If you’re a frequent visitor to Mapping the Left (mappingtheleft.com) you have watched the website go through a transformation in the last few weeks. The look is new and mappingtheleft.com has been redesigned with advanced capabilities. You will notice faster and more powerful, yet simple, searches, updated data, profiles and new photos. We’ve even added a media gallery where you will find flow charts and other images.
And whether you have used the site before or are new, the website’s changes will make it easier for you to find out what liberal and progressive nonprofit groups are up to, even as we have kept the great original features of the website. For instance, the option to visualize connections between groups, funders, people and networks has been refined, and now it includes a simple search and a feature to allow simple downloads of the resulting images. Even though Mapping the Left is very mobile-friendly, we are excited about the Mapping the Left app that will be available in the coming weeks and will make your research via mobile technology easier.
Moreover, the changes won’t stop here. When we understood the dynamic of the liberal-Left in North Carolina – how the people and the groups flow from one position and one mission to another as the political landscape changes – we realized that Mapping the Left would never be a finished work. We’ve seen in the last several months the number of groups it tracks grow from 140 to over 170. The site’s listing of the number of individuals employed and serving on the boards of the massive web of groups that work on the liberal/progressive cause has grown from 1,800 to a whopping 2,788. Some of this growth can be attributed to four new networks that in coming weeks will be added to the seven networks already on the site. These networks will all make it easier to connect all the groups, funders and people in Mapping the Left.
While there are many changes and additions to mappingtheleft.com, what hasn’t changed is hardly surprising – the relentless march of North Carolina’s progressive Left. They are heavily funded by their flagship, North Carolina’s own Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR). ZSR’s national and international connections to some of the most notorious figures on the extreme Left makes their funding the common-thread that motivates the left-wing groups to work together for so many different radical causes. In the end we weren’t surprised that money was what made all these groups and people work together; it’s probably the only thing that could work.
It took us a while to come to the realization that Z. Smith Reynolds (ZSR) spearheaded the progressive movement in North Carolina. At first we believed it was an association with Blueprint NC, the coordinating hub for the radical Left that is generally credited with the strategy memo in 2013 that called for activists to “cripple” the state’s Republican leaders and “eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.” But with the help of Mapping the Left, we have come to understand that Blueprint NC isn’t the leader, it is simply the action arm of ZSR. In recent decades, ZSR taken a hard turn left, funneling tens of millions of dollars a year into groups that lobby for extreme environmental policy, Common Core Standards in the schools, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and gun control. The data within Mapping the Left has made it evident that the Left’s end goal is for control, and the vehicle to get control is the expansion of local, state and federal government.
It has been barely nine months since we rolled out the original version of Mapping the Left. The website’s color scheme was basic and stark black and white to symbolize the stark difference between the liberal-Left in North Carolina and the values and traditions of the majority of the state’s citizens. With the earlier version, we succeeded in creating a website that revealed the vast network of left-wing nonprofit advocacy groups that for decades had wielded an alarming amount of power in the media, state politics, and government. We were able to illuminate the way they worked together, both in loose coalitions and organized networks, to influence and control public policy. The new website does all this but adds power and finesse with a new look.
Liberal groups come and go. Alliances shift and reform. But Mapping the Left is here to follow the dynamics of the progressive movement and show its intricate and ever-changing connections. Mapping the Left will continue to combine data and on-going stories about the organizations, the people and the funders that make up the radical Left in North Carolina.