Bundles, “Bundles,” and Blinders

A recent Seattle Times story on Maria Cantwell noted that, 

By far the biggest single source of Cantwell's fundraising last year was ActBlue, a political-action committee that acts as an online conduit for individuals who want to give to Democratic candidates. ActBlue "bundled" $365,000 for Cantwell.

Oh, hey scare quotes. If you check out Cantwell's ActBlue hub, you'll see she's received 7,333 donations through ActBlue totaling $750,000. That works out to about $100 a pop. Those donations were made by folks (real people!) who decided they wanted to support Cantwell's campaign and the money was disclosed to the FEC. So, we've got lots of people choosing to participate in a campaign, and doing so transparently. Terrifying. 

Let's return to those scare quotes. The author of the piece uses them to imply something inappropriate about small-dollar fundraising, as if totaling up grassroots donations were somehow the equivalent of, say, the K Street Project. It's ridiculous. Enabling small dollar donors to participate transparently and consequentially in the fundraising process only enhances democratic accountability. It's the opposite of the shadowy system of billionaire-financed campaigning that's kept the Republican nomination process going for so long. Bundling our "bundling" in with that sort of fundraising reflects a profound ignorance of what ActBlue actually does, and damages the credibility of the piece as a whole. 

It also reflects a real blindness about the role of money in politics. Money that comes from individuals and is disclosed in a way voters and reporters can access is hardly a corrupting influence. It's just another way for (actual) people to express themselves within the political process; the fact that ~$100 individual donations through ActBlue account for the lion's share of Maria Cantwell's fundraising is something to be celebrated, not scorned.

2 comments
  1. Sophie Turner said:

    It seems to me that the Republicans have figured out that if fewer people can afford college, we will have fewer well-educated people to make decisions when it comes to voting on something. Wealthy Repubs will still be able to get a good education beyond highschool. (So will wealthy people of the other side; but the Repubs will probably look for a way to cheat people out of opportunities too.)
    Secondly, I think it is some form of cheating to change the rate initially agreed upon. Does the rate change apply only to New Student Loans?

  2. Sophie Turner--no account said:

    Some Republicans remind me of the Nazis of WW2.
    They won’t be happy until they can control everybody–especially those who disagree with them.

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