Can I get a Refund from the American Election Season?


Campaign Reform?


How Many Texts Asking for a Donation Should One Person Receive?

It’s November, we had an election. For what it is worth, I am personally mostly aligned with the results, though disappointed that partisan hacks that seem to care more about power, than sincere patriotism — remain in Congress. And here in California, dismayed that well, Uber/Lyft could pull out their 1% investor’s checkbooks and buy themselves a shiny new, bespoke labor law. Santa must be drinking the big tech koolaide mixed with something else.

So given it is November, the holiday season is imminent — I am wondering if there is something in that shopping analogy that I can leverage for a more deep seated frustration.

What is the return policy on campaign contributions? Because, yes, I sent ActBlue several clicked contributions and from a partisan perspective, yes — disappointed with the gap between my partisan aspirations and our apparent reality, but more importantly as a general citizen — keep wondering, why do I have to spend money to ensure that we have a decent selection of qualified candidates representing a range of perspectives, including my own.

Like a well worn wallet, let’s follow the money. From mainstream media, to social media giants like Facebook, to consultants — who got richer?

In, it is noted that The total cost of the 2020 election will nearly reach an unprecedented $14 billion, making it the most expensive election in history and twice as expensive as the previous presidential election cycle.

That’s according to an estimate from the Center for Responsive Politics. The Center previously estimated the election would see nearly $11 billion in total spending. But an extraordinary influx of political donations in the final months — driven by a Supreme Court battle and closely watched races for the White House and Senate — pushed total spending past that $11 billion figure with weeks yet to go before Election Day.

Even amid a pandemic, everyone is giving more in 2020, from ordinary individuals making small donations to billionaires cutting eight-figure checks to super PACs. Women are smashing donation records, and Americans are increasingly donating to candidates who aren’t running for office in their state.

Where the heck did this money all end up? From mainstream media, to social media giants like Facebook, to consultants — who got how much? Yeah, I don’t have that number, but it is a lot. And I am sure there are some political consulting groups that put money into their wallets from here in the US, and then skip around the world consulting on other campaigns. Is that what Rudy Guiliani does now, besides being scary?

Whatever the hundreds of millions or perhaps billions of dollars dispensed, will these entities that clearly benefit from our sloshy system double down on self interest and perpetuate more drama and get in the way of getting things done? Will they avoid more constructive but complex policy conversations encouraging compromise, actual solutions — or settle into their well worn rut of pre diagrammed drama ridden tribal battles that distract say, from, oh, I don’t know more government regulation of tech giants with outsized influence in our lives. Their self interest says more of the same.

So, how do we move forward? I am gonna assume the best of a low bar. There will be a peaceful change in leadership in January 2021. Though Drumpf only knows how to play one game, so that, I guess, is not a given — as it should be. Nevertheless, even amongst the multitude of things to address in 2021, can we put campaign reform somewhere near the STAT priorities?

Because, why should I have to buy a decent democracy? We pay taxes. Do I have to personally buy sane candidates, as well? Clearly there is a campaign industrial complex. From the consultants, to the media and social media companies that receive the advertising dollars, to the candidate themselves, what real good does this money do? We sure as heck know what bad it brings. Consultants, that once launched in the US, then work for other countries have no national loyalty. Media and social media companies waffle and are unwilling to control their spaces. and candidates beholden to the time and strings attached to raising campaign dollars, are AWOL from true democratic and policy making work.

Unfortunately, we may have a spoiled brat of a boyman trash the hotel room on the way out the door. Certainly, we will have to clean that up in January 2021, but could we also put on our long list of things to do — the imperative maintenance issue for democracy — real campaign reform that banks ideas, not just bucks for a few well worn wallets. Besides, how many texts asking for a donation should one person receive?

Long time nonprofit leader

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