I’m on a first-name basis with Barack, Michelle, Joe, Hillary, Chelsea, Senator Al (Franken), somebody named Jess and somebody else named Nick. All my new BFFs write to me, some of them every day to tell me about their opponents’ character defects, and they always ask for money. Not a lot, $5.00 here, $25.00 there, or $50.00 if someone is really sore aggrieved about something. Lately it’s been about the FBI, but it’s mostly about Donald Trump. And there’s always a deadline, a crisis, a one-stroke-of-midnight tone to these messages. I wasn’t ready for these desperate pleas for support. I thought that’s what families were for.
Work for (a) Change
Every time there is a tick in one of the polls, the Clinton campaign turns that tick into a nick for cash. “Ohio’s up? Help us seal the deal! Ohio’s down? Help us save the U.S. as we know it!” We’re a week away from Election Day. As of September 30th, Clinton had $385M cash on hand compared to $40M for Trump. Her campaign and its affiliates took in $101M through October 19th, while Trump raised $29M during the same period. Clinton had $62M on hand. On the other hand, Trump had to kick in $31M of his own money to keep the doors open —and he never invests his own money. With a week to go, they’re still spending and whining about money. Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn.
The Clinton campaign has been going on for two years. Democrat-affiliate Super-Pacs have been at it even longer. I contributed to Bernie (“$27.00 —would you like a receipt?”). When Bernie folded, I backed Hillary, even though I am not an ardent supporter. But seriously, does it ever stop?
The Politics Industry
The answer is No, it doesn’t. Political fundraising is perpetual. After Obama won, fundraising continued without stopping for a breath. “Support the Agenda.” Then it was issue-driven, against Citizens United, among other things. Now, we get Super-PAC fundraising to limit Super-PAC fundraising? Only in America.
What do you call a perpetual campaign? you call it an industry. Politics for both parties is a business, and together they form an industry. After all, if campaigns were limited to 60–90 days, all the pros would have nothing to do the rest of the time. Pollsters, organizers, lawyers, accountants, and policy wonks would be cashiered. Our contributions keep the politics industry rolling. Our campaign system is a retort to anyone who says that politicians don’t create jobs. They create jobs for themselves.
None of this fundraising is illegal. In fact, in our end-stage capitalist nation, it is the official language of politics. The Supreme Court said so itself in Citizens United. When I give money to a campaign, I’m not just speaking; I’m also investing, but I have no voice in how the company is run. I don’t get stock, interest or dividends.
The only thing I can do is to cap my investment, which is what I’ve done. So, Barack, Michelle, Joe, Hillary, Chelsea, Al, Jess and Nick: I’m turning off the spigot. No more money for 2016. I’m tapped out. But by all means, write to me next year when you’ve got your first quarterly report, and I’ll decide if your company’s prospects look good.