Campaign for America's Future

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Founded 1996
Founder Roger Hickey
Robert Borosage
Type Public policy think tank
Website Official website

Campaign for America's Future (CAF) is an American political organization. Its main issues of concern include the environment, energy independence, health care reform, Social Security, and education. The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, former AFL-CIO president John Sweeney, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa serve on its board of directors.

Within the Democratic Party, it often serves as a counterweight to the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).[1] CAF argues that the Democratic Party should draw sharp contrasts with the Republicans and advance a progressive agenda, while the DLC argues that the party should pursue a centrist policy. CAF is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization. It has a sister organization called the Institute for America's Future, which is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan think tank that conducts research and analysis and publishes reports about political and economic policy issues.[citation needed]

The Institute for America's Future and the Center on Wisconsin Strategy sponsor a joint project called the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of environmentalists and labor unions, which seeks to commit the United States to energy independence while providing opportunity for new green-collar jobs in the energy sector. It is named after John F. Kennedy's Apollo program.[2]


The founder and current president of Campaign for America's Future, Robert Borosage, first registered the organization in 1990. The organization did not reach non-profit status until 1994 and formally launched in 1996. At its launch, the Campaign for America's Future boasted 130 co-founders representing a multitude of liberal and progressive organizations.[3]

The organization's founders saw that existing liberal groups were more active on social issues driven by conservative counterparts as opposed to so called "kitchen table issues" and pressing issues such as poverty, climate change and inequality. In general the founders felt the need to push these issues into the political debate. Furthermore, they felt that the country in general was being pushed toward the right without a proper counterbalance. They believed, then and now, "that conservative zealotry and cultural reaction were misleading our country, generating greater inequality, undermining the widely shared prosperity that is the foundation of America’s democracy and allowing corporate interests to distort our debate and dominate our elections".[4]


Co-Directors: Roger Hickey, President

Robert L. Borosage, Secretary-Treasurer

Board Members: Andrea Batista Schlesinger - Drum Major Institute

Lara Bergthold - Act III Productions

Jeff Faux - Economic Policy Institute

Leo Gerard - United Steelworkers

Eli Pariser -

Hilary Shelton - NAACP Washington Bureau[5]


The Campaign for America's Future is made up of citizen activists and policy experts numbering 100.[6] According to Muckety, there is either a direct or a once-removed relationship between Campaign for America's Future and 86 entities in their database of the most influential people in America.[7]


The Campaign for America's Future does not disclose its donors. In the past, it has denied requests for a list of top donors and a spokesman said the group "discloses exactly what is required."[8]


The "strategic focus" of Campaign for America's Future and its sister organization, Institute for America's Future, is what they refer to as "kitchen table issues" such as "good jobs, health care, nurturing and educating children, and retirement security" and to form a majority in order to implement progressive reform.

"A. Spearheading the development of a compelling progressive economic agenda and message, one that crystallizes what progressives stand for, articulating the philosophy and values underlying
these policies and developing fresh arguments for them in ways that will resonate with the majority of average Americans.
B. Convening and educating progressive leaders, organizations, opinion-makers, and activists on how to argue this case, helping to develop leaders who echo the arguments powerfully and drive
them into the public debate.
C. Incubating national educational campaigns around strategic initiatives or defining issues that can build reform, while boldly framing the new possibilities."[4]


The Campaign for America's Future boasts that in its history there have been five presidential elections of which only in 2004 did a Republican Presidential candidate win both the popular vote and the electoral college, and that was a wartime incumbent in 2004.

"Take Back America" conference[edit]

CAF holds an annual "Take Back America" conference, bringing together progressive activists, elected officials, bloggers, left-leaning media outlets, and others.

At the 2006 conference, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was booed for her stance on the Iraq War.[9] In 2007, she was similarly booed, but not as loudly as she had ostensibly "modified" her position on the war.[10] The Politico sponsored a straw poll which Senator Barack Obama won with 29 percent of the vote.[11]

The 2007 conference honored "progressive bloggers" with the Paul Wellstone Award, crediting them for driving the political debate. The once anonymous blogger Digby accepted the award, and in doing so, revealed that Digby was a woman from Santa Monica, California.[clarification needed][citation needed]

In October 2011, coincidentally coinciding with the growing Occupy Wall Street movement, the Campaign for America's Future held the "Take Back the American Dream" conference calling for the planning of demonstrations, a cohesive electoral strategy, and laid out strategies for combating the power of money in politics. With an aggressive agenda, the conference covered immigration, jobs, how citizens can combat the hold of financial institutions over Washington, public education, the cost of foreign conflicts, social security and medicare, green energy, defense and national security, and more.[12]

Of the Occupy Wall Street movement, co-director Robert Borosage said, "people are moving, they are moving on their own. They understand the need for action."[13] At the conference plans for adding to the demonstrations were made calling for more protests beginning nationwide on November 17, 2011, just ahead of the so-called congressional super committee on deficit reduction reaches its conclusions. Also, Borosage referred to the protestors lack of connection to any specific politician as "liberating."[14]


  1. ^ Milbank, Dana (2005-06-02). "Bush as a Uniter - of Diverse Democrats". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  2. ^ About the Alliance, June 20, 2007; retrieved June 23, 2007.
  3. ^ Campaign for America's Future details,; accessed October 4, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Online interview with Kelisa Kehne-Cliff, Executive Manager Institute for America's Future
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Campaign for America's Future", Encyclopedia of Associations: National Organizations of the U.S. (ed. Tara Atterberry), 50th edition, Detroit: 2011. Gale Directory Library. Southern Connecticut State University, October 27, 2011.
  7. ^
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Liberal Activists Boo Clinton". 2006-06-14. Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  10. ^ Healy, Patrick (2007-06-20). "Clinton Gets Better Reception on Iraq". Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  11. ^ "Obama wins Straw Poll - Ben Smith". Retrieved 2010-09-25. 
  12. ^ Profile,; accessed October 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Robert Borosage on OWS,; accessed October 4, 2015.
  14. ^ Coverage of CAF,; accessed October 4, 2015.

External links[edit]