Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wednesday, October 11 is...

Antifascist Day (Macedonia)

The jokes relating to that are too obvious, so I'll let you go ahead and make them yourself.

I made a decision this morning: I'm not giving any more money to candidates this election cycle. I made that decision after reading three posts:

First, this post at Common Iowan, asking who you would give $100. I read this post and remembered that the average successful candidate for State House spends well over $10,000, so at best giving them $100 is supplying 1% of their budget.

Then, I read this post from Iowa Progress this morning, about GOTV for satellite voting:

By definition, any successful GOTV effort looks a little harassing...The truth is, it’s worth it to annoy five people to get to the one who doesn’t know there’s an election going on. I hope when the dust settles, our peers will be forgiving of our incessant door knocking, calling, flyering, and well, harassment.

At least they didn't use robocalls, I guess.

Finally, I read this post from Thoughts for the Oasis Amidst the Corn, where Matt invites us to sponsor his daughter (a kindergartner), who is running in a road race to benefit Iowa City schools.

The three posts came together in my head and caused me to write this response to Common Iowan:

The sad truth is, if it's just you operating in a vacuum, your $100 isn't going to be significant enough to make a difference in any of the races across the state. I've given out $550 in donations since the primary and I'm not sure that much has made a difference, either.

In an ideal world, everyone's contributions matter, but in the real world, the $100 I've got in my pocket would be less than 1% of the operating budget for even a candidate for state house. So I'll pocket my hundred and hold onto it until the day when I can pool it together with others to make it notable.

There are some other thoughts I'd like to add to that at this point.

1) Most contributions to candidates at this point will be spent on the most annoying things candidates do: (potentially negative) advertising and robocalling. I'm not tremendously excited to hand out money to be used in various forms of harassment. While the folks at Iowa Progress may seem to think harassment is a necessary evil, I would rather not be harassed at this point. Especially when it's "incessant."

2) There are a lot of worthy causes out there that produce actual good, not just promised good that may go away after November 7 or after your candidate takes office. Within the last week I've given money to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Iowa City Schools (by sponsoring Matt's daughter), and I'm saving up money to give to Child's Play, as I do every Christmas.

So, I'm done for this cycle. I'll be back to help candidates next time.



Chelsea said...

KL, I just want to caveat for you (and pretend you said it yourself):

"I don't mind my money being spent on direct voter contact, but I don't want to be bankrolling negative ads, because I'd rather see campaigns rely on grassroots and other 'democratic' means of organizing. And that's why invest in campaigns early, to help them build organization."

Well put, KL.

KL Snow said...

While I would encourage most people not to caveat for me, in this case you're exactly right.


noneed4thneed said...

Having many small donations would be a true grassroots campaign. Your response surprised me since you worked for a candidate running a grassroots campaign that supported getting big money out of politics. You are basically saying why give money when the big money already funds the campaigns.

I didn't expect people to pull out their checkbooks after reading this post, but thought it would be an interesting way to find out what candidates and groups people are supporting.

Chelsea said...

Today is National Coming Out Day!

KL, do you have something to tell us?

KL Snow said...

Yes, I do.

Chelsea, I'm very thrilled that you've decided to comment on my blog.

That's all.