Labor Unions

Nonpartisan? Union-backed group aims to turn America’s West blue

Examining the Portland, Ore.-based Bus Project, one could use plenty of adjectives to describe the operation’s tactics and activities: aggressive, unique and innovative.

The one descriptor that group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, wants you to believe, though, is the least-fitting: nonpartisan.

Sure, the group holds a banner that professes to soar above partisan politics. “Not left. Not right. But Forward,” preaches the site of The Bus Project’s Montana affiliate, Forward Montana.

A look under the hood reveals something far less innocuous: a hyper-partisan structure dedicated solely to turning America’s West blue.

And these buses, rolling in Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Washington, are gassed up thanks to labor unions and left-wing foundations.

Oregon Democrat Jefferson Smith founded The Bus Project in 2001 to mobilize and register young voters, who often bypass the polls in large numbers. That’s where the innovative and unique approach came into play. The groups often use oddball tactics to persuade young voters, who tend to vote for more liberal and progressive candidates, to the polls.

The Colorado branch, New Era Colorado, produced this Youtube video encouraging voters in that state to cast their ballots naked. The original Portland-based group created the “Vote, F---er” campaign to send a message that casting ballots isn’t solely for the elderly.

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