Democrats Need Voters to Get Riled Up About Net Neutrality

May 19, 2017 - 2 minutes read

Net neutrality is on the chopping block yet again, and the outrage is growing. Leaders in the tech community (not to mention rank and file iPhone app developers) have repeatedly made their stance clear: without net neutrality regulations in place, their businesses are in trouble. After John Oliver unleashed an epic 20 minute tirade on the necessity of net neutrality a couple weeks ago, the FCC website mysteriously crashed, although allegedly from some sort of attack and not the millions of dissenting comments pouring in (yeah right).

Now Congressional Democrats are hoping to stoke the flames of the popular backlash to the FCC’s plan to dismantle net neutrality. Democrats lack the necessary negotiating power to protect Obama-era regulations in the Republican-dominated Congress. Instead they are looking to nurture the grassroots anger over FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s anti-net neutrality agenda to put pressure on Republicans to compromise. “It’ll be a campaign issue if they repeal it,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the top-ranking Democrat on the House committee that oversees the FCC. So Democrats are adopting net neutrality as a pet issue, basically as a way to win elections — which is okay with app developers as long as it ultimately saves net neutrality.

The Republicans seem to think that popular opinion is in their favor. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) made the baffling claim that several of her constituents actually do not want a ban of paid prioritization. Pockets of ignorance remain when it comes to the issue of the open internet, but after the last big fight for net neutrality a few years ago, the public is much more knowledgeable about the ins-and-outs of net neutrality (thanks in part to political comedians like Oliver). Nonsense like Ted Cruz’s claim that net neutrality is “Obamacare for the internet” won’t hold up much longer. Whether or not the Democrat’s strategy to save net neutrality works, Dallas iPhone app developers will help them out by continuing to speak out, building on the grassroots outrage that threatens to unseat Congressional Republicans.

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