Tale of the till, general election style
There are many reasons to smile these days, unless of course, you're a Republican dead-ender still trying to convince yourself that the past 7 years were just peachy.
One such reason is a quick glance at presidential campaign fundraising.
Consider that $272 million dollars were given to the Obama campaign through April for the primary campaign.
Some numbers from Politico.:
• If each of Obama’s donors gave him a modest $250, he’d have $375 million to spend during the two-month general election sprint. That’s $186 million a month, $47 million a week.
• During the same September to Nov. 4 period, McCain will have about $85 million to spend since he has decided to take taxpayer money to help finance his campaign activities.
• The Republican National Committee, which is charged with closing the gap between McCain and Obama, has $40 million in cash. Obama raised almost as much — $31 million — from just his small donors in the month of February. His total for the month, $57 million, exceeded the RNC’s cash balance. (by $17 million)
• Obama has more than 1.5 million donors; McCain has a few hundred thousand. If just a million of Obama’s donors sent him the maximum donation, $2,300, he could raise $2.3 billion.
OK, that’s not going to happen. But campaign finance experts and Democratic fundraisers say a conservative estimate of Obama’s general election fundraising potential hovers around or above $300 million.
Such a massive financial advantage will allow Obama to compete in more states than McCain and force his rival to defend states that should rightfully be Republican wins.
I'd defer to those with campaign experience in this, but to my mind, if you're planning to donate to the Obama campaign (which you are, of course), perhaps the best way to do it is to give a good chunk right out of the gate, as in soon.
This will provide a couple benefits, namely being able to post some great numbers which tends to strike fear into opponents, and if the totals are massive, as they likely will be, it may also create a snowball effect where more people want to get in on the bandwagon and spur even more to contribute.
Secondly, the Obama campaign will likely need to spend more money in the initial weeks of the campaign as they pivot to the general election campaign. While it's hard to imagine to any who've paid attention to the news, the fact remains that to the broader American public, Obama is still a question mark, a fact which the Republicans are eager to exploit by filling people will all sorts of far-fetched and completely false fears and doubts.
In other words, the Republicans only hope is to define Obama as some sort of extremely risky candidate, as if elected, Obama might suddenly decided to hand the country over to Iran and send jack-booted thugs into every city, town, and village to force women to wear burkas. And yes, there are people who will be eager to believe it, trust me. Fear discourages rational thought and tends to make people dumber. And when you're already plenty dumb to begin with, you just may be capable of actually believing the inevitable Republican tripe.
So right out of the gate, there will be a need for a massive campaign to essentially tell people who Obama is, to define him in a way that's somewhat relative to reality, rather than Republican fantasies.
As the campaign progresses, Obama will doubtless be getting so much free press that this may become less critical, but raising a tidy stack to start with will go a long way towards this crucial goal and help allay the Republican campaign to define Obama by sowing fear and misinformation.
So why not check those couch cushions and make a donation? Then later as the campaign gets down to the nitty-gritty and enters the knock-down, drag-out end stages, throw a little more his way just to help him over the finish line.
That's what I think is a good plan, but again, if there's a better way of helping out, I'm all ears.
And the announcement today that not only the Obama campaign, but the entire Democratic National Committee is swearing off any contributions from lobbyists or Political Action Committees or PACs makes donating even more meaningful.
If you've ever felt like you were just one small person who couldn't make a difference. If you've ever felt like it's no use since big money has completely overtaken government and as a consequence, the needs of corporate interests and the very wealthy are the only ones heard, much less acted on, then this is your chance.
You can show by your donation that a new way of politics is truly here.
You can show by your donation, no matter how small, that it is possible to run, and win, in this exponentially expensive political game, without relying on, and therefore being beholden to, only those who can give enormous sums of money.
You can ensure that the Obama campaign doesn't owe a thing to any huge corporate interest, doesn't owe a thing to the insurance lobby, doesn't owe anything to Big Pharma, doesn't owe a thing to the huge banking and finance lobby, aren't dependent on the defense industry giants, and loosen the strangle-hold these and others have on Washington.
This isn't to say that these ultra-wealthy interests are going to be shut out. Don't worry about that. For 7 long, miserable years, the Bush administration has not sided with corporate and the very wealthy over the needs of the rest of us half the time, not three quarters of the time, but 100% of the time.
On no occasion when the interests of average Americans is in competition with those of corporations and/or the ultra-wealthy has this administration sided with us.
The Bush administration has turned government into a huge piggy bank, where corporations or anyone wealthy enough to have a few hundred thousand to play with can make the most fabulous investment they've ever made. Donate a few hundred thousand or more and reap returns a hundred times over in no-bid contracts and whatever else your heart desires. Hell, you can even write your own legislation right in the Capitol! (and they did.)
So your participation in allowing the Obama campaign to thrive without a dime of corporate lobby or PAC money might not solve the corruption of big money in government, but it does mean that perhaps we can have an administration that will actually make decisions and choices that benefit the rest of us once in a while.
I think that's a very cool concept. Don't you?