cenk Uygur. I hadn’t met Susan or Cenk before; they are both patriots doing phenomenal work. My message was that technology is indeed driving politics — but not in the way that most people think. People focus on the fragmentation of media and ideas, which is a big deal. But of even greater importance is that technology has fundamentally changed our economy by automating away millions of manufacturing jobs, and it is about to do the same thing to those who work in retail, transportation, food service, call centers and other major labor categories. Diminishing economic security and tenuous gig economy jobs are the new normal, which is driving an increasingly dysfunctional political landscape. Our communities are overrun by a mindset of scarcity. We need to restore abundance to the American people via a Universal Basic Income: the Freedom Dividend. Only then can we start to address the true challenges.
My message seemed to resonate greatly with the people in attendance. I had a number of people approach me afterwards who wanted to meet and ask questions. We then went to a crawfish boil hosted by Gerard Ramos of Revelry and other leaders of the New Orleans entrepreneurship community. I had worked with the entrepreneurs in New Orleans since 2011 as CEO of Venture for America, so I got to see many old friends, including Chris Schultz, the founder of LaunchPad, as well as many VFA Fellows and alumni.
Speaking to the 75–80 people in attendance at the Revelry House as the sun set in New Orleans was beautiful. Some of the people I had known for years — one friend, Matt, had brought his 15-year old son. Others were perfect strangers who had come because they had been dragged by a friend or were curious. But by the end of the night everyone felt familiar. There was a sense of fellowship in the air, of idealism and good food and warmth. A bit of magic that I have felt in the best of times, of the early days of a venture that will have a profound impact on the world. I hope that you have the chance to experience it with me in the days to come.
I do not know precisely where this campaign will take us, but I do know that the best people are attracted to this campaign because we yet retain a sense of what’s possible. That includes you all as well as the people we met in New Orleans last week. I am looking forward to reminding us all that great things remain possible — if we make them happen for ourselves.