What To Do With Your Money

TPM Reader JG on today’s “extra” edition of The Josh Marshall Podcast with Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) …

Just finished listening to this episode. I appreciate you bringing on not just journalists or SMEs, but also elected officials who have a voice that can help galvanize our efforts.

By far the best part came at the end: “Let’s say I have $200-300 to contribute over the course of the election cycle. How do I contribute most effectively?”

Holy shit, that’s the question right there. I’m politically aware and I vote. But I also have a bit of extra cash that I don’t contribute because where the hell am I supposed to send it?

I’m not knowledgeable enough about actual party politics — how the DNC and other party organizations operate, for example — to know whether my tiny contribution matters. The most I hear about the big party apparatus is when factions are fighting each other to control it. Which makes me wary to send it my money — are they really spending donations effectively, or are the naysayers fighting for control right about their objections? Hell if I know.

So then should I send the money to candidates directly? If so, which ones? And should I focus on one or two and send them big chunks of money? Or should I break my cash into smaller amounts and support 10 candidates? Hell if I know — I simply don’t know what has an impact.

I feel I have access to lots of great info about policy — I can defend why I think we should have one policy over another. But I’m sorely missing info about how to help win elections. And that’s the next step, right? Once you’re engaged enough to know your policy positions, the next question is naturally, “So how do I help make that policy position the policy reality?” The first step, of course, is to vote. But I can only vote once and only for candidates in my district. But what about after that?

I think you’ve mentioned before that this ignorance is shared by a lot of voters. It’s a worthy topic to explore. And I’d love for you to ask that same question to just about every guest you book for the podcast. “If voters want to make your vision a reality, and they’ve got $200-300, where should they send their money and why?”

That would help me understand my options, so that over time I could start making informed decisions.

(Btw, I know it’s not your job to educate me on this. But when you asked that question, the podcast suddenly shifted from news discussion to something I might be able to act on. And in an instant I came alive.)

Just wanted to share my reactions as the episode came to a close. Keep up the great work!