Wednesday, March 03, 2004

On Giving

I just want to make a couple of comments on giving money. First, I want to reiterate that buying an ad doesn't guarantee that I'll encourage everyone to give money to a candidate. Of course, when people place ads they get my attention the same way they may get yours.

Second, when it comes to deciding which candidates I think it's important to give to, the primary consideration is --- can they win? I'm not in the mood to give, or encourage others to give, to lost causes.

Third, once the primaries are over, the Democratic candidates are who the Democratic candidates are... Whoever they are, we're stuck with them. Starting about now, complaining that they're less than pure is really just a waste of time.

Fourth, in plenty of districts and states there is little chance that the "ideal Democrat," as defined by the typical Eschaton reader, is going to win. This isn't just true of hotbeds of Republican activity, this is also true in plenty of fairly evenly split districts where both candidates are chasing after the moderates. While when it comes to presidential politics I think that the quest to woo the "swing voter" is an overrated one which gets too much attention, in many smaller local races it's very real. Sure, it's true that truly charismatic leaders can pull people over to their side if even they have big disagreements, but let's face it - most people just don't have that ability.

Ideally, I'll focus my attention on winnable races which have candidates I like the most, which is some subset of the set of winnable races. But, even that's a somewhat relative concept - relative to the make up of the district or state in which they're campaigning. And, it'll take me awhile to figure out who those people are. I'm not going to be a big fan of people who capitulate to the Republicans more than they have to in order to get elected. But, let's face it, in some places they're going to have to give some ground on some issues and we shouldn't necessarily judge them too harshly. An Alaska Democrat is not the same creature as a New York Democrat, and nor can we expect them to be.

The goal is to have 50%+1 in both Houses of people who will vote for a Democrat for the leadership positions. Should you support a Jim Traficant Democrat or Zell Miller Democrat? As I wrote to someone in email, I'd support Ted Nugent for Congress as long as I were convinced that once there he'd vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. On the other hand, we have limited resources and giving abilities, so of course you should support whoever the hell you want to support. But, the key is to give what you can - be willing to give to people who have a shot at winning, even if they're less than perfect.

...Kos provides some more perspective.