Week 11 Reading Post: Nothing Is Free

It all boils down to money. Our readings discussed campaign fundraising and how donors and politicians go about raising funds. Every candidate who wishes to have a fighting chance in whatever election they are running in needs to raise funds. These donations help pay for advertisements and whatever else the candidate may need to get their message across to the public and many times to discredit their opponent as well.

Nothing is free is also a common thing when fundraising, especially when it comes to politicians. People do not just give their money over freely because they like a particular candidate and what they stand for. No, most of the time it also has to do with what the donors can gain from the politician either immediately or later on when they are in the desired position of power. Ideological donors donate because of a certain cause or value they see promoted through the candidate but more often than not, donors give based on material and solidary benefits they will receive. These benefits could include anything from having a close business relationship and therefore advantage through the candidate to receiving actual material recompense for their generous donations. Either way, millions of dollars do not just appear because of someone’s generous heart.

Donating early in the election cycle will also be beneficial for donors. The earlier and the more money donated gets you noticed and most likely grants the donor access to whatever they may be seeking such as access to the upper-class society, the actual candidate or even being able to influence policy themselves. The readings’ study shows people who give during the primary election period are more driven by these material or solidary benefits. This of course suggests more people donate during the general election for ideological purposes. Overall it is pretty interesting to study why people give to certain candidates and what all they could receive in return for doing so.

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