In this article, I discuss 1) Why we should give money to the Obama campaign, and 2) How much to give.
If you are already convinced that we need to give money to the campaign, and/or you have already donated, you can skip down to the “How much to give?” section at the end of the article.
Why does the Obama Campaign need more money?
These past few weeks, the polls and the narrative in the media have made it seem like an Obama victory is inevitable. He certainly performed strongly in all of the debates, and the campaign has been able to largely avoid or divert any smears and attacks.
But we’ve still got 2 weeks to go, and it would be dangerous to become overconfident at a time like this. Here’s why:
- Obama’s lead has been shrinking the past few days.
October 12 - McCain: 40, Obama 53 (13 point lead)
October 18 - McCain: 43, Obama 50 (7 point lead)
This shrinking lead is something to take very seriously. It is impossible to know if the lead will continue to shrink or bounce back in the next two weeks (see point 2, below).
- Gore in 2000
Quoting from a recent email from the Obama campaign:
In October of 2000, Al Gore had a double-digit lead in the polls. By Election Day, it came down to one state and a handful of votes.
- Last-minute smear attacks
When the 2004 election season was getting started, Bush was plenty unpopular. Kerry, with his long political career and extensive military achievements, had a rock-solid patriotic image, and was in a good position to start winning over undecided and moderate voters.
Until the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth began their unprecedented months-long smear campaign, destroying Kerry’s image.
Something just as egregious, but less visible, is happening right now as you’re reading this — the “robo call” smear campaign. McCain-Palin and the RNC are spending $70,000,000 (seventy million dollars) calling voters in 10 swing states with these messages:
Hello. I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the US Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home and killed Americans.
You need to know that Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in the Illinois Senate opposed a bill requiring doctors to care for babies born alive after surviving attempted abortions — a position at odds even with John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama and his liberal Democrats are too extreme for America. Please vote — vote for the candidates who share our values.
- Disenfranchisement of voters.
Over the last decade, Republicans have unapologetically disenfranchised voters in every election, and this one is no exception.
How much to give?
Many of you reading this have probably made at least a small donation to the Obama campaign. Unless you have a very limited income, you have probably thought to yourself at some point, “Should I donate a little more?”.
Think of it this way: what are the most important things to spend money on in your life right now? If you’re life will be just fine if McCain wins, then you don’t need to think about giving more money. If the changes that Obama will bring to this country won’t drastically improve your financial security, your physical security, your physical health, or your mental health, then you don’t need to donate.
I’m pretty sure that if you are reading this, then that’s not the case. I urge you to donate as much as you possibly can. Don’t think that enough other people will donate, so you don’t have to. That’s the same thing as thinking that enough other people will vote, so you don’t have to.
And don’t think that the Obama campaign already has enough money. Every dollar you give directly translates into more campaigning in swing states, to counteract and surpass McCain-Palin’s efforts in those same states. (In the unlikely scenario that there is a significant surplus of funds, the money will go to the DNC, which is doing great work these days.)
It would be nice if the politician with the best ideas won, but we know that’s not how it works. If you have any kernel of faith that Obama will win because America and the news media like him better these days, you need to get over that. Election after election, the candidate who raises the most money wins, period.
In 2008, given the state of our country and the world, and the candidates on the ballot, I believe that it is irresponsible to not donate as much money to the Obama campaign as you possibly can, whatever that might mean for you.
If you’re a student, or otherwise have a very limited income, this might mean an extra $20.
If you’re working, but have your share of financial responsibilities (loans, children), consider cutting down on drinks, eating out, or even your monthly savings, and give an extra $100-$500.
If you’re working and have very few financial responsibilities, consider giving a lot. Consider giving the maximum allowed by campaign fundraising laws in the post-primary season – $2300. That’s what I did.
Even if you have to cut into your savings to donate, think of it this way– getting Obama into office is a more important investment in your future than a few hundred extra dollars sitting in your bank account.