Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

How fundraising can help Irish politics.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 14, 2012 in Irish Politics, US Politics

Interesting Youtube piece below from President Obama’s campaign manager about fundraising. In Europe, we tend to sneer at the effect money has on US elections, and how raising money is as important as getting actual votes, but there is a very positive side. In the US, it is very easy to donate money to candidates you support, and something that is done by millions of people as a very clear declaration of support.

In Ireland, giving money to candidates is sneered at as being almost corrupt. I’ve met people who cannot comprehend why you would give money to a politician if you weren’t getting something in return. The other side of it is that many people who do feel enthusiastic about a party or candidate are embarrassed that they can’t afford to donate a large sum of money, and so don’t donate at all, and that is something that candidates need to address. Thousands of small online donations should be the lifeblood of Irish politics, not a novelty. I can only recall one candidate (John McGuirk) in the last election who openly pointed out that he would be grateful for small donations.

The other side is that when you do donate, the candidates should have the decency to acknowledge it. I donated (very modestly) to a number of candidates in the last election. Some did not even acknowledge it, whereas one wrote back a handwritten letter thanking me and addressing the points I raised in my letter, and bear in mind that I had donated a very modest amount of money. Not only will I donate again to him in the future, but he was also elected.


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