New PAC Asks White Men: ‘Can You Not’ Run for Office?

By Kenrya Rankin May 06, 2016

Its name might sound like a punchline, but the founders of Can You Not PAC say they are committed to making a difference in this fall’s election. The new political action committee’s website says it best:

Can You Not PAC is a political action project that aims to dis/empower and dis/incline people in positions of privilege, specifically straight White men, from ambitions of running for office in progressive urban districts. We challenge brogressives and others to reject any notion that they are uniquely qualified or positioned to seek political office in districts that don’t need them. As well-represented White dudes, we feel it is our obligation to know when to shut up and Not.

The Can You Not PAC was started by White men, for White men, asking White men that one important question: “Bruh, can you not?” We are happy to host interventions for the misguided bros in your life who looked in the mirror this morning and thought “Yeah, it’s gotta be me.” … We are not the heroes that Gotham needs.

MSNBC reports that Jack Teter and Kyle Huelsman registered the PAC earlier this week and raised more than $1,200 in the first 24 hours. They are currently putting together an advisory board of “non-straight-White-guys” to pick candidates that the PAC will support in June primaries and November elections. “People who are in the position of privilege should be the ones to dismantle it,” Huelsman said.

Some critics (read: commenters) have leveled charges of White male victimization, while others have said the PAC should focus on recruiting more people from underrepresented communities to run for office. Huelsman maintains that the problem is deeper than just adding more candidates to the slate. “We can’t simply fix the discrepancy by getting more women and people of color running for office. There are plethora of highly qualified women and women of color running for office. The problem here also is that we have a tsunami of overly confident, underqualified White guys running again and again.”

Learn more about the PAC here.