A Nation Of Givers
by Josh Orton, Fri Jul 11, 2008 at 09:55:00 AM EDT
Nonetheless, there's a couple explanations floating around that feel slightly off-target to me.
...small dollar giving seems highly dependent on the intensity of the moment and the spikes of the campaign cycle. During the heat of the Obama-Clinton battle, giving money was one of the most direct ways supporters around the country could participate in the fight -- except when the campaign trundled into their states. And that applies to both campaigns since, by any standard other than up against Obama, Clinton's 2008 monthly numbers were astounding too.
The combination of Obama mostly focusing on showing his more centrist side while also maintaining a stable lead in the polls seems to me to discourage activists from giving to the campaign. People are thinking to themselves, why not save that money and by a G3 iPhone or give it to progressive Senate candidate?
(Let's assume Matt's kidding about the iPhone.)
The larger implication from both arguments is that if Obama's fundraising numbers are low, the reason is likely a political motivation on behalf of supporters: either lower enthusiasm or a feeling that any one small-dollar donation isn't needed. Both explanations sound at least partially valid.
But given yesterday's "nation of whiners" kerfuffle, aren't we missing a larger context? The economy is in terrible shape. And for the same reason that our country's economic problems aren't purely psychological, shouldn't we assume that political giving from middle and lower-income people might drop off their list of priorities?