Friday, May 31, 2019

Gaming The System

I have no strong opinions about what the system should be for trying to whittle down a cast of thousands into a manageable number for teevee debates (also these debates are mostly dumb but I guess we're stuck with them), but the point of the system is to whittle that number. Campaigns complaining that they're having to go to absurd lengths to game the system to try to avoid being the weakest link are just telling on themselves. Maybe the rules are the wrong rules but "wah I am having a hard time gaming this sytem" is a weird complaint.

Most declined to discuss their frustration with the D.N.C.’s rules on the record or to indicate how exactly they would shift tactics, saying their campaign plans were confidential. But campaign after campaign said the party’s donor requirements are skewing the way they allocate resources, forcing them to choose between investing in staff or pouring more money into ads on sites like Facebook, where prices are soaring to dizzying new heights. Two campaigns said digital vendors are currently quoting them prices of $40 and up to acquire a new $1 donor.

Democratic digital strategists said the unprecedented chase for small donors was encouraging poor habits aimed at simply stirring up internet interest or spamming existing email lists unsustainably, while also driving up the price of finding donors for down-ballot Democrats.

Unless you think everyone who says "I'm running" should be on the stage, you need some rule to limit them. Maybe these are dumb rules, but then propose better ones, don't just say "wah I'm taking $40 of your money so I can collect $1 from someone else!!" If this is the only way you can move your campaign forward, maybe the problem is you not the rules.

Again, I am fine with the idea that these specific rules are dumb, but that a candidate polling at 1% is having a hard time meeting them except by engaging in these practices says more about the campaign than the rules.