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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
July 11, 2003
By Stewart L. French

This may be dating me, but in the time before Neil Bush and his cronies destroyed the Savings and Loans in this country, there use to be a thing called the Christmas Club. The idea was that you would put a little cash away each month and by the time Christmas rolled around, you would have a great big wad of cash to go shopping for friends and families. It provided discipline and ensured that you would have a lavish Christmas with a small amount of hurt spread out over time. This was in the days before we put everything on credit cards and suffered the New Year shock when the bills arrived.

On June 30th, Howard Dean's campaign showed us what we were all capable of, and to a certain degree we were shocked at how easy it all was. 59,000 people contributed $7.5 million to the Democratic candidate for President. Putting aside the attitudes of "he wasn't my guy so who cares," it was something pretty miraculous, and judging from the response from the right, something that scares the hell out of them. Whether you love him or hate him, Howard Dean has led us into the promised land.

The Bush campaign stated as a goal a war chest of $200 million for the general campaign. Quietly we curse and sigh heavily, knowing full well the impact that money can have on the election of candidates to office. Even though the Democrats are closer to the American people on almost every issue, the Republicans are able to win through the sheer force of cash. But is $200 million really that big of a deal?

Since a lot of people hate math and spent their entire education careers taking basket weaving 101 instead of basic stats, I went ahead and did the math for you. I set for myself the target of 32 weeks (a little over half a year from now) and wanted to figure out how many people it would take to raise $200 million dollars for the eventual Democratic nominee. The results stunned me…

It turns out that if 1.25 million Democrats each raise $160 over the next 32 weeks, then we will have raised $200 million dollars. Let me repeat:

1,250,000 x $160 = $200,000,000

So we need to find 1.25 million people willing to give $160 each. But, wait, you say…money's tight and I can't afford that because Bush's economy left me without a job!

Remember the Christmas Clubs? Here's some more math:

$160 ÷ 32 weeks = $5

Five lousy dollars a week and we can raise as much cash as Dubya. We should be ashamed of ourselves! For all our complaints, and the explosion of websites with disaffected Democrats, we cannot found the time to put aside $5 a week to get rid of this thug cabal. I personally believe that we could get many more then 1.25 million people. The Democratic candidates combined tied or surpassed this quarter's money raising for Bush. We can not only keep pace, we can overwhelm them with money - and it's hard money, legal money. There are not as many of them as there are of us!

But how do we accomplish this? Who's going to be in charge? How do we get all these various weblogs and message boards, and the hundreds of thousands of Democrats together to raise this Democratic Victory Fund? I'm glad you asked, because we already have the answer before us.

It's called the ePatriot fund. The Democratic National Committee has put together a fund that you can donate to a single time, or arrange for money to be taken out of your credit card periodically.

The constant refrain heard echoing across the web is that big money has destroyed the Democratic Party. "They don't listen to us anymore…" - the disconnect over the Iraq War was a classic example of this sentiment. The Pink Tutu Democrats and the DLC have forced the voices of the rank and file out of the halls of politicians and the party organization.

But by getting active in this effort, by raising more cash for the eventual Democratic nominee then Bush can, we will send a clear message to the party machine and the politicians who run under our banner that the people is where the future lies.

Put aside concerns about who will be the nominee. If we raise that kind of cash, the nominee would be a fool to ignore the signal that is being sent, and if we know one thing about politicians and campaign cash, they get the message when it is attached to great whopping sums of money. When you do go to the DNC and sign up, as I know we all will, make sure that you suggest to them that they post how much Bush has raised and how much we have raised.

What better way to send a candidate to the American people then with millions of individuals donating small amounts of cash, whereas Bush will have a large amount of cash, all tied to special interests and corporations.

It's time to put up or shut up! We can not lose the next election, or we lose America.

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