Illustration for article titled The Can You Not PAC Is Dedicated to Telling White Men They Really Dont Need to Run for Office

At this point in the country’s history, we have enough of a few things: Kardashians, types of peanut butter, and straight, white men holding political office. We’re good! Thanks for your contribution, but we’re good. Now, a new political action committee is dedicated to spreading the gospel of having fewer white men in office.


The Can You Not PAC was first reported by Colorado Public Radio. It was started by Jack Teter and Kyle Huelsman, two straight white guys in Colorado as kind of a joke, as they told Irin Carmon at MSNBC. But then fundraising took off and they realized they could actually fundraise for candidates who are women, LGBT, and ethnically diverse:

“A lot of us joke that the Republican party is the party of old white men,” said Teter, “but I think that can be true of Democratic bodies as well. We know of groups that are doing such great work recruiting women and people of color and LGBT people. And we know white men who will give donations to those groups while simultaneously running against them in primaries.”

The PAC urges white men in urban, racially mixed precincts to give someone else a shot.

Key to their plan is that the message is coming from fellow white guys. (The site features the smiling and bland faces of L.L. Bean models who have opted out.) “People who are in the position of privilege should be the ones to dismantle it,” said Huelsman.


Women are particularly prone to not running for office because they assume they’re unqualified, while men, uh, believe in themselves and other men, regardless of whether or not they should.

The most enjoyable thing about Can You Not is that it’s making some people legitimately cranky and defensive, like Alex Griswold at the weirdly-conservative-these-days Mediaite, who reports that the group will “pressure white males” not to run. Perhaps if your will to power is so fragile, you should be considering another line of work anyway? But Mediaite’s commenters immediately vaulted to the most reasonable suggestion, that this is like the Holocaust:

Illustration for article titled The Can You Not PAC Is Dedicated to Telling White Men They Really Dont Need to Run for Office

The Can You Not founders say they’re assembling an advisory board of people nothing like them, to choose which candidates they’ll support.


Correction: An earlier version of this story said Irin Carmon at MSNBC was first to report the PAC. It was actually Colorado Public Radio. I regret the error.

You are at least as qualified as this man. Photo via AP

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

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