There’s been a lot in the news this week about money in politics. I couldn’t help but feel a bit of pride in my newly adopted state after reading my current governor’s piece in the New York Times, and I continue to be frustrated that a large portion of the Wisconsin recall war was funded by out of state donors.
I also couldn’t help but notice the disgust that welled up in my stomach after following the link to this headline: “Romney Tops Obama in May Fundraising.” Why does this rather benign report on the national campaign get under my skin? At the very root of it, the headline implies that the money raised has something to do with the likelihood of winning- that the cash of the candidate, rather than their character is what the American people will ultimately use to make their decisions.
“Success generates more success?” Bullshit. I’m not thrilled about either candidate- I find Romney outwardly scary and dangerous, and Obama to be mostly sneakier and more polished. I’m sure you can guess who I’ll be voting for this fall- but it has nothing to do with who has more money in the bank (unless they are running their campaign on debt). The party establishments would like to use all this cash to by my vote (and yours). It is both sad and likely that this transaction will likely proceed in many homes around the country- people that don’t take a moment to stop and think about what a headline like this is really all about. The notion that fundraising matters, that my vote depends on how many slick (or vicious) television ads I see, is a logical fallacy of popularity (“vote for the guy with more money- everyone’s doing it!). I may not be happy about my choices, but the cash offer just doesn’t pencil out, so I’m not selling.
I don’t really care who you vote for so long as you look at the legislation they intend to introduce and accept what that legislation means to our population as a whole (does it endorse bigotry? I’m not really about bigotry…). And vote- make it to the friggin polls. I didn’t get registered as a Montanan to vote in the primaries, but you can be damn sure that won’t be the case in November- I was sad to miss that deadline a few weeks ago, and admit my mistake here as motivation not to miss it again. I’m also excited to congratulate two incredible women I am privileged to call friends – Kimberly Dudik and Jenifer Gursky, who have stepped into the arena of vying for public office, and won their primaries this week. I feel much better knowing a few of the folks I believe will be representing my community in Helena next year.