Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Time To Throw The Anvil

Someone over at the Princeton Election Consortium points out that, at this point, if you're going to donate to a candidate's campaign, do so down ticket, because the chances your $25 help Obama are far smaller than your chances of helping those who may not be getting enough cash. 
Making your efforts pay off. An example of wasted effort at this point is making an additional contribution to either Presidential campaign. I realize that for some of you, this is a difficult proposition. If you are already committed to turning out the vote for your candidate, by all means do so. But if you still have time or money to spare, think about the following argument.

In general, any contribution you make to a strongly leading or trailing candidate makes little difference in the outcome. It’s like voting in Massachusetts or Utah: whether you do or don’t essentially makes no difference in the outcome. The same is true for campaign contributions. In the best of worlds, $100 to Obama-Biden or McCain-Palin would move the national win probability by an infinitesimal amount. Even 0.00001% would be an overstatement.

The place to make a difference is at the margins. Take the Georgia race, in which incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss is defending his seat. In 2002, Chambliss won office by tarring Vietnam war hero and triple-amputee Max Cleland with an alleged sympathy for Osama bin Laden. Now Chambliss is fighting for his political life, and is in a dead heat with Democratic challenger Jim Martin. If you had the choice of driving voters to the polls in Georgia or in South Carolina, you’d be dead wrong to pick South Carolina. By the same token, a contribution in Georgia, but not South Carolina, might make a small difference in the outcome.
So with that in mind, I'd like to ask any of you who are so inclined to fork over some cash to go to the Act Blue site and give it to down-ticket candidates. We have a good chance of taking Gordon Smith out here in Oregon, so Jeff Merkley is a good place to start. 

If you want to learn more about the other candidates, go to their sites from the ActBlue site, or head over to DailyKos, OpenLeft, or MyDD for assessments of how their campaigns are doing.

This election is a unique historic opportunity. Cycles like this are extremely rare. Voters are primed to punish Republicans for their colossal mismanagement of the country. The only question is, how big of a year will it be for progressives? With enough support it will be huge. Republicans are drowning, this is our chance to throw them an anvil.* 

* James Carville once famously quipped, "When your opponent is drowning, throw the son of a bitch an anvil." 

No comments: