Steal This Campaign, Redux

This is a repeat of an earlier blog, inspired by Jim Moore’s opinion, repeated most recently on 7/24 that we can raise a billion dollars for the Dean campaign:

A billion dollars for Dean, slight reprise

The fiscal year 2004 Federal budget is $1,731 billion dollars. Yup, one point seven trillion dollars–for a YEAR.

I’m amazed, based on these figures, that there isn’t more money in campaign finance!  Bush is blowing everyone’s mind by raising $200 million for his 2004 “primary” and general election campaign. He expects to spend over $170 million for his unopposed primary victory, prior to the Republican convention!  Everyone thinks this is a lot of money. Hell, I think it is a bargain. Chump change, given what is at stake. Bush and the Republicans will then turn around and control one point three trillion dollars a year–for four years. That is a lot of Haliburton contracts.

Awhile back I suggested that if just 1 million people (1/2 of Moveon.org’s registered users) gave $1000 to the Dean campaign, a billion dollars could be raised. What is the cost of taking back the presidency? If you have never written a campaign check before–you are in luck! This year you can put it on your credit card–it’s like buying a book from Amazon. Wouldn’t you buy a few more books to change the face of America?

We can’t exactly steal it, but we can buy it. Cheap.

We can buy the Dean campaign by showering it with so many $50 contributions that they won’t have to worry about corporate contributions. Apparently the Republicans are raising $200 million from their closest friends based on a single cynical premise:

You can buy people’s votes

The back story on that cynical assumption is that they need to be bought because they never manifest themselves other than through big time TV marketing.

But if we do what Jim Moore suggests, a million people giving $1,000, the Republican’s cynical assumptions go out the window.

Scale

Everyone seems to agree that 6/30/03 will be written about for years since it was the first spontaneous expression of political will by self-organizing voters talking each other into caring more and donating more through the Moveable Type Comments function. That inspiring day caused the campaign to believe more strongly in its core aspiration: to somehow get nominated and then to give the Republicans a decent challenge. If 6/30 is as important as it seems, the campaign should re-calibrate its goals:

$1 Billion
60 Million votes (including 15% of the Republican vote)
A Patriotic Congress (Patriotic = constructively bi-partisan), riding Dean’s coattails
A re-definition of American as cooperative, kind and open-minded

Do the Math

Internet-equipped people caused $802,000 to be donated to Dean on 6/30/03. They did it by chatting each other up as the new totals were posted every half hour, and as the goal, depicted as a baseball bat, was increased as goal after goal was surmounted through the afternoon.

A freely associating mob is forming around the Dean campaign. Its communication tools will soon transcend the Campaign comment archives, by organizing its own tools. The campaign can’t stop them nor should it want to, though there are surely consultants who would just as soon all this went away. Too late.

Metcalfe’s Law says that this mob’s value and power will grow with the square of its population, attracting more people and volksmoney as an accretion disc in space sucks matter away from the systems around it. I believe this phenomenon is a social force too powerful to be stopped, and that historians may be as interested in 6/30/03 as 9/11/01.

The smart mob is not limited by the campaign’s preconceptions. At a gut level, this mob seems to be saying, “We’ve got plenty of money for this little problem. Shit, we send $6 billion a year to Apple Computer. Apple! We can easily spend a billion or two every four years to own our own government!”.

Easy Monthly Payments

I’m encouraging the Dean campaign to set up three giving clubs:

  • Club   42, whose members put $  42.66 on their credit card each month = $  500 per year
  • Club   83, whose members put $  83.33 on their credit card each month = $1,000 per year
  • Club 166, whose members put $166.66 on their credit card each month = $2,000 per year

Is That a President in your Pocket or are You Just Happy to See Me?

Imagine being a significant financing source for a populist President. Imagine being part of an army of people who, for less than $3 a day, transforms the face of American Democracy.

It could even be a return to the spirit of Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, and even more like Teddy Roosevelt, beloved by the people despite his patrician roots. Like Roosevelt, Dean is presented with the opportunity to break the stranglehold that business has on politics.

The more things, change the more they stay the same.

7:37:42 PM    

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