Reality Check on the Electoral Politics of Net Neutrality

Reality Check on the Electoral Politics of Net Neutrality
May 6, 2014

Scott Cleland

Scott Cleland is a precursor: a proven thought leader with a long track record of industry firsts.... (read full bio)

The net neutrality movement is positioning to influence the FCC, Congress, and candidates in the mid-term election cycle, to support their version of net neutrality -- i.e. FCC reclassification of broadband Internet service as a telephone common carrier service.

It is instructive to look back at what happened in the last mid-term election cycle -- in both the 2010 election, and in 2009-2010 Congress -- when the net neutrality movement last tried this.

By way of background, this week the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) launchedNoSlowLane.com, a petition website to pressure the President and the FCC on their version of Net Neutrality.

The 2010 Election:

In the 2010 mid-term election cycle, this same PCCC got 95 congressional candidates to sign a pledge: “I believe in protecting net neutrality – the First Amendment of the Internet...” Tellingly, all 95 candidates pledging PCCC support for Title II net neutrality -- lost.

That’s a 0-95 electoral record for the PCCC Title II net neutrality position.

The 2009-2010 Congress:

It is also instructive to look back at the bi-partisan majority of Congress that opposed the FCC’s 2010 consideration of reclassifying broadband Internet service as a telephone common carrier service.

In formal letters to the FCC, Members of Congress opposed Title II reclassification by a 6-1 margin (299-49).

Per national Journal reporting, a bipartisan majority of Congress 56% (299 of 535 members)wrote in opposition to Title II reclassification of broadband. For example see the: House Democrat letter, House Republican letter, & Senate letter. The FCC has all the relevant letters in their own archives.

A small minority of Congress 9% (49 of 535 members) wrote in support of Title II reclassification of broadband.

As much as the net neutrality movement tries to create the perception that they enjoy broad political support beyond their email lists of activist supporters, it is instructive to see how real politicians in the real world decided on this issue when in Congress and in congressional elections.

Even in the politics of perception, facts are an important reality check.

[Originally published at Precursor Blog]

Scott Cleland

Scott Cleland is a precursor: a proven thought leader with a long track record of industry firsts.... (read full bio)