US Campaigning: Money please

This is the sort of email spam that I get from both sides of the US presidential election.

First – the National Rifle Association. Apparently if you are a rifle owner then you are automatically Right Wing.

From a previous NRA email:

Obama gave a clear warning to you, me, and every gun owner in America that he’s coming for our freedom if he wins reelection


But the bulk of the email spam I get is from the Obama campaign. It runs at 2-4 per day. Here’s an example:

And here is my BarackObama filtered email:


I signed up (a while ago) as a Texas voter, and Texas is always going to vote Republican. Hence essentially all of the spam is aimed at extracting money, though here was a sincere Hurricane Sandy one in there.

I did not sign up for the Republican party spam, which is a shame as I asure it would have been fascinating during the Primary phase.

Overall I find it an appalling way to elect people and to then run a country. The election is all about money, whether from individual supporters or more importantly (for the campaigns) from bigger donators and businesses who run their own SuperPACS (Political Action Committees).

I’m very grateful to live in NZ, with our very short political campaign season, limited campaign spending and voting based (with the arguable exception of Winston Peters and John Banks) on policy not personality. Our politicians even talk to and work with each other. Long may it continue.

Oh – and as a foreigner I cannot contribute to a political campaign – one of the few US campaign finance rules that does make sense. One could, of course, start a US corporation which in turns funds a PAC, but be sure to put aside at least $100m to being able to make any sort of impact.



Published by Lance Wiggs


One reply on “US Campaigning: Money please”

  1. In the US you need some money to be in the political game but it isn’t determinate: In only recent history, John Kerry out-raised George W. Bush and lost. Billionaire Ross Perot was ultimately not viable, along with the wealthy Malcolm Forbes. Meanwhile, in recent US history an actor, non-wealthy governor and child of farmers were all viable. Whatever money is in the game there remains no evidence that one can outright buy the US presidency.

    Social media candidly puts in our faces how money is in the political game. But it candidly puts in our faces how money is in games in general, and games with supposedly principled and transparent agendas (something politics itself has never quite claimed): Media, education, healthcare and organized religion for examples.

    2008 was the first presidential election in our history that used social media, and masterfully so, to engage the voter. Of all who ran on either side, it was the Barack Obama campaign alone that found me online, evaded all of my filters, knew in what state I resided and was registered to vote, and gave me in one succinct page where I needed to go vote (with a map) and when and why I should vote for this candidate. No campaign has ever solicited me for money until after I contributed.

    Arguably NZ doesn’t have the diversity of diametrically opposed stakeholders that the US has. There’s a reason we had a civil war (recently) and segregation (recently). Those reasons map to deeply vested diverse interests that map to money that maps to policy that maps to governance that maps to electoral processes.

    Our politicians do talk and work with each other. President Obama, however, is our first black chief executive. Wastefully enough, political game rules can’t realistically be expected to be uniform in his case.


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