Thursday, April 27, 2006

Taking Back America, Part 5

This, probably as much as controlling the dialogue, is an important part of running for public office.

Every candidate needs money to run. But how, and from where should your money come? How is something you can learn by staying in touch with elected officials you've made connections with. Fundraisers, obviously, are important. But really, if you're going to run and tell voters you're accountable to them, you'll want to practice what you preach.

In determining who politicians are really loyal to, follow the money. If they get the bulk of their campaign funds from wealthy contributors, they're less likely to hold themselves accountable to the general public; votes may win elections, but money buys loyalty.

So this is where you'll want to differentiate yourself from your monied opponents.

Instead of trying to raise large amounts of cash from fewer donors, raise smaller amounts from a larger number. Howard Dean's tactic along this line; he's going to lay Democrats more than the big money pushers. People are asked to donate $10 here, $100 there, whatever they can afford.

This ultimately leads to a power-shift in the Democratic Party, something folks like Hillary Clinton are scared of. Because, as I said, money buys loyalty. And if the bulk of your campaign money comes from the Heinz Ketchup company...who do you think's going to have a bigger influence on the party platform?

I want you to try a little experiment. Go to ten of your friends, and ask each of them for three dollars on the promise you will pay it back within one week. By the time you've gone to all of them you should have raised thirty dollars. If they balk, and ask why you need the money, tell them the truth.

The point of this experiment is to test your money-raising skills. Yeah, you could ask for more but why push it when times are tough and the dollar just doesn't buy what it used to? Besides, you're going to give it all back anyway so there's really no point in asking for more. If you're going to have any hope of winning your first election, you will want to prove (to yourself, your potential constituents and to party bosses) you are able to convince people to shell out their hard-earned money on you.

Once you've raised that thirty dollars, pay it back to the people you borrowed it from. It'll show two things: that you can keep your word, and that you realize it's not your money. Always remember, you're not spending or raising your own money for your campaign; you're raising and spending someone else's money. This will help keep you honest in a world where money and power corrupt even the noblest of souls.

Don't have ten friends you can borrow from? Go door to door in your neighborhood, and take along a notepad and pen so you can write down names and addresses of the people who agree to lend you their three dollars. Once the experiment is completed, you can then return their money.

Try it out, and see what happens. The worst is that people say "no." But, if it works you'll have learned something that will help you in your bid to raise actual money for your campaign.

No comments: