More on what I learned at Camp Carnahan…
The presenters kept on talking about the overwhelming importance of call time. At first I thought they meant phone banks, but then I discovered they meant having your candidate spend six hours a day for months calling people begging for money. Oh. Their message was that if you don’t spend those first crucial months ignoring your poorer constituents and concentrating on getting the richer ones to “invest in you”, you can expect to lose the election. Oh.
Their rationale was that people who “invest” in you will vote for you and they won’t change their allegiance. So you want people to invest money in you, invest time in you, to do favors for you. Ance once they have given you a little, you can keep on tapping them for more, and each time it becomes harder for them to back out. People who make a commitment do not want to ever admit they make a mistake, so they are likely to keep investing more and more.
Hmm… Hadn’t thought about that. Yes, get them to commit a little and it becomes easier to push for more. Hmm… Well, maybe I had heard about that before. Con artists use that tactic every day. They get the mark to invest just a little, then a little more…and soon they feel so committed that they just can’t back out, and continue to invest more and more even if the police tell them they are being conned. And this is what the experts are teaching fresh, enthusiastic new candidates for public office is the only way to win elections. Hmm…
So who are our candidates being asked to solicit? First is family and friends. Unfortunately, Bill Gates hasn’t asked me to brunch lately. My family and friends are poorer than I am. So who’s next? Those with an “economic interest”. Well sure. All of us Progressives who have been complaining about “money in politics” are being asked to beg at the feet of those monied interests as soon as our families are tapped out. So that’s how we go about changing things??
Next in line come “ideologues” with an axe to grind, and after that come the the enemies of our enemies. And will their support come without strings attached, any less than will the “monied interests”? Anyone notice a conspicuous absence? The absence of those whose commitment is to “community” or the “public good”?
But one of the presenters made a very telling point, “Time is the most important resource, money is second.” Yes, money is actually only important in politics because it buys time and human labor. If we are really Progressives then we are committed to the cause of those with much less money, but perhaps some time (especially with the former middle class being disemployed by outsourcing). When we use our “call time” to call upon the wealthy, they give us money because they have much more money than time. And they want us to bring them even more money to repay what they gave us. But if we used our “call time” to actually call on those disadvantaged whom we claim to support, we could be asking them to invest in us by investing their time. And if we use it wisely, we might be able to do more with their time than with all the money we could get from the “vested interests”.