Established in July 2007, OpenLeft (OL) was a popular blog “committed to building a strong and progressive movement and an enduring progressive (not just Democratic) majority.” As part of the Netroots nation, OL sought to strengthen the progressive movement in the Democratic Party by criticizing moderate Democrats, particularly those in the Democratic Leadership Council and the New Democrat Coalition.
Chris Bowers, Mike Lux, and Matt Stoller were OL’s founding partners. Like Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of Daily Kos, all three OL founders wrote for MyDD.com, considered to be the father of the progressive blogosphere, before starting their own blog.
Mike Lux, author of The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be (2009), has a long history in the Democratic Party and the progressive movement. Named to the Obama–Biden transition team in 2008, he previously served at the White House as a special assistant to the president during the Clinton administration. In 1995, Lux became senior vice president for political action at People For the American Way. He also founded American Family Voices and the Progressive Donor Network. He was a co-founding board member of Americans United For Change, the Center for Progressive Leadership, and Progressive Majority. He was the co-founding CEO of Progressive Strategies, LLC, and he played a founding role in Air America, the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, the Center for American Progress, and Women’s Voices, Women Vote. Lux also has served on the board of the Arca Foundation.
From its inception, OL helped lead the progressive charge for net neutrality, a concept whose objective is to empower the federal government to ration and apportion Internet bandwidth as it sees fit, and to thereby control the Internet’s content. In 2007, OL teamed up with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) to help write legislation for net neutrality. During the 2008 election season, Matt Stoller and OL succeeded in getting every Democratic challenger for the Senate to support the concept.
OL was a member of BlogPac, a political action committee that includes a number of prominent blogs – among them, Daily Kos, MyDD, Atrios, Talk Left, BOP News, AmericaBlog, Pandagon, and Annatopia – which fundraise through ActBlue “to wage progressive politics online.” BlogPac aims to build a new progressive infrastructure, and to fund local blogs in all 50 states.
The BlogPac coalition utilizes online strategies like googlebombing to influence the ranking of political information on search engines. During the 2008 presidential campaigns, OL targeted John McCain in an effort to raise the page-ranking of negative stories associated with the Republican candidate. In 2009, BlogPac teamed up with ACORN, Color of Change, and MoveOn.org “to hold Blue Dogs, conservodems, and other center-right Democrats accountable for supporting Wall Street and conservative groups instead of supporting their own constituents.”
Open Left shut down its operations in February 2011.