Fund-Raising Wars …. Better Known As The Presidential Election

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We only have a couple of weeks left until this four-year political campaign game of squabbling and money-raising, and polling and money-raising, and sucking-the-air-out-of-the-auditorium speechifying comes to an end. Hallelujah. Bring out Wolf Blitzer and CNN’s Magic Wall of Crap on Nov. 6 to tell us who won, and let’s get on with our lives.

The theme for this month’s Red Thread Magazine is entrepreneurship.

Suspend the idea of public servant for a minute and put politics into the business realm. Politicians are entrepreneurs who sell themselves, risking their name instead of capital. They raise money to run for office by selling fear of the other candidate, as in, “If my opponent wins, the country will cease to function as we know it.”

And nowhere is this more apparent than at the presidential level.

Both presidential candidates raised $351 million in September. That comes to $11.7 million a day, or $487,000 an hour. This money will be used to buy advertising to show how dangerous the other guy would be if elected as president. Advertising that will more than likely be ignored because the concept has been driven into our skulls for the past four years. Sure, the Red Thread, Detroit Jewish News and every other media platform no matter what the size loves this time of year — all that political advertising money.

But no matter who is elected, either man in the Oval Office will face the same problems of getting anything accomplished because Congress will not cooperate. The divisions are too deep, and each of the 535 lawmakers in the House and Senate have also raised millions to get or stay elected, too, and they have their own promises to keep. No one wants to compromise because compromise is a dirty word if you’re constantly looking for dollars from your party’s base, which currently resides on the fringe of either side.

Would it be wrong to think that “finance director” is the second most frequently called phone number in a congressperson’s smart phone?

Compound the fear-inducing dollars even further by including races at the state and local level, and you can see how many billions of dollars are raised, and then wasted on campaigns.

The only way to stop the madness is to stop the search for money with campaign finance reform, and we all know how easy that was to accomplish the last time, don’t we?

In May, I wrote a Red Thread story about the Green Garage, a hub for start-up businesses located in a former Model T Ford showroom in Midtown Detroit. Some 30 socially conscious start-ups, including photographers, website developers and healthy food providers, call the Green Garage home. I liked the positive, creative energy so much I leased a desk.

Imagine if one of these 30 start-ups, excluding me, of course, had one day’s worth of presidential campaign fundraising dollars, or even an hour’s worth, to spend on building their idea into a reality. How many jobs could that create, and how much good would that do for our community?

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