Small Donations, Loosely Justified

I'm the example in a new BusinessWeek article on small donors in political campaigns, who apparently have less impact than we think:

Rogers Cadenhead wants to have an impact on this year's Presidential election. So he's heeded online appeals for contributions, making $25 to $40 donations to candidates including Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.), former Senator John Edwards (D-N.C.), and Representative Ron Paul (R-Tex.). "The allure of one-click participation in democracy was too hard to resist," says Cadenhead, a 40-year-old computer book author and the publisher of the liberal-leaning political blog the Drudge Retort. "I'm not the kind of person who gets called for real donations."

Cadenhead and millions of individuals like him are nonetheless being courted by the candidates. Presidential hopefuls are grabbing their attention -- and contributions -- with donation requests embedded in blogs, e-mails, social networks, YouTube (GOOG) videos, and their own Web sites. ...

Small donors like Cadenhead are undeterred in making political contributions, no matter how small. Individual donations are keeping some candidates like Kucinich from dropping out of the race altogether. For many candidates, even a small donation is an indication of support at the polls, where it matters most. "It's an easy way to vote early," says Cadenhead.

In describing my donations to reporter Catherine Holahan, it was hard not to sound insane. I've given $25 to Edwards and Obama, $50 to Paul and $250 to the candidate I finally settled on: Joe Biden (sigh). That last amount grew from $25 to the federal-matching maximum after a Biden volunteer called me the day before the Iowa caucus. When your candidate concedes before your donation clears the bank, it's probably a bad investment.

Since giving my first political donation to Howard Dean in 2004, I've decided that an early contribution of $25 is a good way to start learning about a candidate. Give a politician a dollar and you never get rid of 'em. I get regular emails from Obama, his wife Michelle and Ron Paul along with text messages from Edwards before each debate.

Holahan first contacted me by email, so my server logs reveal how she found me for the story. She searched Google Monday for i gave $25 to ron paul.

Giving money to Paul was more fun before I knew that he published a newsletter that earned nearly $1 million a year in the early '90s and contained articles that expressed loathsome prejudice towards gays and blacks. Even if you believe that Paul did not write the articles himself, that means they were either written with his approval (just as bad) or completely without his knowledge.

That last possibility, the most generous to Paul, demonstrates staggering blindness to what underlings were doing in his name -- one of the worst flaws a president could have.

Comments

Why on gods green earth would you give your hard earned quan to some millionaire galavanting around the country on your dime?

You might as well flush your $25 down the toilet, $25 doesn't even cover the manicure on one of John Edwards fingernails.

Maybe Joe Biden could use your $250 to buy a clue about international policy, but I doubt it.

Put you $25 to use and get a new bib for your zed.

That's what I did.

BTW, how did you hack into Business Week and replace 'Joe Smith' with Rogers Cadenhead?

Book name and page # please.

What did I tell you about Paul? It's weird how many people don't know what a creepfest his scene/followers are. I does good grammars, yes?

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