You’ll often hear politicians say we need to get money out of politics, and it certainly sounds noble. But America might be better served by going in the opposite direction.
We need more money in politics, not less.
Now, I’m not really talking about raw dollars. The cost of high-profile elections has steadily crept up over the past decade. I’m referring to the number of people giving money to political campaigns, even in small dollar amounts.
Fewer than 10% of Americans have ever contributed money to a political campaign, and roughly 0.001% — that’s 1% of 1% — have given more than $200 at a time.
It’s easy to understand why. Usually we as a society discuss political donations as something underhanded, the territory of “fat-cat bankers” or well-dressed lawyers handing over briefcases, not everyday Americans.
But instead of making elections more pure, this only leads to increasing disengagement and cynicism among the electorate. What better way to get somebody invested in our democracy than to literally put money into it?
We dive deeper into this topic and outline the 5 main reasons most people give money to political campaigns in today’s episode of the Longleaf Podcast.
Here’s a preview:
- They have a relationship with the candidate or the local party
- They have an emotional reaction to a particular candidate or issue
- They have a defined political philosophy and strong sense of civic duty
- They want to get their phone calls answered
- They’re looking for a benefit — or the benefit of the doubt
Cover image by Kyle Taylor via Flickr (Creative Commons)