Mike Lux was born on May 13, 1960, in Lincoln, Nebraska. His first organizing job was as a volunteer with VISTA, an anti-poverty program that President Lyndon Johnson’s Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 created as the domestic version of the Peace Corps. In his time with VISTA, Lux worked with moderate-income family farmers in the southeast part of his home state.
In the mid-1980s Lux became a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. During that same general time period, he served as a leader of the Iowa Citizen Action Network. In 1984 he volunteered with Democrat Walter Mondale’s presidential campaign in Iowa. Four years after that, Lux was a senior staffer with the failed presidential campaigns of Joe Biden and Paul Simon.
In 1992 Lux was the national constituency director of the Clinton–Gore presidential campaign and, subsequently, a director of their White House transition team. From January 1993 to mid-1995, he served in the Clinton White House as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison. Moreover, he served in Clinton’s so-called “campaign war room” (1992), “budget war room” (1993), and “health care war room” (1994), making him one of only two people to have participated in all three.
Also in the early ’90s, Lux was the Executive Vice President, PAC Director, and chief lobbyist for the Iowa AFL-CIO.
In the 1996 election cycle, Lux served as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Business Council. Two years later, when he was the Senior Vice President for Political Action at People For the American Way (PFAW) and the PFAW Foundation, he managed an extensive advertising campaign that fought against the impeachment of President Clinton; the theme of the campaign was “It’s time to move on.”
Unbeknownst to Lux, during the same week (in the fall of 1998) that he and PFAW began running their pro-Clinton ads, Wes Boyd and Joan Blades were busy launching a separate Internet petition campaign with the same basic theme: “MoveOn,” which quickly grew into a massive and powerful progressive movement. When a young staffer at PFAW noticed the MoveOn petition soon after its initial appearance, Lux and PFAW contacted Boyd and Blades and instantly formed a partnership with them.
In 1999 Lux founded his own consulting firm, Mike Lux Media, where he has been the CEO ever since. The firm’s more noteworthy clients include the League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, MoveOn.org, the NAACP Voter Fund, the Center for Community Change, DailyKos, and Democracy Alliance.
In 1999 as well, Lux co-founded Progressive Strategies LLC, a consulting firm that provides a comprehensive array of professional services for “the progressive community.” The following year Lux established American Family Voices, where he continues to serve as president.
In the early 2000s Lux co-founded the Progressive Donor Network, an alliance of individual donors, issue-advocacy groups, and political consultants and strategists.
After the energy company Enron filed for bankruptcy in December 2001 amidst revelations of massive accounting fraud, Lux portrayed the scandal as “an absolutely classic example of corporate America run amok in a deregulatory environment.” Emphasizing in particular the fact that Enron had been a leading donor to President George W. Bush’s past gubernatorial campaigns, Lux and AFV spent much of 2002 doing everything in their power to ensure “that [the] scandal would end up dominating the news for the rest of the year.” Toward that end, Lux created websites named TheDailyEnron.com and NoMoreEnrons.com, both of which initially gave in-depth coverage to the Enron matter, and later expanded their focus to include additional allegations of Bush administration corruption.
In August 2008, the Campaign for Community Change (a project of the Center for Community Change) retained Lux as a Senior Fellow.
In 2009 Lux published his first book, The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be.
In December 2012 the Midwest Academy honored Lux with its Progressive Leadership Award.
Lux greatly admires Senator Elizabeth Warren. On March 21, 2012, he co-hosted a Young Professionals Event fundraiser to benefit Warren’s U.S. Senate campaign; other co-hosts included Heather Booth, Paul Booth, and Robert Borosage. In an April 2014 article titled “A Moment to Change the 2014 Dynamics,” Lux wrote that Warren’s “populist progressive economic message—about how the economic game is rigged for most Americans, and how wealthy and powerful special interests have taken over our government and are squeezing the middle class and the working poor—is exactly the kind of message Democrats need to be pushing in the 2014 elections.”
In March 2014 Lux stated that the Affordable Care Act (ACA, popularly known as “Obamacare”), which had been passed into law exactly four years earlier, was “already making lives better for many millions of Americans.” Citing Senator Tom Harkin‘s comparison of the ACA to a “starter house” whose main purpose was to serve as a stepping stone to a government-run, single-payer system, Lux added: “Over time, progressives will continue to battle and win more and more improvements, and make this a better and better law.”
In addition to Lux’s aforementioned pursuits and positions, over the years he also has been a co-founder, Chairman, Directors’ Board member, and Advisory Board member of numerous left-wing organizations and foundations. These include Americans United For Change, the Arca Foundation, the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, BushRecall.org, the Center for Progressive Leadership, the Clinton-Gore Alumni Association, Democracy Radio, Grassroots Democrats, the Midwest Academy, Netroots Nation, OpenLeft.com, Progressive Congress, Progressive Majority, the Proteus Fund, the Strategy Group (a Chicago-based political consulting firm), 21st Century Democrats, USAction, and Women’s Voice/Women Vote (now known as the Voter Participation Center), Democratic GAIN, Democratic Strategist, and Sum of Us.
Lux is also a leader — officially called a “partner” — of the pro-Democrat political consulting firm, Democracy Partners. In addition, he has been a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos, and Crooks and Liars.
Lux holds “modern day conservatives” in deep contempt—describing them as “fools” who “have positioned themselves on the extreme end of the American political system, and [who] know they can’t honestly say what they believe or voters will reject them out of hand.”
Further Reading: “Mike Lux” (Keywiki.org, Sourcewatch.org, HuffingtonPost.com, MidwestAcademy.com, AmericanFamilyVoices.org); “The Group Behind the Attacks on Bush” (by Byron York, 7-12-2002, re: Enron); “A Moment to Change the 2014 Dynamics: Elizabeth Warren’s New Book” (by Mike Lux, 6-21-2014); “Four Years for the ACA: Time to Keep Building” (by Mike Lux, 3-24-2014); “Modern Conservatives: Frightened Falsifying Fools” (by Mike Lux, 3-7-2014).