A veteran Democratic operative is looking to use new tools to make an old point.
Jim Fleming, whose activism in politics dates to the 1970s, is hoping to use innovative online tactics to force President Trump, and other candidates, to disclose their taxes.
The legal side is simple: a state law requiring all presidential and vice-presidential candidates to release their individual tax returns from the six prior years.
Fleming’s plan is to use the ballot to do it, and what he calls an innovative online portal to get it on the ballot. The website, sign2gettrumpstaxes.org, would facilitate what can be the laborious, expensive process of gathering the requisite signatures to get a question on the ballot.
Fleming says the portal sign2.org can easily be converted to work with other initiatives. He envisions a time when signatures aren’t gathered at supermarkets or Little League fields, but the web.
“This is really a synergy between turning the viral and Internet access into direct action and volunteerism,” says the West Springfield man, who got his start on Mike Dukakis’s gubernatorial campaign.
“This is a way to get a lot of signatures and volunteers for a lot of different things,” he says. “The taxes are something people have deep, strong feelings about.”
Fleming beta-tested the system at this year’s state Democratic convention, cross-referencing it with the state voter file. If it works here, he sees transporting it to swing states like Michigan and Ohio, where candidates would have overwhelming incentive to comply.
In Massachusetts, Fleming needs to collect 64,750 certified signatures by mid-November to stay on track for the 2018 ballot.
Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JOSreports.