I recently had a discussion with some friends who expressed frustration about not being able to vote in elections that they cared about because they did not live within the voting jurisdiction. There are lots of ways to influence an election. You can knock on doors, leaflet, make phone calls and you can donate money. Campaigns are expensive and have to be financed by somebody. TV costs money, phone banks cost money, flyers, yard signs, pizza for volunteers, all cost money. In the recent 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries candidates averaged about $40.00 per vote cast. An Alaskan Senate campaign cost the candidates over $100.00 per vote. Local elections are less costly, often coming in at around $12.00 a vote. The point being that running for office is expensive and candidates need financial support. Let’s be clear, money, in and of itself will not win an election (Hillary Clinton vastly outspent Donald Trump.) but no campaign can run without money.
One friend, who is highly educated, well employed, and who I admire very much, said that he believed that a campaign should just be a reasoned debate between candidates and then voters vote on the best person. Money should not come into it. Much as I might like this utopian myth, I recognize that reality dictates otherwise.
Here’s my point: If you like a cause or a candidate, send the campaign some money. It’s easy to do, just go to their website, find the prominently displayed “Donate” button and take it from there. Send what you can, even ten or twenty dollars really helps. More importantly, you and I can say that we participated in the democratic process, even though we did not ourselves get to vote directly, and regardless of the outcome, we made an effort to positively affect government by the people.