An interesting essay on The Huffington Post last week made me pause.
Its topic? The phenomenon that women voters are more than willing to volunteer their time and energy to help get candidates elected, but are not so quick with their financial support to help achieve that goal.
Of course, that is what’s going to get our voices heard in a real way — issues important to those who give the most money to a candidate tend to get more attention after the election is over.
I learned that the hard way in what I thought were my not-so-naive years. I was desperate to volunteer to get Democratic candidates elected, both nationally and statewide. I thought I had a few contacts to make the connections I needed to become an active volunteer for someone. And lots of people talked on the phone enthusiastically or nodded their heads in meetings — yes, yes, they assured me, we need volunteers like you.
But in the end, that’s not what they wanted — they just wanted the money. And that left me cold.
Yes, I try to do my financial part if there is a candidate I feel strongly about, though clearly I’m not in the giving category that would get me a sleepover in the Lincoln Bedroom.
Maybe that’s what puts us off as givers? If you don’t want my time, why should I give you my money? Why do candidates seem to be missing that phenomenon?
There are plenty of women today with plenty of money. I’m willing to bet, they’d be happy to donate money to a candidate if there was a a desire to connect with us on the issues we care about, rather than just taking the money and moving on to the next fundraiser.
To paraphrase the first Clinton campaign, candidates need to know that for many voters, it’s not just about hoping to restore some sanity to the political process, but that “It’s the issues, stupid.”
If we can get the candidates focused on our most important issues, maybe we would be more willing to open up our wallets. And if we do, let’s hope the candidates learn a political lesson about women voters — one that they’ll remember for 2012 and beyond.