We hear lots of folks say, “LET’S GET MONEY OUT OF POLITICS!”
But rarely do we hear them say, “WHY is there money in politics?”
Until you “follow the money,” that question will remain elusive and we will still need (yes, NEED) tons of “money in politics.”
If you have ever run for office, then you know it takes a lot of money, no matter how small the office. Even a Precinct Chair will have to spend money if there is another person who wants to run against them in the primary.
When I say a lot of money, I mean a minimum of $1,500 to just get on a ballot, unless you collect 500 unique signatures on a petition.
So WHY do we allow a candidate who can afford $1,500 to simply buy their way onto the ballot, when the less wealthy have to scrounge for signatures? Why should anyone get on the ballot without a signed petition from at least 10% of the registered voters in their district?
But that’s peanuts compared to the $25,000+ required to run for something like Justice of the Peace. Or $50,000+ for a state Congress position…etc.
Then, you hit the Big Mama that is running for POTUS and that takes literally millions.
WHY? WHERE DOES THAT MONEY GO???
Ok, let’s figure out where that money goes.
At every level of office, most of it goes to advertising – print and digital messaging, billboards, events, outreach (charity functions), travel expenses, office expenses, etc.
At the higher levels, candidates must pay for campaign office space and staff in multiple places, plus rallies, meetings, billboards, TV and Radio. That’s where the big $$ gets spent.
When it comes to the political parties, only two of them have enough money coming in that they can hold huge conventions for their delegates to elect a nominee to represent their party. These events are huge spectacles for the nation, so lots of TV channels will show them for free (for the Party), but will charge the advertisers millions. So there is a ton of money that flows around everything involved in putting on a National Convention.
In October, 2019, one candidate started pushing to try to block corporate donations earmarked for the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Wisconsin. Where will the funding for the convention come from, then? Donors to the DNC?
The Democratic National Convention for 2020 will be one of the most important of our lifetimes, where we send delegates from our Democratic Parties in every county and state to vote for our Nominee for POTUS. This event in 2016 cost upwards of $127 million.
If we reject all corporate funding, then the average Democrat will have to up their donations to the DNC by about $1,000 this year to cover the convention in Wisconsin next year.
So, how do we combat “money in politics” when that money is going almost 100% to promotion, advertising, and selection of our candidates?
We can all stop the flow of money into our candidates’ campaigns, but we know what effect that will have. And if corporate donors (this should include Labor Unions) are not allowed to help put on the Democratic Convention in Wisconsin and it’s sub-par because we have to cut funding, what will we look like to the nation?
And without big donors, how many Democratic or Independent candidates will be able to go up against the dark money and deep, oligarch pockets of the GOP?
We must be careful what we wish for. We might not like what we get.
by Ann Grannan, CCDP Events Chair