How Much Are We Willing to Give?

Sun, October 28, 2007

Women in Politics


Whether we like it or not, with Halloween just around the corner, we will soon be into the official “holiday season.”

(Please don’t throw anything at me — I’m just looking at the calendar!)

If they haven’t already started, pleas for charitable contributions will soon be flooding our mailboxes, inboxes and voicemails, asking us to chip in our tax deductible giving before the end of the year.

Many of us give our money and time for so many good causes.

But how much are we willing to give to see a change in our country?

Aside from the solicitations from places like Dana Farber and Memorial Sloan Kettering, my E-mail inbox is flooded these days with pleas from the candidates — OK, just the Democratic candidates.

If I somehow wind up on the GOP giving list, then I’m going to get worried.

The DSCC and the DNC and other groups try to hit me up, too. I did like this one that arrived last week just in time for some Halloween spookiness!

As women, we apparently tend to give less in political contributions than men. I’m not sure why, but if we want to have some real sway and political influence in this current campaign season, maybe it’s time to ask ourselves if we’re willing to give our money for the change we want to see in our government in the same way we open our wallets for breast cancer and all the other causes we think are worthy of giving up our hard-earned bucks.

Is it worth it to make contributions with the hope that the candidate or party we want to see have more influence will make things better for our families and children, maybe not today, but ten or twenty years down the road?

Whether we like it or not, our collective voices are not going to have any real impact in the political arena until we back it up with a little cold, hard cash.

So while it is the time of year when our budgetary thinking is more focused on Halloween candy, holiday gifts and tax deductible contributions, to break out of the political status quo, it’s time to pony up.

I’m not really that happy about the prospect, but it’s the reality.

And, hey, it only took me how many decades to figure that out?

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8 Responses to “How Much Are We Willing to Give?”

  1. jen Says:

    i admit, i struggle with this. the millions and millions these professionals raise makes my contribution seem like an afterthought, especially when there are so many struggling grassroots causes to support. and yet i hear you, it’s about the statement, about paying for what we talk about all the time. it’s the first plea that’s made sense, PM, so thank you for that.

  2. Becky Says:

    I don’t give money to political candidates or parties because I’m a journalist.

    For all the talk of campaign-finance reform and “changing the system” of some of the front-runners, they sure are raising lots of money. Is that the way to change the system? Oh, I get it. They’ll change the system AFTER they’re elected.

  3. Julie Pippert Says:

    I’ll b honest.

    I get pleas from candidates for my money. My time. My thoughts.

    I am somewhat free with the first two, but very tight-fisted with the first.

    Why?

    It is hard-earned.

    I want to see results for it.

    I asked Joe Tripp when he emailed me for $50 for Edwards whether he’d fix the environment.

    I got no reply.

    I sent no money.

    To me, this seems obvious.

    To men and candidates? Maybe not so much.

    I know what I want and I know where my money will help. I don’t believe in politicians. Therefore, Heifer Intl will always see more of my dinero than any democrat.

    Again, to me, this seems obvious.

    But good point, and good post.

    Julie
    Using My Words

  4. Julie Pippert Says:

    Err I meant free with the SECOND two.

    Julie
    Using My Words

  5. littlem Says:

    What Julie said.

    I won’t name any additional names — OK, maybe one (*cough*Eli Pariser*cough) — but you also don’t necessarily get a response about issues even when you ask face to face.

    So PunditMom, if you’re at all in touch with the candidates’ fundraising staffs, could you let them know that if they’d like contributions, some reciprocal discussion of issue positions with volunteers/voters might be helpful at minimum? Respectfully.

    Even if there’s a frisson of an argument that our political system is devolving into noblesse oblige, it helps to maintain the — what’s the phrase in the statute again? Ah — appearance of democracy.

    Love.

  6. Jenny Says:

    Political fundraising does not go well in my home since Victor and I are on opposite sides of the party line.

    It’s not a good thing.

  7. Momish Says:

    I will admit it PM, I do not contribute to campaigns. It has more to do with a personal decision I made years ago to donate most of my contributions to animal causes.

    I obviously make other donations here and there when asked or I am touched about something. But, on the whole, I see your point and it is a very valid one. You make a strong argument.

    In all honesty, I hardly ever get hit up for donations because I am registered as Independant. They sort of miss me along the way!

  8. David Says:

    Sometimes I think women donate less money to campaigns because they have more information about household finances than men do.

    We all know that women make the overwhelming majority of purchasing decisions in the home – cars, furniture, food, hardware, everything. As Julie said, women know money is “hard earned” and a finite commodity.

    When you donate to a campaign the money tends to go to one of only a few things – an ad buy (so it goes to a media production company or a TV network), materials like signs and bumper stickers (a lot of this goes to local, union-run firms if the campaign is Democratic but not as much if Republican), a decent amount goes to travel & hotel expenses, and a large chunk goes the wallets of media consultants and mostly DC-based “strategic consultants.” Some, though not much, also goes to things like paying rent for office space and light bills etc.

    Virtually none of it goes toward shaping a candidate’s agenda. Frankly I think that’s a good thing – a candidate’s agenda shouldn’t be for sale.

    But it’s so easy to profile a candidate’s agenda (and identify party) simply by looking at the PAC money the candidate receives.

    Statistics show if a campaign is getting a lot of money from doctors, chances are that candidate is actually a Republican. If the candidate is getting money from nurses, the candidate is more likely a democrat.

    When I worked for a Senator for a few years, I got the impression that resistance to changing election laws was fueled by 2 things. First, the parties worked to maximize their own advantages in the short term while hurting the other. Second, there was a real desire to keep election laws predictable and have clear lines about what was OK and what wasn’t.

    So all the sound and fury of McCain-Feingold hasn’t really changed much. Bottom line – both parties wanted to maintain a system where special interests could donate large amounts secretly to further their own agendas. That’s essentially what 527′s are today.

    So is it important to give? I still think so, just to let campaigns know you’re interested and you have something of value. I think social media has the capacity to increase the influence of folks like pundit mom – we just need to be smart and strategic about it.


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