23 April 2014 - 8:00Mr. AwesomeBar Runs for Congress

tl;dr The non-profit Mozilla changed the Internet by giving users choice and liberty. I, Ed Lee, want to build on that foundation to change how politics works in 2 ways: 1) get rid of politicians who focus on money and forget about voters and 2) change how politics is won by showing you can win without spammy advertisements that track tons of data about people. The Internet helped Mozilla take on “unbeatable” opponents, and I need your help to do the same.

I became a Mozillian 10 years ago. I found my passion helping people through Mozilla, a non-profit that promotes user choice and liberty on the Internet. These values attracted me to Mozilla in the first place, and I believe in these values even more after being employed at Mozilla for five years. I want to bring these values to politics because while the Internet can be a big part of our lives, politics tend to control the rest and can destroy the things/people we care about most.

During the SOPA protests, SopaTrack showed not only which Representatives were co-sponsors for the bill but also how often they voted with whichever side gave the most money. I was quite appalled to find out that Mark Amodei co-sponsored a bill that would take away our freedoms and earned a perfect 100% record of voting with the money [itworld.com].

The behavior of this “Representative” is the complete opposite of the values that brought me to Mozilla, and I believe the correct solution is to vote out these politicians. That’s why I’m running against him as a US Congress candidate in Nevada on a platform of “Non Profit” and “For Liberty” to directly contrast with this incumbent.

Amodei votes 100% with money, SOPA co-sponsor vs. Ed Lee

Amodei votes 100% with money, SOPA co-sponsor vs. Ed Lee

I’ve talked to various people involved in politics, and I’ve been ignored, laughed at, told to go away and stop wasting my time. The most interesting dismissal: “the Internet can’t help,” and I thought to myself, “Challenge Accepted.” I hope the rest of the Internet is as outraged as I was to hear that the best action is to do nothing and give a free pass to this incumbent who just votes with the money to destroy our liberties.

Mozilla was in a similar situation when Firefox had to take on the dominant web browser. The Internet cared about the browser that focuses on the user (e.g., would you like to see that popup?). People helped spread Firefox even without understanding the non-profit that created it because the built in values of freedom and choice resonated with users.

My ask of you is to think of aunts/uncles/friends/relatives in Reno/Sparks/Carson City and see if they’re on this anonymized list of names [edlee2014.com]. If so, please text or call that person and simply say “please look into Ed Lee,” and if you let me know, I’ll personally follow up with your contact. If you don’t find anyone on the list, please share it with others whom you think might know someone living in the northern half of Nevada. Early voting starts in a month with the primary less than 2 months away on June 10th, so let’s move fast!

I’m aiming for at least a third of the midterm primary votes in a 4-way race, and that roughly comes out to just over 9000. (Really!) The anonymized list of names are of people most likely to vote in my district’s Democratic primary, and the plan is to have the millions on the Internet find a connection to those several thousands to make a personal request. This is as opposed to traditional political advertising where large amounts of money is raised to track down and spam people where I estimate more than 95% of people won’t even be moved to vote or vote differently. With my Mozilla background, that’s not how I would want to approach campaigning.

If this technique works for the primary, it could work for the general election by focusing on non-partisan voters. We can further develop this technique to vote out all the money-seeking politicians and replace them with people who care about individuals and freedoms across the US, and dare I say, across the world.

The Internet helped Mozilla change the world with its non-profit mission and strong core values. I need your help to do the same in the world of politics.

Ed Lee (Ed “Mr. AwesomeBar” Lee is a bit long for the ballot)

Paid for by Ed Lee for Congress
Yay for free speech, but apparently not free-as-in-beer if not correctly attributed.

6 Comments | Tags: AwesomeBar, Mozilla, Politics


  1. Good luck!

    Please let me know how it goes, I’m thinking about doing a similar thing here in NJ. Except I was considering not accepting any donations and limiting my own expenses to some hundreds of dollars. What do you find that you have to spend money on?


  2. @Bryan Expenses so far have been mostly office/co-working space and campaign material design/printing, e.g., logo and business cards. I’m using NationBuilder for hosting, and that’s in the tens of dollars per month so far.

    I’ve also set up a GitHub repository to hopefully share what I learn although I haven’t figured out exactly what can go there. https://github.com/Mardak/openCampaign

  3. That list of names isn’t even close to anonymized. I can guess several of the shorter ones, and with Google plus a Reno phone directory I imagine I could determine almost all of them.

    I don’t know where you got that list of names from, but it certainly appears you’re leaking their information onto the web via your site. Not cool.

  4. @njn just to be clear, the (full, much more detailed) information listed there comes from free/public sources, so I’m not just trying to get people to identify the full name as that, as you’ve said, is easily available through other sources online. I was trying to provide a way for people to confirm if someone they should definitely be contacted without requiring an exact match — e.g., I could have hashed the quadruplet that would indicate a match if the 4 values exist, but that would require each person to type in full exact case-sensitive matches.

  5. Mathnerd314 says: 28 Apr 2014 - 9:36

    Looking at pictures like http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/edlee2014/pages/1/features/original/Pauls_cropped.jpg, I see a bit of an age difference… perhaps you could put up a photo or two with some your-aged people? And with a reasonable facial expression?
    Also, that 100% figure appears to come from 7 votes. https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/browse?sponsor=412500 is more useful IMO, since it shows what he actually is interested in.
    Looking at the blog:
    – DRS sounds like some wacko socialist theory and probably will never pass.
    – The bike stuff sounds like you really have no funding and no clue.
    – Tax reform, transparency, etc. sounds nice but there are a number of other people working on it already (and failing, but maybe that’s just because they aren’t congresspeople)
    – there’s no indication anywhere that you have any idea of what a congressperson actually does
    – the website is generally pretty slow to load
    – there are millions of people on the internet, but only a miniscule fraction of those will read your blog. 9000 people and 43 days/8hrs per day means you can spend 2 minutes a person. You probably need more force multiplication than that.

    This concludes the drive-by comments from a nearb Colorado inhabitant.

  6. @Mathnerd314 thanks for the comments. What are you looking for with the photos and facial expression comment? I was born in 1985 and am 28 years old now if that’s what you were wondering? Also, where did you get the 7 votes number? I know SopaTrack website is no longer around, but I remember that every time I looked, it consistently showed Amodei voting 100% with money, so that’s what got me fired up to run. I know there’s more votes now that can be checked with the source MapLight data, but I believe it’s generally still favoring the money.

    For the blog, DRS isn’t about socialism at all and more about getting the government to do what the people want. It’s giving people choice and the tools for accountability, and what people do with that tool will depend on what people want out of their governments. For bike funding, are you talking about how if there was more money, working with those non-profits wouldn’t be necessary? And for what a congressperson does, I think there’s a difference between what they should be doing and what they are doing now of focusing on money and control to gain politically to get even more money and control.

    Thanks for the feedback on the site speed. It’s being hosted by NationBuilder, and I’ll follow up with them to debug.

    And for force multiplication, I am doing events and meeting people separate from this post reaching out to the internet. Yes, there’s a lot to be done, but I’m not only relying on the internet to win.

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