“Alabama, Arkansas, I do love my ma and pa, not the way that I do love you…” —Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' "Home"
Dianne Feinstein or Kevin de León? Liberals may be split on their votes for California's seat in the U.S. Senate right now, but Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros made a notable endorsement this past weekend. The band performed two short sets of infectious folk-pop anthems, including their hit "Home,” across from Avenue 26 Tacos in Lincoln Heights for a de León event on Saturday. They brought out a diverse crowd of Angelenos who danced, waved Kevin de León for U.S. Senate signs and chowed on $1 tacos, though not before waiting in a very long line. Nearby, the California Democratic Party–endorsed de León, who is challenging the incumbent in her run for a fifth term today, stood nearby with U.S. Congressman Jimmy Gomez and State Assembly member Wendy Carrillo.
The song is apt considering it’s been more than two years since the band played together and almost that long since they played New Hampshire for then-presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Edward Sharpe lead singer Alex Ebert, who is also a Golden Globe–winning film composer, has been living in New Orleans for the past six years, but he's back in his hometown to help get out the vote, and he's doing so in more ways than one. In addition to campaigning for de León at events, the singer has a new app he created to inspire political engagement and neutralize national voter apathy.
Proxy.Vote allows users to compare their own political views with their representative’s voting records by voting on real congressional bills. Ebert and Ted Henderson, a former Hill staffer based in D.C., created Proxy.Vote and Proxy.Vote PAC not only to engage voters but also to encourage candidates to use the app along with their constituents. Elected officials who take the "Proxy Pledge" promise to incorporate their supporters' views into decisionmaking.
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De León has taken the pledge along with seven others, including congressional candidates Clarke Tucker in Arkansas, Kara Eastman in Omaha and Nick Thomas in Colorado. As Ebert explains via phone after the de León event, Proxy.Vote aims to eradicate voter apathy and to amp up visibility for 2020. “Democracy is going to have to be democratized — it's just going happen," he says. "This is the way technology and progress work — things get more democratic as we gain more education. We’re trying to get closer to the meaning of the words democracy and representation, making our vote count 24/7 as opposed to every two years.”
He adds, “Most GOTV efforts go after high-propensity voters. They don’t try to hack into that part of the electorate who don’t vote. The reason why those people don’t vote is because they have apathy. Distrust can only be dispelled with transparency and accountability.”
Whatever happens today for de León and other candidates across the country, Ebert’s committed to the cause.
Learn more about Proxy.Vote here.