Raising money to support political candidates is hard work. Here's why I do it.
Over the years I have sponsored fundraisers to support political candidates.
I have helped raise money for local, county, state, congressional and national candidates, regardless of party, who I believe would make outstanding public servants.
I recall years ago going out across the county raising money for a particular candidate. One potential contributor asked me to stop by his business to pick up a donation. When I got there he smiled and shook my hand. When I released his grip, I discovered a folded $100 bill in my hand. He winked at me and said it was for the candidate. I immediately asked him for a piece of paper and a pen. I gave him a receipt and made a copy with the required information to legally identify the contributor.
None of the money - not one cent - went into the pockets of candidates. The money was formally accepted, appropriately recorded and strictly used to educate voters on where the candidates stood on issues.
In Washington there are 100 senators, 435 congressmen and 6 non-voting delegates. This is the group we Americans elect to pass laws for the President’s signature or rejection. This process requires politics in its highest form.
Isn’t politics crooked?
Sometimes. But most is just legal horse trading on behalf of the people back home. And here’s why.
Can you think of one topic where 10 people totally agree? Now try to think of one topic where 331 million people in our United States also agree. I can assure you that there’s no such topic.
To come to an agreement - whether with 10 people or 331 million - requires politics.
Our elected representatives work together to make decisions that apply to the diversity of our country. Every time a decision is made, negotiations occur, trades are made, and there are winners and losers. Some people are happy, and some are not so happy.
In a democracy no one is king. No one is a dictator. And no one gets everything that he or she wants. Rather the 100 senators, 435 elected congressmen and 6 delegates all become part of the decision-making process. This is the mistake that President Donald Trump made. Decisions must be made in consultation with other stakeholders, not unilaterally with a handful of people who happen to agree at a given time.
Of course, some in Congress are stronger than others.
Some are leaders. Some are followers.
Some are more respected. Others are not.
Some know the ropes. Some don’t.
Gindlesperger:We need to stop the 'F' word before it overtakes the USA
Some build relationships with businesses, unions, associations, grassroots organizations and other groups that can help accomplish constituent goals. Those who go it alone don’t get very far.
Some help their peers. And some are inexperienced, incapable of working with others, and get nothing done.
Here at home a number of people want lower taxes, less government intrusion, conservative courts, improving roads and infrastructure, jobs, expanding economy and more. Others have different ideas, wants and needs. They may prize social equity, higher minimum wage, better health insurance, assistance with the cost of higher education, even a balanced budget. But no matter what side of the fence you are on, to be heard, you need a strong voice.
This is the reason for primary elections to choose that strong voice for each political party. And for a general election to choose the better voice to make a difference.
To be frank, a newbie in Congress or anywhere else has no chance of accomplishing any of this. In fact, a newbie is like a minnow in a pool of sharks. Seniority is key in Washington, Harrisburg and even in county and local government. Those who have been there a long time and know their way around get more than those who don’t know which elevator to use or the location of the bathrooms.
So if we want to be heard, then we must send the best persons to Congress, those who we believe have the best chance of meeting our goals.
And that brings us back to why I raise money.
Getting the word out is a challenge. Each congressman today represents about 760,000 people and each senator about 6,620,000 people. And getting the word out to that many people is quite costly.
That’s one reason why we are already hearing about the 2022 elections. It takes time to measure support, gear up a campaign, put together a staff and raise sufficient money to get the word out about where a candidate stands on the issues that matter.
Not all candidates can raise money. Those who can’t are not popular and don’t have a lot going for them. I know for myself that I have no interest in raising money for someone who talks big but is powerless to support issues that matter.
The 2022 and 2024 election cycles will certainly be interesting. There is no credible evidence that either the mainstream Republicans or the Democrats will want to embrace those who have been supportive of white supremacy and hate groups. But this does not include former President Donald Trump who is keeping his name in the media by clinging to supremacists and racists. Yet, if there is a large turnout in either of the next two elections, Trump’s ideology and self-serving politics will become less of an influence and more of a dead issue.
Raising money for candidates is not easy. It requires a labor of love. Yet, it is necessary, so that all of us can gain the information we need to make good decisions.
Bill Gindlesperger is a central Pennsylvanian, Pennsylvania System Of Higher Education (PASSHE) Governor, Shippensburg University Trustee, and Chairman of eLynxx Solutions that provides Print Buyer’s Software for procuring and managing direct mail, marketing, promo and print. He is a board member, campaign advisor, successful entrepreneur, published author and commentator. He can be reached at Bill.Gindlesperger@eLynxx.com