A Thought on Campaign Funding, the Internet and Technology

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Hello. I’m Bookshelf Q. Battler, noted ugly rights advocate, champion yeti fighter, proponent for a cure for Lightning Infused Toaster Paper Toilet Death (we must find the cure in our lifetime) and the owner of a website owned by 3.5 readers.

Blah blah blah, you know my spiel about not getting political.

But here’s a thought I wonder if everyone couldn’t consider.  And I’ll say up front, I’m not sure how it could be carried out.

It just seems like it is becoming too much that people are able to cut a check to a candidate for huge amounts of money and then say with a straight face that this transaction doesn’t mean the candidate’s loyalty hasn’t been bought or that the donator is doing it solely on ideology and not expecting some kind of quid pro quo.

The problem has always been that the money has always been needed.  You don’t take it, your opponent will, your opponent can then buy a lot of TV ads and attack you 24/7.

But look at the tech today.

First, it is easier to collect small donations from the little guy.  Few people have the attention span to remember to write a check, address an envelope and mail it to the campaign of their choice.

However, if the laptop is already on your lap, burning your genitals while you’re watching Scandal Thursday nights on ABC, it doesn’t take much effort to send your candidate whatever you are willing to part with.

Should there be a cap?  Hypothetically, yeah, if its limited to, say, a hundred dollars per person then I’m not sure the average politician would become beholden to someone for a hundred bucks.

In other words, its never been easier to collect small donations from the general public and those donations won’t necessarily lead to an unsavory phone call demanding that a politician engage in sketchy behavior.

Second, and here’s the big one – video and/or other content has never been easier to produce, create, and share.

Seriously.  If some kid in his dorm can generate a million followers on YouTube by buying everything he needs at the local Best Buy, then surely the prospective leaders of the free world can.

Really – buy ad time? Seems like an outdated concept.  Turn on your smart phone, say something controversial about your opponent, post it, and then the media will pick it up.

OLD WAY: Buy millions of dollars worth of ads to play a commercial about how your opponent is a butt face.

NEW WAY: Turn on cell phone camera.  Say, “My opponent is a butt face.” Post. Wait for major networks to report that you called your opponent a butt face. Heck, your ardent followers will even spread your message to all their friends, informing them that you think your opponent is a butt face.

IN CONCLUSION:

  • It’s never been easier to raise a lot of money from a lot of little people who don’t have the power call you at 3 a.m. to ask you to do something to compromise your integrity because of a $20 donation they made on your site.
  • Content has never been cheaper to create or share.

AND THE BEST PART:

  • The average person who is a semi-respectable, non-douche with good ideas but hasn’t spent a lifetime being a henchman/woman for people making giant donations might, just might, be able, with a few simple, affordable pieces of tech available at Best Buy, be able to spread meaningful content about his/her ideas that goes viral and becomes as formidable as content created through enormous donations, thereby allowing better, less douchy people to rise to the top.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

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3 thoughts on “A Thought on Campaign Funding, the Internet and Technology

  1. ahahnjones says:

    I can see this happening as more Gen Xers and older Millennials get into politics. The members of those generations are tech-savvy and I think there is a stronger belief in a form of digital, direct democracy among them. It would definitely help to bring democracy back to the people, and I think you hit the nail on the head with limiting campaign donations. The only concern I have is the rise of populist candidates that feed on controversy and shallow public appeal.

    • Yeah…I’m not sure I’d want to mandate it by law or anything. I just feel like in theory, if I were a politician, I wouldn’t want to be a tool having to check with a bunch of schmucks what I’m allowed to do and whether or not they’ll keep donating to me if I do something they don’t like.

      Thus, I feel like the tech is here for politicians, if they want to go at it with small donations that add up big time and utilize social media to spread their message. Perhaps if enough do it this way, it will become a given.

      • ahahnjones says:

        Ideally, we the people are the only schmucks the politicians should have to answer to. I think we saw the infancy of the concept with the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump campaigns.

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