Selling the Presidential Product

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With the most expensive Presidential race in history underway and second quarter fundraising numbers being reported, the Washington Post writes up a seminar on fundraising tactics to offer a peek at the blueprint for victory in a race that is, when it comes down to it, largely about the money.

Peaking into a fundraising seminar, the article offers this tidy summary of the money machine that drives campaigns, enriching fundraising consultants and commodifying candidates' beliefs:

A few weeks back, two dozen party operatives from various state and federal campaigns joined veterans of Emily's List for several days of seminars. Their lessons offer a window into the part of the political process that the general public probably shouldn't see: the blueprint for members of Congress who devote hours of every week to party-run call centers that look like Wall Street boiler rooms.

On the first morning of the Emily's List classes, longtime Democratic consultants explained that fundraising is not about arm-twisting. It's more about cloaking a cold financial transaction in the idealism and vision of an uplifting cause.

From the dour description of the fundraising training to the concluding shout-out to Alec Baldwin's sleezy Glengarry Glenn Ross character, the author makes clear his aversion to this campaign reality. Indeed something is horribly awry when campaign volunteers -- presumably parting with scarce free time in pursuit of a greater good -- are given lessons in shaking down supporters and their elderly relatives so campaigns can compete in the televsion ad wars. Is this really how we want to elect our next leader?