Mark Pincus and his WTF project to rethink American politics is coming to the nation’s capital — with a little help from the Wizard of Oz.
To be clear, that’s WTF as in Win the Future, and when it isn’t indulging in silver-screen fantasy, it aspires to change the way the Democratic Party drafts its candidates and forms its policy platform. Pincus, the co-founder of game-maker Zynga, teamed up with Adam Werbach and Reid Hoffman, the creator of LinkedIn, to unveil the effort in July, as first reported by Recode.
But starting tonight, WTF is going to try to make its name known in Washington, D.C., by running its first advertisement: A wicked-witch-themed projection on one of the office buildings for lawmakers in the House of Representatives, urging members to preserve the Affordable Care Act.
“If they only had a brain, a heart, the nerve. Stand up for the ACA! #WTF,’” the 70-foot ad will read. It doesn’t really explain much about the group or its goals, but still, WTF wants voters to demand their senators reject Republicans’ latest attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“We want to take ideas from the crowd and put it where members of Congress see it,” Werbach said.
To be sure, Pincus and crew always figured they’d have to start small. Initially, they told Recode, they hoped to raise enough money to erect billboards near Reagan National Airport to promote WTF’s views to lawmakers as they prepared to depart the city. While their first-ever D.C. advertisement is a little different in location and nature, Werbach stressed that it’s still the result of the fact that many WTF supporters have sounded off in defense of Obamacare.
In total, they have about 50,000 backers, all corralled through WTF’s official Facebook group. And they’ve raised about $100,000 from them, adding to a small war chest that already counted donations from Pincus as well as Hoffman, who is spending large sums on U.S. politics in 2017. Other donors include Joanne and Fred Wilson, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Sooner or later, though, the WTF team hopes to have an even larger network of supporters online who rally around policies that Pincus has previously described as “pro-social [and] pro-planet, but also pro-business and pro-economy.” Eventually, the group hopes to recruit so-called WTF Democrats — candidates who run under the Win the Future banner in congressional races around the country.
For now, Werbach said those conversations are just beginning; he declined to offer names of any office-seekers he’s targeting. But his co-founder in WTF, Pincus, previously had told Recode he hoped to convince Stephan Jenkins, the frontman of Third Eye Blind, to carry their mantle. (Werbach said he didn’t “have anything to add” on that at the moment.)
Still, he insisted the Silicon Valley effort to challenge official Democratic orthodoxy — from party structures to its leaders itself — has brought the group some early good will.
“We don’t feel like we’ve been frozen out or rejected,” Werbach said, before adding: “And at some point we decided to just start delivering the work we promised.”
(Update, Tuesday, 9:34am ET): Here’s the ad that WTF displayed on the wall of the Rayburn House Office Building last night.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.