Formed in 2013, Gamechanger Salon (GS) describes itself as a digital “space” where “1,400+ change makers from different 'worlds' of the [progressive] movement” can communicate with one another to share information, trade ideas, and strategize via a closed Google group. The overriding objective is to “build a stronger, more coordinated, more game-changing movement for the 21st century.” Much, though not all, of what the network does is unavailable for public review. Emphasizing the need for discretion, GS's policy manual directs members “not to write things to the list that you wouldn't feel comfortable saying publicly (or that you wouldn’t want to be subpoenaed by a Grand Jury or broadcast on Fox News).”
According to two GS members who, on condition of anonymity, spoke extensively with the website FitsNews.com about GS's activities, Gamechanger members include some of America's “biggest movers and shakers” and “most hard core leftists.” These individuals, the sources added, “grace the nightly news and write for some of the most influential publications in the nation.” Moreover, “the [Obama] White House uses their talking points.”
From GS's inception, said the sources, “The object of this group was to protect Barack Obama at all costs, and [to] push progressive messaging around the country.” That messaging has included heavy doses of pro-labor union propaganda and radical environmentalism. In addition, GS seeks to influence national politics as well. Among the group's favorite political figures is Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who reportedly enjoys the support of at least 60% of Gamechanger members.
The existence of GS was first uncovered by MediaTrackers.org in July 2013, via an open-records inquiry into the actions of University of Wisconsin professor Joel Rogers, who happened to be a member of the group.
The founder and moderator of GS is Billy Wimsatt, who worked for the Obama presidential campaign and the Ohio Democratic Party in 2008; contributed columns to the Huffington Post for a number of years until 2012; and currently serves as the chief ideas officer at Gamechanger Labs, an incubator for left-wing political and social action.
Other prominent names on GS's membership list are
Medea Benjamin and Katrina vanden Heuvel.
Additional GS members include individuals closely affiliated with such influential leftist organizations as 350.org, the ACLU, the AFL-CIO, Al Jazeera, the American Federation of Teachers, Americans United, Amnesty International, Avaaz, the Campaign for America's Future, the Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Campus Progress, Catholics United, the Center for American Progress, the Center for Community Change, the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the Center for Media and Democracy, the Center for Popular Democracy, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Code Pink, Color of Change, Common Cause, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Democracy For America, the Democratic Party, Demos, Dream Defenders, the Economic Policy Institute, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, EMILY's List, the Energy Action Coalition, Faith in Public Life, Free Press, Free Speech TV, the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation, Generational Alliance, Global Exchange, Green For All, Greenpeace, Healthcare-NOW, the Huffington Post, the Institute for Policy Studies, J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace, Journolist, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Leadership Center for the Common Good, the League of Conservation Voters, the League of Young Voters, the Media Fund, Media Matters for America, the Movement Strategy Center, MoveOn, the NAACP, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the National Education Association, National People's Action, the National Priorities Project, the National Wildlife Federation, NDN (formerly the New Democrat Network), Netroots Nation, the New America Foundation, the New Organizing Institute, Occupy Wall Street, One Nation Working Together, Organizing For Action, Organizing For America, the Peace Action Network, People for the American Way, People Improving Communities Through Organizing, Planned Parenthood, the Ploughshares Fund, Political Research Associates, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressive Majority, Progressive Strategies LLC, ProgressNow, Project Vote, Public Campaign, Public Citizen, the Raging Grannies, Rebuild The Dream, Rock the Vote, Salsa Labs, the Service Employees International Union, the Sierra Club, State Voices, the Sunlight Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, SUSTAIN, The Nation, The Other 98%, the U.S. Climate Action Network, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, UNITE HERE!, the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, the United States Student Association, United We Dream, USAction, the Voter Participation Center, Wikipedia, the Wilderness Society, Win Without War, the Working Families Party, and the Young Invincibles.